May 12th is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
I had considered not writing a blog post because I write about it all the time. Then I thought no. It’s Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, and I am a Fibro warrior/blogger, so I need to write about it. It is vital to bring awareness to this and other chronic, invisible illnesses. So many are both struggling in silence and feeling alone when they shouldn’t, that it makes it imperative to discuss. If you don’t already know someone who has Fibromyalgia, trust me, you eventually will. I hope to make you better informed and more empathetic to what they are going through.
8 Tips for Being a Better Friend, Relative or Spouse To Someone With Fibromyalgia:
8.) Cancellations Happen: Do not take it personally and please, don’t just stop asking us to go places with you. We tend to self-isolate because we are fearful of letting people down all the time. When you stop inviting us, our fears are just reinforced.
7.) No Pity Parties: We do enough of this on our own. What we need is someone who can lift our spirits and not lament how life has changed and all the things that we can no longer do. A positive mind frame is important.
6.) Be a Listener: You don’t have to dole out advice. In fact, please don’t- we’ve heard it all and probably tried it all. What we need is an ear to listen to us. We’d like our feelings to be validated and maybe, understood.
5.) No Doom and Gloom: It’s easy to get sucked into all the negatives about someone’s condition. You start reading WebMD and fall into the pit of despair. Focus on what they can do, not what they can’t. It will help their perspective as much as yours.
4.) Help Out: Anything you can do to help them out will be appreciated. Understand that we really want to function like we used to and we will try and regret it, a hundred times over. Whether it’s going to the grocery store for us or making a simple dinner for us, we will love the help and the kindness shown.
3.) Do Not Compare: When we tell someone about our exhaustion, inevitably someone will say how they understand, because they are tired too. Or, when we say we hurt, we hear: yes, I ache sometimes too. No, not like this. This is not meant to de-legitimize their pain or exhaustion, just set it apart from ours. Once in a while pain and tiredness that is remedied with some Tylenol or sleep, is just not the same as what we go through every day.
2.) Be Positive: I cannot even express this enough. Being positive has been proven to lessen pain levels and increase your lifespan. The people who surround someone who lives with chronic pain and illness, such as Fibromyalgia, need to be positive and motivating. It can make a huge difference.
1.) Educate Yourself: The moment you find our about their diagnosis, educate yourself about it. Leave no web page un-clicked. It really is important that you arm yourself with knowledge and are able to at least, have functional understanding of what is wrong. Between what you read and what the personal in your life explains to you, you will have a much better understanding of what they are going through.