Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association.

Symptoms are unpredictable and vary for everyone, but they generally include severe pain, fatigue, abnormal pain processing, sleep disorders, problems with cognitive functioning, migraines, anxiety and depression. While millions of people live with fibromyalgia, many misconceptions still surround the disorder.

The Mighty teamed up with Fibromyalgia Awareness and and asked their community to share their favorite memes (some funny, some painfully honest) that represent what life with fibromyalgia is like.

1. fibromyalgia meme: fibromyalgia won't kill us. it just follows us around attacking us like wild dogs

Amanda Wagner


fibromyalgia meme: i'm sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Lynda Brumbeloe Jones

3. fibromyalgia meme: invisible illnesses. learn about them. this is how i look. this is how i feel.

Robbye Olive

4. fibromyalgia meme: pain lets you know you are still alive. man, i feel so, so, so alive right now.

Crystal Rollosson

5. fibromyalgia meme: normal person's pain scale. spoonie's/chronically ill person's pain scale.

Abi Older

6. fibromyalgia meme: i don't always have the spoons to get anything done, but when i do i get everything done.

Cheryl Ledwidge

7. fibromyalgia meme: ever had that feeling where you just want to jump right out of bed? me neither.

Pam Jewell

8. fibromyalgia meme: and the award for acting normal when you have a crap load of pain goes to me!

Kalani J. Brickhouse

fibromyalgia meme: brain fog day to do list

Andrea Mohr Delaney

10. fibromyalgia meme: fibromyalgia. also known as 50 shades of fatigue.

Holly Hoffmeister Toulouse

11. god gives us only what we can handle. apparently god thinks i'm a bad ass.

Vivi Haugaard Betzer

12. fibromyalgia meme: i was trying to get outta bed but i got tired.

Connie Quatkemeyer

13. fibromyalgia meme: the worst feeling in the world is to be in so much pain and to have nobody know that you are even hurting.

Tiffany Carr

14. fibromyalgia meme: warning! i have fibromyalgia but if i hear one more person say 'but you don't look sick' i will not be responsible for my actions.


Donna Ingram Doyle

15. fibromyalgia meme: don't hug me too tightly! my fibromyalgia is flaring up, my meds are wearing off and i'm feeling a tad psychotic.

Kalani J. Brickhouse

16. fibromyalgia meme: fibromyalgia's a real pain my butt... head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, ribs, hips, back, legs, feet... and sometimes my hair hurts!

Connie Quatkemeyer

17. fibromyalgia meme: i'm not lazy, i am on energy saving mode.

Elizabeth Cortes

18. fibromyalgia meme: the faces of fibromyalgia

Jackie M. Williams

19. fibromyalgia meme: tell me one more time my pain can't be that bad

Sherry Wilson Edwards

20. fibromyalgia meme: i said i was awake, not functional

Leslie Jones

21. fibromyalgia meme: pain that makes you want to walk away from your body.

Amy Coyne

22. fibromyalgia meme: i lost my mind in the fibromyalgia fog bank off the coast of WTF happened to me island

KD Niles


23. fibromyalgia meme: my mind says 'get up' my body says 'bite me'

Leslie Jones

24. fibromyalgia meme: unless you have to rest in the shower, you have no idea what fatigue is

Chrystie Kilbourn-Terry

25. fibromyalgia meme: and here is a picture of the social life of someone with chronic pain. just fascinating, isn't it?

Kalani J. Brickhouse

26. fibromyalgia meme: yeah i'm gonna get stuff done today. fibromyalgia: nope.

Kalani J. Brickhouse

27. fibromyalgia meme: fybromyalgia definition

Anne Watercott Kotzenmacher

28. fibromyalgia meme: oh what's that you say? i don't look sick? well.. you don't look stupid but...

Michelle Nath

29. fibromyalgia meme: what my doctor thinks, what drug companies think i'm made of, how society sees me, how my boss sees me, wheat my friends think i've become, how i feel.

Robbye Olive

30. fibromyalgia meme: i battle fibro, what's your superpower?

Ellen Fraser-Wilson

31. fibromyalgia meme: keep calm and pretend your fibromyalgia magically disappeared... ha! didn't work did it?

Lynda Brumbeloe Jones

32. fibromyalgia meme: like having a hangover... only without the party.

Amy Coyne

33. fibromyalgia meme: fibro problems: feeling like you need to strip y our t-shirt off because it's putting too much pressure on your skin.

