24 Beautiful Tattoos Inspired by Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States, and symptoms include fatigue, pain and problems with cognitive functioning (aka “fibro fog”). These symptoms can vary from day to day and person to person, making the chronic disorder notoriously difficult to diagnose.
While fibromyalgia can be frustrating, the online communities for those with fibro (and others with chronic illnesses who identify as “spoonies“) are strong. We’ve noticed a number of individuals sharing their personal stories on social media, and among other things, photos of tattoos that symbolize their experience with fibro. The butterfly and the purple ribbon are the most commonly recognized symbols for fibromyalgia.
Here’s what they shared with us:
1. “I was diagnosed at 16, and got my spoon tattoo on my 18th birthday. The tattoo is inspired by ButYouDontLookSick.com‘s spoon theory. It is my way of always having an extra spoon on days where I feel like I need one. My older sister is on the left, and she got the tattoo in support of me. It’s her way of having an extra spoon for me when mine still isn’t enough.” –Gabby Bennett
2. “My daughter and I both have the same tattoo on our arm because we both have had fibro for many years. The butterfly represents fibromyalgia with the purple color but also the saying reminds us that although every day is a struggle, life is still beautiful and we will get through one day at a time.” —Monique de Kroon
3. “This is my daily reminder to get out of bed and give it my all. Even when I’m having the worst day. This tat also serves a dual purpose. The body of the butterfly is a semicolon for suicide prevention and awareness.” —Hailey Alexander Jones
4. “About two years ago I had been thinking about how I wanted to embrace knowing I have fibromyalgia and a tattoo came to mind. I explained to the artist what and why I was doing this, and he completely understood. Knowing that it takes so much to spread our wings daily to get through the day. I’m reminded when I look at my tattoo quite often that I’m not alone.” —Kelly Michael Loague
5. “I got my tattoo after being diagnosed with celiac disease, and going through a rough patch emotionally and physically with all types of symptoms which oddly overlap with fibromyalgia. I wanted to remind myself to be brave and strong. I got my version of a Thunderbird. Now, that I have a fibromyalgia diagnosis, too, it’s just an even better reminder to get up and get going. You can do this.” —Tracy L Terry
6. “Got it for being a domestic violence survivor. I didn’t know it was for fibro too until I was diagnosed.” —Ann Ward Reid
7. “I recently got this feather on my foot that reads, ‘strength lies within.’ It is a daily reminder for me that I have the inner strength to carry on every day despite whatever pain I maybe in. I never thought I would ever get a tattoo, but I love it, and after the pain fibro puts me in I was not worried about the pain of getting it done.” —Jessica Shaw
8. “I will win.” —Jacqueline Lynn Drummond
9. “When having a bad day I just look at it, and it makes me feel positive again.” —Lisa Marshall-Hill
10. “My daily reminder that I’m a warrior and will not give up for this horrible condition and will keep fighting.” —Monica Rodriguez-Zavala
11. “This is my snow leopard to remind me of how agile and graceful I once was and how lucky I was before this kicked in. It also represents the determination of how difficult is to survive the hard times, and a leopard never changes its spots; I’m still me.” —Brenda Butcher
via Thea Friemund
via Monica Moore
14. “This is a watercolor poppy — for my mum. It was after her death that I was diagnosed with fibro. A poppy for remembrance.” —Merrily Hall
via NoeLani Atken
via Lisa Colby
via Emma Svensson
via Chris Bye
via Katy Kelley
21. “My wings.” —Sarah Mackenzie
23. “It also helped to ease my pain.” —Shannon Patterson Eckholt
*Some answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Do you have a fibromyalgia-inspired tattoo? Share it with us in the comments below or email it to us at [email protected]
MORE ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA:
Fibromyalgia, a chronic illness with three main symptoms — widespread pain, chronic fatigue and cognitive trouble. Fibromyalgia is a complicated illness that’s not well understood. In the past, it was mischaracterized as a mental health disorder. Even today, some doctors wave off fibro symptoms as being “all in your head.” This isn’t the case. Read The Mighty’s comprehensive guide to fibromyalgia here. Click here to join our fibro community and connect with people who get it.