Advocating for ourselves is an important part of self-care. We need to speak up for ourselves and stand our ground. We need to stop letting people tell us what we should be doing to get better, because although their heart may be in the right place, they don’t really know what we go through.
So, how exactly are we to get the courage to do that?
It’s particularly hard if we are people-pleasers by nature. We don’t want to rock the boat. But we are being untrue to ourselves if we aren’t honest about what we need and what we don’t want. People-pleasers find it very hard to put themselves first. Think about flying. The flight attendants always say to give yourself oxygen before helping someone else. As someone struggling with fibromyalgia, we need to put our health first!
I know it’s much easier said than done, especially in the moment, but we really need to just shake off the negative, ignorant, uncaring comments of others. Speaking up for yourself and practicing self-advocacy can and should be done with love — FIRM love. Don’t be apologetic; you have nothing to apologize for. You did not ask for FM, but since you have it, please learn to advocate for yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s self-protective.
Find people who love and understand you to “practice” self-advocacy on. Do some role playing so that when the actual events happen, you will know how to handle it, using a grace-covered mallet. You do yourself a grave disservice by keeping quiet and suffering. It will add to your stress and cause an increase in pain and potential flares.
Speak up for yourself with your medical professionals. Don’t settle for less than you should. If your doctor doesn’t believe you, or isn’t as supportive as you need them to be, find someone who is. Be your own advocate. Trust me, they are out there and you are worth it. You need to be an active participant in your healthcare. That means asking questions and being very specific about your symptoms and concerns. Bringing someone with you to take notes can be really helpful. You need a doctor who will take the necessary time with you.
There are lots of fibromyalgia forums and support groups out there. Join a few and get some feedback from those who truly understand. You will feel less alone and more empowered.
Do it for YOU!
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.