Angie Harper Hall

fibromyalgia meme: fibro tip: know your limits. recognize when your strength is fading and take a break before you hit the wall.

Lynda Brumbeloe Jones

35. fibromyalgia meme: warning! i'm a pain when i'm in pain.

Lynda Brumbeloe Jones

36. fibromyalgia meme: want to imagine what fibromyalgia is like? enjoy your symptoms.

Tammy Lynn Gowler

37. fibromyalgia meme: unless you have chronic pain, i suggest you shut your mouth before thinking of commenting on my coping mechanisms.

Sandra R Branson Orsi

38. fibromyalgia meme: F U, fibro... F U.

Lynda Brumbeloe Jones

39. fibromyalgia meme: when i'm feeling down and someone says 'suck it up' i get the urge to break their legs and say 'walk it off'

Michelle Nath


fibromyalgia meme: i'm pretty tough. but some days my body just says NOPE. Lynda Brumbeloe Jones

41. fibromyalgia meme: i've decided to take exercising more seriously. today i moved to the left. tomorrow, i go right.

Sue Klobertanz

42. fibromyalgia meme: this is bullshit. Reagan Wig Ely

43. fibromyalgia meme: please try to hide your surprise at my disease history and my age - I know i'm special, thanks for confirmation.

Kelly Miklethun-Shimp


fibromyalgia meme: the cat in the hat on fibromyalgia

Amy Coyne

Be sure to visit Fibromyalgia Awareness on Facebook and on their website,


44 Memes That Nail What It's Like to Have Fibromyalgia


This week has been a challenging one — I’ve been physically, emotionally and mentally drained. My pain levels were high, my fatigue severe and I could only focus on my flaws. I lost my ability to smile. Talking to friends really helped me. They listened and offered advice and hugs. (Thank you, I am blessed.)

It got me thinking — what’s a life with no joy, positivity or self-appreciation? Sometimes we get so lost in our health problems, in pleasing others, money worries, work demands and family and relationship issues, we often forget about those things in life that make us happy. Spending time being good to yourself might help you discover a more positive, peaceful and happy you. It’s important for our health and well-being to take time out to relax. Taking a time out for yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. 

Being in constant pain and feeling fatigued is a challenge, and sometimes fibromyalgia fighters need a “cuddle” day/evening/hour. It’s the time you need to retreat from the world, take care of yourself and recharge your batteries until you’re ready to re-emerge and fight again.

A friend of mine, Lyndsey, has chronic back pain. We talked and giggled about what we would put in our chronic pain “cuddle basket.”

I was inspired by our chat, and in preparation for any future much-needed cuddle time, I fetched an unused basket from storage and filled it. Here’s what’s in my overflowing fibromyalgia cuddle basket:


1. Kindle

2. Chocolate

3. Scented candle

4. Comfy blanket

5. Tea tree face mask

6. A good movie

7. Family photos

8. Sanctuary body lotion

9. Lavender pillow mist

10. Coffee

11. Homemade lemon scrub

12. My favorite perfume: Gucci Guilty

13. Art therapy coloring book

14. Comfy PJs

15. Clinique liquid facial soap

16. Homemade foot scrub

17. Sleep balm

18. Homemade soap

19. DVD boxset

20. Sensuous body scrub

21. Microwave wheat bag — my owl

22. Hot chocolate

23. Jellies

24. Thick comfy socks

25. Deep repair for my hair

26. Heating oil treatment for my hair

27. Strawberry and raspberry herbal tea

28. Satsuma body mist

29. Fragrance oils for my aroma diffuser and humidifier

As you can see I’m more than ready for some cuddle time. What would you put in your basket?

Follow this journey on Claire’s Comfy Corner.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States. Symptoms can include joint pain, fatigue, sensitivity to touch, sleep disorders and problems with cognitive functioning, or “fibro fog.” But because symptoms vary for just about everyone, it’s difficult for outsiders to understand what exactly fibromyalgia is — and what to say to someone who has it.

The Mighty teamed up with the National Fibromyalgia Association and asked their community what they wish others would stop saying to them — and what they wish people would say instead. Here’s what they had to share:

1. “Is that a real illness? I’ve heard it isn’t real.” —Kim Pallireto

Kim Pallireto says 'is that a real illness? I've heard it isn't real.'

