What It Was Like Growing Up With Fibromyalgia

When I was 3 I knew something was wrong, I woke up crying very often in the night. “Mommy my legs hurt,” I would scream, with tears rushing down my face. “Why don’t my legs like me?”

When I was 5, my mom asked my pediatrician why I was having leg pains, her reply was “growing pains.” Which not only are growing pains not real, but they were a very inappropriate diagnosis considering I was the shortest child in my kindergarten class. “Why aren’t I growing if I have growing pains?”

When I was 7 the lab tests began, three vials of blood.  Still bawling in the night because my legs hurt so bad that I could not sleep. Lab results came back, and everything was “normal.” “Why do they need to take my blood?”

When I was 9 the lab work was still continuing, but this time there were five vials of blood. I was tested for a series of conditions, but mainly lupus. I didn’t think I had lupus, but I was eager for answers. Around this time, the pain started to seem customary. “Why don’t doctors listen?”

When I was 12 I started my menstrual cycle. I was in bed three out of seven of the days of the week because my body couldn’t handle moving. The pain had started spreading, I began experiencing knifes in my back. Went to the doctor again, by this time I had already had lab work done at least 18 times. “Please, make it stop!”

When I was 14 I had my first boyfriend. Instead of telling him that I was too exhausted or in too much pain to hang out, I simply said “I’m busy,” I knew he wouldn’t understand or believe me. By this time the pain has spread to my arms. I was in constant pain. “I just want to be believed.”

When I was 15 I learned that I was in a toxic relationship. I was mentally abused, lied to, and cheated on. I soon realized stress made the pain worse. I was in constant fatigue for nearly six months. I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I made the choice of ending things with that boy. “I’m already in emotional pain, I don’t need physical pain on top of it all.”

When I was 16 I fell in love. This caused my mood to be happy and I wasn’t focused on my body. All I knew was I had less pain days. I still had various doctor visits, by this time I had my blood drawn 32 times. I still had no idea what was wrong. Though, I didn’t have as many pain days, when I did the severity grew stronger. I was beginning to lose all faith in the medical field. “I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemy.”

Now I am 17 and diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I now take two prescribed medications once a day and Tylenol twice a day. I have support from multiple friends, my family, and my boyfriend. Getting a diagnosis set me free, because I am now aware of what’s wrong so now I am able to take the necessary precautions. Having a chronic illness at a young age is not the slightest bit easy but I’m a great positive faker. “I’m living a great life!”

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Fibromyalgia

double exposure of a woman smiling and a photograph of a sunset on a beach

The Inspirational Word I Chose to Guide Me Through 2017 With Fibromyalgia

Like the term “self-care,” having a “word of the year” was something I didn’t hear of until I heard it everywhere. I heard some rumblings of the idea of picking one word – kind of like a simple resolution or mantra, to carry you through your year – sometime in 2016, but too late for [...]
Low-angle close-up of a handicapped parking space

The Argument I Always Have at the Disability Parking Space

The argument I always have at the accessible parking spaces is whether or not I really need to use it again. I have fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis and generally don’t look like I need to park in the accessible spaces, so I feel guilty and need to justify using them. “Not this time,” I reason. “I don’t [...]
teenage girl sitting by the lockers next to her backpack with her head in her hands

The Hardest Part of Being a Teenager With Fibromyalgia

I’m 17 and I have fibromyalgia, but most of my 15–19-year-old friends don’t get it. There are so many things that come with having fibromyalgia, but I feel like the hardest part is not being believed. And I’m not an expert on my condition, I don’t know all the ins and outs. I just know I [...]
Surreal and artistic image of a girl who covers her eyes with her hands on a background of trees and sky

10 Things I Say That Hide How My Fibromyalgia Really Feels

I “fake it” every day and I find that annoying. Here’s the thing: If I actually told people how I really feel or “played” the part, if you will, who would believe it? The thing that ails me is an invisible illness. It just doesn’t look like how it feels. So, instead of looking like [...]