‘But You Don’t Look Sick’: What Does ‘Sick’ Look Like in Fibromyalgia?

‘But You Don’t Look Sick’:  What Does ‘Sick’ Look Like in Fibromyalgia?

Boy, if we had a nickel for every time we heard this, we would be wealthy! This is why they call fibromyalgia an invisible illness; because looking at us from the outside only, you can’t always tell.

Our smile hides our pain so often.

What DOES sick look like? We are used to sick people LOOKING sick – pale, thin, lethargic. We look like that a lot of the time, but you’ll probably never see it. With a little makeup, and a lot of grit and determination, we look pretty good on the outside. We tend to push ourselves out, so most of the time people only SEE us when we’re feeling pretty good –  otherwise we hide at home.

It’s like a woman who is pregnant. She may not look pregnant, but there are changes going on in her body; she senses them and finds them hard to describe at times. She is frequently tired and nauseous, smells really bother her, and her moods can be all over the place. Most of our symptoms are also hidden and not apparent to the people around us. We experience varying degrees of pain, mood shifts, indescribable fatigue, and unrefreshed sleep, just to mention a few.

I have to psych myself up when I go out. I put on some makeup, fix my hair, and basically just suck it up. Most of the time, unless you really know me, you might think I am tired because I would not look sick to you. That’s the magic of our public persona. We put a lot of effort to appear “normal” when we are out and about or on the job.

Because we might not have understood the struggle ourselves until our illnesses hit, we know that unless others are touched by a chronic illness they can’t fully understand. While we look fine on the outside, on the inside we are falling apart at the seams. And it really makes us feel isolated.

Fibromyalgia is known as an “invisible disease.” You can’t see brain fog, digestive issues, muscle weakness; sensitivity to light, noise, and odors. But they are part of our “new normal” and while we may not look sick, we absolutely know we are.

It’s time to redefine what sick looks like.

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 blog article are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Fibromyalgia.