2. “I’d like to stop hearing things like, ‘You look good,’ and ‘If you just lost weight, were more active, got out more, etc… you’d feel better.’ Instead, I’d like people to say, ‘We’d love to have you join us if you feel up to it,’ or ‘I know it’s hard for you got get out… how about if we bring pizza (or whatever) and watch a movie together?’” —Donna B. Russell

3. “‘I know you’re in pain, but sometimes you just need to push through it.’ You have no idea how hard I’m pushing already!” —Lily Blagg

4. “It’s not fibromyalgia; you’re just getting old.” —Donna Gregory Burch

Donna Gregory Burch says 'it's not fibromyalgia; you're just getting old.'

5. “Are you going to the right doctor?” —Lisa Harris

6. “You are just depressed.” —Calvin Kovatch

7. “It’s all a mental thing. If you strengthen your mind you would be fine.” —Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson says 'it's all a mental thing.'

8. “I know someone that did (fill in the blank) and that worked for them.” —Jane Dettmer

9. “Get a good night’s sleep and you’ll feel better tomorrow.” —Stacy Pestine Misenko

10. “‘You can’t blame everything on your fibromyalgia.’ Instead they could ask, ‘How is that related?’ and I can show them materials on fibromyalgia.” —Gina Rose Ott

Gina Rose Ott says 'you can't blame everything on your fibromyalgia.'

11. “You need to pray more and think positively.” —Diane Hoadley Norton

12. “Why aren’t you getting any better?” —Kelly Finlayson

13. “You really can’t work? Must be nice.” —Cindi Taylor Hughes

Cindi Taylor Hughes says 'you really can't work? must be nice.'

14. “’Oh you’re being lazy again today.’ I would like them to say, ‘Do you feel tired? Is there anything I can do to help you?’” —Diane Mullins

15. “You’re always sick, aren’t you?” —Peggy Hughey Tucker

16. “’You don’t look like there’s anything wrong with you… you look great.’ What a backhanded compliment that is just irritating.” —Vicki Vinson Dalton

Vicki Vinson Dalton says 'you don't look like there's anything wrong with you... you look great.'

17. “Try to go to bed earlier.” —Nancy Phillips

18. “It can’t hurt that much, I barely touched you.” —Lisa Cisneros

19. “You’d feel better if you exercise more and lose some weight.” —Ann Ward Reid

Ann Ward Reid says 'you'd feel better if you exercise more and lose some weight.'

20. “‘If you just changed the way you eat, I bet anything you’d feel better.’ What I wished they’d say is, ‘I can’t imagine feeling pain every day.’” —Pamela Frechette

21. “What’s wrong with you now?” —Tiffany Dowling

22. “’Your pain cannot be that bad, or are you feeling better today?’ I would like to hear… anything other than those two things.” —Bonny Bordeleau

Bonny Bordeleau says 'your pain cannot be that bad.'

23. “I would like to hear, ‘[I’m here] if you need to vent. Just do what you can.’” —Karen Browse

24. “Maybe you should get off some of those pills.” —Dedra Stock-Deig

25. “You’re a hypochondriac. There is nothing wrong with you.” —Rona Folds Williams

Rona Folds Williams says 'you're a hypochondriac.'

26. “All you need is a good massage.” —Angela Blake Morris

27. “Well at least it’s not terminal.” —Angela Blake Morris

28. “I don’t know what I would like to hear instead. My husband is incredibly supportive and makes me feel so much better with everything he says. Just having someone there to listen helps.” —Nicole Jennifer Nuss

Nicole Jennifer Nuss says 'just having someone there to listen helps.'

For more information, be sure to visit the National Fibromyalgia Association’s website and Facebook page.

*Some responses have been edited and shortened for brevity

I wish I could start this post with “Once upon a time” and have a happy ending, but unfortunately this is nowhere near to being a fairy tale, and my story hasn’t come to an end.

I am a mother, wife, artist, foodie, writer, animal lover, health advocate, candle maker, crafter, DIY expert and a pretty good frugal shopper. I also have fibromyalgia, which has progressively gotten worse and has left me unable to work for the past two months.

It has taken a toll on my emotions and my womanhood.

It has made me shed many tears and made me question a lot of things.

I have often sat here longing for the woman I once was. The energetic, creative woman who always had 10 projects on the go, worked full time, kept a clean, organized home, made delicious home-cooked meals and always had every hair in place and her makeup just so. I was super organized and capable of so many things, like going to the gym five times a week and creating YouTube videos.

Now I am the woman who’s lucky if she can make it out of bed, and even luckier if I manage to shower and get dressed (sometimes taking a shower drains me, and I need to rest). And luckier yet if I manage to do some dishes and laundry (laundry actually causes me physical pain, and I’m thankful for my second-hand dishwasher that I picked up off a local site).

