WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING IS TRUE?
(A) NESSIE IS REAL
(B) FIBROMYALGIA IS REAL
I assure you, it is real. The pain is real. The debilitating chronic exhaustion is real. The insomnia is real. So is every other symptom that makes it a dreaded illness to contend with.
What is also real is the ignorance that people show towards it and us – the sufferers. Here are some of the common myths that people have about fms.
Myth 1: It’s all in your mind.
Truth: Really? When people perpetuate these misconceptions they add to the stigma of fibromyalgia as a figment of our imagination. We are not hypochondriacs. 20 years from now when science and medicine expose more about this baffling condition, you’ll have to bite your tongue. Don’t be part of the problem, please.
Myth 2: You can cure yourself with…wait…don’t tell me, the acai berry! No wait! what was the latest quick fix being advertised online?
Truth: There is no such thing as a quick fix. Most sufferers will tell you they’ve tried any and everything, desperate for a solution, as well as spending years to and from specialist doctors, doing all manner of medical tests.
Myth 3: Some good ole exercise will fix yuh up!
Truth: This is one of those times when I have to once again go ‘really?’ I’m not saying exercise doesn’t help but the notion that some doctors and people have that regular exercise will sort our problems is wrong. Most sufferers, including myself, CANNOT manage proper exercise.
On a very good day, if I push myself I can manage 9 minutes of graded exercise with a break in between. Then I pay for it afterwards. Sometimes we can be in bed, sore and aching for says after exercise. Every sufferer is different of course. What I will say is routine stretching and physical movement (i.e. walking the dog or rushing to work) sometimes helps in decreasing the severity of muscle pains. It doesn’t in any way affect my debilitating exhaustion as the doctor promised.
Myth 4: It’s another excuse for laziness
Truth: Firstly, let me say shame to all those who beguile the social welfare system by abusing the invisibility of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain illnesses. Such actions are ignominious and hurt the REAL sufferers.
Secondly, to the sceptics, we are NOT lazy. Just because we look well it doesn’t mean we are not in pain or badly exhausted or dizzy or hurting from one of our myriad of symptoms. We mightlook normal but our bodies are functioning with defects and abnormalities in our central nervous system. Take it forgranted that the simplest of activities tire us immensely and can encourage flare ups. For me sometimes it is having a shower, combing my hair or walking up a flight of stairs. Many of us fix steely facades on and we brave the day. We take care of families, we force our bodies to work…because we have to. Our friends who cannot manage this and depend on social welfare, are no less courageous than we are. So judge us only if you can walk a mile in our shoes damn it.
Myth 5: You just need to lose weight
Truth: If I got one pence for everytime a fibromyalgia sufferer has complained about being told this, I’d be well on my way. Certainly, as with any condition, having a healthy weight contributes to the overall well being of the individual. But to suggest to any sufferer that their muscle pains and slew of other symptoms like migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia and exhaustion would be remedied solely by weight loss, well… it is ludicrous.
Myth 6: You can live a normal life like everyone else
Truth: I wouldn’t call it a normal life, whatever normal is anyway. We TRY to live but with great difficulty. TRYING to live with chronic pain and unbearable exhaustion, migraines, cognitive impairments etc makes it incredibly hard to focus on THE NOW. And what is living if one cannot live in the present? And enjoy the beauty of now? Have you tried to think clearly or creatively when you have a bad migraine or pain? Well multiply that and imagine having to live with it everyday. We contend with something like this and I cannot call this normal. Also, please note comparing other’s ailments to ours doesn’t reduce our suffering in any way. It serves no purpose.
What other myths have you heard or had to debunk? Tell us so we can clear it up for them.
Gentle hugs 🙂