Having fibromyalgia is horrible, but having to deal with unsympathetic people can be downright devastating. It can be challenging enough dealing with a condition that is painful and often invisible. Not having the support you need from those around you can make it even more difficult to cope with the challenges of living with fibromyalgia. However, I need to make sure that I don’t let others’ words or actions get to me. I have enough to deal with, and I don’t need negativity, or ignorance.
Here are five comments someone with fibromyalgia doesn’t need to hear:
- “You just don’t want to work.” Yes, you are correct. Why would I want to work? I would much rather stay in bed all day, lose everyone I care about, and jump through hoops in order to get disability benefits. I want to live on less money than I would if I were working. Isn’t that everyone’s dream?
Please think before you speak! I, as well as a many others, do work, and work hard. Unfortunately, there are quite a few of us who are less fortunate, and have a number of underlying illnesses that are debilitating. Fibromyalgia is recognized as a disabling illness, but getting approved for disability isn’t so easy. It can take years of fighting to get a favorable ruling. During that time, there is no money coming in. Do you honestly think anyone wants to live that way?
- “You look fine. You can’t be sick.” Thank you for that astute observation. You got me. I’ve been faking all along. Please don’t tell anyone else. I don’t want to give up using fibromyalgia as an excuse to get out of events I would love to go to, or to cancel on friends and family members at the last minute.
If you were to look deep into my eyes, you would see my pain. Do you ever get a headache? Can others tell you have one just by looking at you? Don’t assume that just because I look “fine” or “normal,” that I’m not suffering.
- “You need to work through the pain” or “You’ll be fine.” I had no idea you were a doctor, with a vast knowledge of fibromyalgia. Please tell me about the research you’ve done on fibromyalgia. Apparently, you know more than my physicians, and me, on this subject. Please enlighten me.
Unfortunately, if I work through the pain, it causes more pain. It’s true that movement helps fibromyalgia, however, if you are not physically able to do the activity in question, you will cause a flare. I can mostly manage light movements, for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. I will not make myself sicker for you!
- “This is all in your head.” Really? It’s that simple? I guess someone forgot to tell my body that. Gee, I didn’t know you were a psychologist. Thank you for the insightful diagnosis.
If this is all in my head, please explain the diarrhea, muscle spasms, rashes and other physical symptoms that can be seen with the naked eye. No one wants this horrible illness. Don’t be so insulting! I may have fear that is “all in my head,” but my pain is very real. Don’t confuse my pain with fear.
- The absolute worst, and most offensive, comment I’ve ever heard came from someone very close to me. I was shocked, that in response to my mention of back pain, they said “Well, I have back pain, too, so I must have fibromyalgia.” Wow! I thought fibromyalgia was much more than that, but I was obviously mistaken.
Of course, they don’t suffer from this disorder simply because they have back pain. How do you respond to such a hurtful comment? I’ve gotten to the point where I try to ignore the ignorance, but on the inside I feel pain and anger. How can someone who claims to love you be so cruel?
I’m interested in hearing from readers regarding their experience dealing with rude or insensitive comments. How do you respond? Do you cut those people out of your life? Do you speak up for yourself, or let it slide?
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.