That woman who had her makeup and hair done is now the woman who can be found sporting the latest sweatpants/pajama pants, goes au natural and puts her hair in a messy bun.

Yep, I am ready for the runway!

I am the woman who often forgets things and doesn’t have the energy or pain tolerance to do normal housework or make sure there is a healthy home-cooked meal each and every night.

But you know what?

I am also that woman who remains positive that somewhere along the line things will get more manageable. I am the woman who has taken control of her health care and come to terms with the fact I can’t do everything I used to but realizes I am still capable of so much.

I am the woman who has learned to let go. I ignore (or at least I try to ignore) the uneducated comments I sometimes get, like I must be fine if I managed to go shopping in the city. Little do they know that trip was out of necessity for my dietary needs and to save money, and it took two days for me to recover from it.

I am also the woman who has learned I have a lot to say. 

I am of value and have so many good things to share with people. This is what led me to writing.

People who deal with chronic pain and chronic fatigue often feel alone and that no one understands them. I went through this phase for years. The best support you can receive is often from people who start off as complete strangers and happen to be going through the same things you are. You can create a little family of your own through these connections.

Writing has given me an outlet to express my feelings and share what I have learned or am trying to learn. And it’s where I can also share other things of value.

You know the old saying. Everything happens for a reason. Well, I believe there’s some truth to that.

You ever get the feeling that you were meant to do something?

That is how I feel about writing, and it’s something I haven’t felt in a long time.

So join me on my journey. Let me offer you a shoulder and be that place you go to for encouragement, support, ideas and a wealth of information.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. It’s unpredictable and symptoms vary, but it’s generally characterized by chronic widespread pain, fatigue, abnormal pain processing, sleep disorders, fatigue, problems with cognitive functioning, migraines, anxiety and depression.

Symptoms come and go, and no cure exists, but experts have found a number of treatments that may help improve functionality. Fibromyalgia is more prevalent in women, and research indicates there could be a genetic component as well. But despite the large number of people who live with it, the average person knows very little about fibromyalgia.

The Mighty teamed up with the National Fibromyalgia Association and asked their community what they wish others understood about the disease. Here’s what they had to say:

1. “It is real.” — Janie Fisher

fibromyalgia meme: it is real

2. “I wish we could wear a traffic light device that would allow others to know what kind of day we’re having.” — Linda Mortensen

3. “It’s always there. Even though I may act ‘normal,’ I still hurt.” — DeJarnett Sharon

4. “It’s unpredictable, unexplainable and invisible and most often not caused ‘by something you did’ as though it can be avoided or is your fault. It can be all consuming or it can be liveable, it just depends on the day or week or month or year.” — Kathy Johnson

5. “It’s not fun ‘getting’ to stay home instead of going to work.” — Wendy Wilson

fibromyalgia meme: it's not fun getting to stay home instead of going to work

6. “You think I’m faking being sick, but really I’m faking being well.” — Becky Buice

7. “The ‘fog’… I get frustrated with myself when someone questions, belittles or criticizes… I’m sorry I’ve asked you the same thing three times now. I remember thinking it, but don’t remember asking.” — Sue Cook

8. “Everyday activities are utterly exhausting.” — Kae Romeril

9. “We are not drug seekers.” — Tammy Bobb

fibromyalgia meme: we are not drug seekers

10. “Chronic illnesses are not one size fits all. What works for your cousin’s best friend may not work for me.” — Patricia Bianca

fibromyalgia meme: what works for your cousin's best friend may not work for me

11. “I have to change my plans last minute because I’m really not feeling well. Or I don’t make plans because people get upset when I have to cancel.” — Donna Holbrook

fibromyalgia meme: i have to change my plans last minute because i'm not feeling well

12. “It’s a chronic condition. I’m not going to ‘feel better soon.’ I’m fighting this ‘invisible illness’ and I’m losing big time.” — Kristin Sciarappa

fibromyalgia meme: i'm not going to feel better soon

13. “We’re not making this up, and it’s not ‘all in our heads.’” — Lisa Hogan

14. “I wish all doctors were more educated and took this disease seriously.” — Donna Brown

fibromyalgia meme: i wish all doctors were more educated and took this disease seriously

