Raising Fibromyalgia Awareness
As many of us are well aware, fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that is not readily understood by doctors, much less the general public. Sadly, unless someone has fibromyalgia, or has a close friend or relative with it, they generally don't know what this illness is.
Fibromyalgia is starting to be recognized for what it is: a chronic disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, tenderness in key areas and fatigue, among other health problems not limited to nerve-related and gastrointestinal issues. But even those who have heard of it or know someone who has it don’t know how all encompassing it is. They are not aware of how it affects every aspect of our life.
If you have fibromyalgia, you may have encountered many people, even in healthcare settings, who deny that such a condition exists. Some people may believe that it’s all in your head, question whether or not fibromyalgia is real, or think you are seeking attention.
It’s not uncommon to hear others make unkind remarks when they learn someone has fibro. Even those who genuinely mean well may make thoughtless comments.
Unfortunately, even when you know the intention is good, it still hurts.
If you are hoping to break through these barriers, build fibromyalgia awareness, and to show fibromyalgia is a very real disease that is recognized by many health professionals, you should become an advocate for fibromyalgia.
The more that the general population knows about this condition, the more can be done about it. It needs to be taken seriously.
These negative experiences understandably make some shy away from discussing their illness openly.
I myself was hesitant to talk about how I felt for a long time. I kept many of the physical symptoms I had to myself.
But more than that, I kept the way it affected me mentally and emotionally to myself. Comments about how others had it worse, or that I needed more faith, felt like stabs to my heart.
However, as the years went on, I eventually realized I could not expect someone to understand what I was going through if I was unwilling to share my experience. I knew that speaking out would inevitably lead to some heartache, but my desire to help others outweighed my desire to protect myself from hurtful words.
I personally find it easier to express myself in written word. It is also easier for me to share such personal information when I am not face-to-face with someone.
So, I chose to start writing my experience. I started a blog and multiple social media accounts to share what my life really was like.
This has been an enlightening experience. Many of the people in my own life are now better able to understand what I am dealing with, as I am considerably more comfortable sharing in this way.
I have gotten in contact with others who are in the same position that I am. There is very little that can compare to finding someone who knows just what you are feeling and experiencing.
But the best is when others with relatives who have fibromyalgia reach out and say they now better understand what their loved one is dealing with. That is why I am here.
I don't speak out to get attention or pity — I honestly do not want those things. I speak out because I know there is a need to spread awareness.
I know how incredibly scary it can be to feel so open and vulnerable. But if we don't speak out to raise awareness, how can we ever expect those we meet to understand?
How Do You Go About Raising Awareness?
Well that all depends on what you are comfortable with!
You may choose to start by being more verbal about how you feel and how that affects you. Or you may feel more comfortable sharing articles about fibromyalgia with your loved ones or coworkers.
If you do not feel you are able to share with those you know personally, why not start by opening an anonymous social media account? You can always work up the courage there.
There are many ways to raise awareness and you have to find a way that you personally are comfortable with. Just keep in mind that any negative experiences you may have will pale in comparison to the many benefits of raising fibromyalgia awareness!