It hurts; every day in some form is just painful. One day we wake up and its some what tolerable, we can move through our daily tasks with relative ease. Then there are other days, when the simplest of tasks are a painful chore. Some of you, have had the flu, or been in a car accident. You literally feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. Perhaps you have all felt the wide spread variable aches and pains, the fatigue; the restless sleep because your body just hurts so much from these two conditions. Imagine if you will you have the flu, and you have to get up and get a drink of water or change your child’s diaper? Many of us have been there, it’s a painful nauseating chore, at the very least it is exhausting. Imagine once again if you will, this kind of pain and not any medication you have taken helps. This kind of pain leads to confusion and difficulty focusing, this happened to everyone when they are sick and pain, the slightest headache can make a person feel that way. These are just a small number of symptoms of what a person with Fibromyalgia goes through every day. Think back, you’ve had the flu, or were in a car accident, or had surgery, what did you wake up feeling like? That is how your friend, family member, husband, wife, lover, may feel like every day. I hope that with this description it gives anyone reading this a better understanding of how their loved one feels on a day to day basis.
Fibromyalgia is not a “new” condition. For decades people have struggled with this condition. In 400 BC, Hippocrates first described the set of symptoms. In 1816, William Balfour made note of the condition, then again in 1904, British Physician William Gowers classified this set of symptoms as Fibrositis. This is now known as Fibromyalgia. Throughout the last century many physicians thought fibromyalgia was a purely psychosomatic condition. People continued to suffer with this condition, with their Doctors telling them it’s all in their heads. This kind of treatment by physicians, loved ones, family members, still commonly occurs today. Sadly, It was not until the early 1990’s that things began to turn around. Fibromyalgia was recognized that it is indeed a legitimate illness that is disabling. Once again, sadly the average person with fibromyalgia may suffer for five years or more and sees many doctors before receiving an accurate diagnosis. Even with this diagnosis of a “label” it’s not nearly enough, due to the complexity of the condition. There are over six million in the United States that have Fibromyalgia, if not more. That’s about one person in forty that are in one of the three stages of Fibromyalgia: pre-fibromyalgia, moderate stage, or the complex stage of the disorder. 85% of fibromyalgia patients are women; as a result men with fibromyalgia are less likely to be correctly diagnosed. Granted the amount of research being done on fibromyalgia has increased quite a bit over the last ten years. It is still at a very slow pace do to the complexity of the disorder and the many facets of medicine it covers. Yet, still there is hope; new things are tried every day.
Doctors at this time do not completely understand or know the cause of this disorder, however they are making some break throughs. Some of the cause’s physicians believe are a result of a number of things such as: Fight or Flight Responses, Sleep Disruption, Other Chronic Pain Disorders, Trauma, Genetics, Psychological stress, etc….. It would be so nice to say that is all, but sadly fibromyalgia is often diagnosed with other conditions along with it. Such as: Osteoarthritis, Lupus, Gout, Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Neuropathy, Depression, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and MS just to name a few. To have any of these conditions along with Fibromyalgia can be devastating.
Fibromyalgia is a vicious cycle, the pain, the confusion, fatigue, and emotional stress, physical stress, poor sleep, keeps a person in a constant state of anxiousness. This can and has continued indefinitely until it is developed in to complex state of fibromyalgia.
The first thing to realize about your loved one is you can’t fix them. The concept of acceptance should occur here. Without acceptance bitterness, shame, outrage, sadness, can and will occur in either you or your loved one. It’s important to work through these difficult feelings. There is more joy in laughing at our weaknesses and being grateful for our strengths. Our thought over what should be and shouldn’t be is nothing but a useless thought that creates bitterness and hardship for all. To accept that your loved one has fibromyalgia, healing be taken one step further. Fibromyalgia can be so complex, that many forget that the basics of love, acceptance, and understanding can make a world of difference.