15. “It changes from day to day! One day you’re able to get up and do the normal things, housework, shopping, lunch with a friend, gardening, cooking, then wham the fibro fairy slaps you on the head. It’s all you can do to make it to your kitchen to get your meds and breakfast, everything in your body feels as if you ran hundreds of miles, [there’s] burning, stinging pain, even your hair hurts.” — Teresa Hawkins Wilson

fibromyalgia meme: it changes from day to day

16. “Because it’s not something that will kill us, no one really cares.” — Dezaray Smith

17. “Getting a diagnosis of fibromyalgia does not have to mean your life is ‘over.’ It took a good while for me, but I have fought back and I have my life back, most of the time.” — Debra Jean Kelly Greene

18. “Some days I am just too tired and have too much pain to get anything done.” — Pat Davis

19. “We’re not lazy; we never know how much is too much activity.” — Cindi Halone

fibromyalgia meme: we're not lazy; we never know how much is too much activity

20. “Just because I look healthy doesn’t mean I am.” — Heather Lea Berg

21. “The fatigue is at times paralyzing and we can’t just push past it.” — Tina Wegner

22. “It will not disappear if I lie down and have a rest!” — Joyce Mitchell

fibromyalgia meme: it will not disappear if i lie down and have a rest

23. “We are real, strong people, with real, incredible pain. We did not ask for this and it is not an excuse to be lazy or stay home. No matter how good we look, it is an every second battle to live a life.” — Shannon Dawley

fibromyalgia meme: no matter how good we look, it is an every second battle to live a life

All images via ThinkStock


23 Truths People With Fibromyalgia Wish Others Understood

Maybe you don’t know anything about fibromyalgia and are therefore ignorant of the facts. Maybe you’ve heard of fibromyalgia, but you believe it’s a nervous condition that’s “all in the head.” Or you acknowledge there might be something “wrong” with me, but you think I exaggerate my “condition.” I’m writing this letter to you because I want to clarify any incorrect assumptions you have consider FMS (fibromyalgia syndrome) and tell you how your assumptions make me feel.

When you believe this isn’t a “real” condition and those who claim to have FMS are just looking for attention:

I assure you, I and the estimated 3 to 6 percent of the world’s population with this condition (according to the National Fibromyalgia Association) didn’t wake up one morning and decide, “You know, I’m feeling a little emotionally neglected today. I think I’ll talk my brain into coming up with a fake illness so people will take notice of me. Then we’ll collectively talk ourselves into having painful joints and sharp pains that travel around our bodies and minds, numbing fatigue, spots that make us want to scream when touched and skin that at times feels sunburned for days.”

When you suggest all I really need is exercise, a better diet or a hobby:

Well, I used to travel all up and down the streets and hills by my house. That is until I could barely walk for days afterwards. The exercise didn’t prevent my increasing FMS flare-ups, so more exercise surely won’t be the cure.

And in regards to diet, trust me, I am aware I’ve put on an extra 30 pounds over the years since the fibromyalgia really kicked in. I’m the one stuck inside this body 24/7, desperately wanting and hoping for things to change. Before you judge too harshly, my disease is a central nervous system disorder. “Central” meaning that from which everything else branches out from. It affects almost all aspects of my person. My body does not metabolize and lose weight like a healthy person’s does. In fact, I work hard to maintain the weight I’m at. I bet you dollars to donuts (no pun intended), I eat far less than you do and consume much healthier foods. Walk a mile in my shoes, my friend.

When you think I sound whiny or like a hypochondriac:

I rarely open up to people about my daily life with fibromyalgia. I assure you, I’m sharing a fraction of what it truly feels like to have FMS. I know people can get burned out by the unintentional negativity those of us with chronic illness can experience. This is why I only tell you a tiny bit, and more often than not, say absolutely nothing at all. You aren’t there to hear the cry of pain when my joints seize and I drop the full coffee cup all over the kitchen floor. You don’t see me intently trying to control my facial features so the pain I feel going up or down the stairs in the theater isn’t obvious to anyone looking. You don’t realize the times when the blood in my veins has been replaced with cement, but I get up and carry on with the routine of the day anyway.

When you want to show love and support to those with fibromyalgia or any “invisible” chronic illness:

We aren’t looking for anyone to feel sorry for us. What we really want more than anything is validation. Just to know someone believes our illness is real. That we aren’t faking or exaggerating our symptoms. We know we “look fine” on the outside, but if you could turn our inside out, you would see the true face of our condition.

Support us through your patience and presence. Remember this is not our chosen life, but the life we choose to persevere and thrive in, regardless of the unexpected path we must now walk on called “chronic illness.”

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability and/or disease, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Real People. Real Stories.

150 Million

We face disability, disease and mental illness together.