What you should know about fibromyalgia:
Fibromyalgia is not a new disease. In 1815, a surgeon at the University of Edinburgh, William Balfour, described fibromyalgia. Over time, it has been described as chronic rheumatism, myalgia or fibrosis. Unlike diseases, syndromes such as fibromyalgia do not have a known cause, but they are a group of signs and symptoms that, unfortunately for the patient, are present simultaneously. Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are also syndromes.
Most symptoms and emotional problems associated with fibromyalgia are not of psychological origin.
This is not a disturbance where “everything is in your mind”. In 1987, the American Medical Association recognized fibromyalgia as a real physical condition and a major cause of disability.
Fibromyalgia can be disabling and depressive, which disrupts easier daily activities.
- What you should know about me:
- My Pain – My pain is not your pain. It is not caused by inflammation. Taking your arthritis medicine does not help me. I can’t work because my body can’t resist. It is not pain that only remains in one part of the body. Today it is on my shoulder, but tomorrow it can be on one foot, or maybe it is gone. My pain is caused by signals that reach my brain incorrectly, possibly due to sleep disorders. This is not very understood, but it is real.
- My fatigue: not only do I feel very tired. I’m seriously worn out. I would like to participate in physical activities, but I can’t. Please, don’t take it personally. If you saw me shopping yesterday, but today I can’t help but clean the garden, it’s not because I don’t want to. I pay the price to stress the muscles beyond their capacity.
- My concentration problems. All of us who suffer from fibromyalgia call these problems “fibro-trains”. Maybe I don’t remember your name, but I remember your face. You may not remember what I promised to do to you, even if you had told me just seconds before. My problem has nothing to do with age, but it may be related to sleep disturbance. I have no selective memory. Some days I have no short-term memory.
- My clumsiness: if I get up or run after the crowd, I won’t chase you. I have no control over my muscles to do it. If you stand behind me on a ladder, be patient. These days, I take life and every step one at a time.
- My sensitivity – I can’t stay here! This may be due to certain factors, such as bright light, very loud or low noise, smells. Fibromyalgia has been called “the disorder that exacerbates everything”.
- My intolerance: I can’t stand heat or moisture. If I’m a man, I sweat profusely. If I’m a woman, too. And don’t be surprised if I move out of control when it’s cold. I can’t stand the cold either. My internal thermostat is broken and nobody knows how to fix it.
- My Depression: Yes, there are days when I prefer to lie in bed, at home or die. Serious pain is relentless and can cause depression. Your sincere interest and understanding can get me out of the abyss.
- My Stress – My body does not handle stress well. If I have to stop working, working part-time or delegating my responsibilities at home, it’s not because I’m lazy. Daily stress can make my symptoms worse and disable me completely.
- My weight: I can be overweight or thin. Either way, it has not been my choice. My body is not your body. My appetite is affected and no one knows how to fix it.
- My Need for Therapy: If I need a daily massage, don’t envy me. My massage is not your massage. Consider what a massage in my body can do if a leg pain last week, now I feel it all over my body. The massage can be very painful; but I need it. Regular massage can help, at least for a while.
- My good days – If you see me smile and function normally, don’t assume I’m fine. I suffer from chronic pain and fatigue that have no cure. I can have a good morning, weeks or months. It’s actually a good morning that lets me move on.
- My Individuality: Even those suffering from fibromyalgia are not the same. That means I can’t have all the symptoms mentioned. I may have migraines, pain in the hips, shoulders or knees, but I do not have the exact same pain as anyone with this condition.
I hope this helps you understand me, but if you still doubt pain, bookstore, library or the internet, they have good books and articles on fibromyalgia.
Author’s Note: This letter is based on conversations with women and men with fibromyalgia worldwide. This does not represent any of the 10 million people with fibromyalgia in the world, but it can help healthy people understand how devastating this condition can be. Please, do not take pain