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18 Powerful Photos That Need to Be Shared Beyond Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

May 12th was Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, so it’s especially important during this time to raise awareness and promote understanding of the condition and those who live with it. Fibromyalgia is a serious chronic illness that can produce a wide range of symptoms, including widespread pain, fatigue, brain fog and sleep disturbances, but the effects go far beyond the physical. Fibro can affect just about every aspect of a person’s life, from their relationships to their mental health to their ability to attend school/work or do the activities they enjoy.

In honor of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, we asked our Mighty community to share a photo that represents an aspect of their life with fibromyalgia they wish others understood. On this day especially, let’s elevate the voices of those who live with fibro so loved ones as well as researchers and medical professionals have a better understanding of this condition.

However, it’s also important to keep in mind that those with fibro live with and battle this condition every day, not just May 12th, and thus deserve support and recognition year-round. If you have a fibro warrior in your life, let this awareness day be a reminder of just how valuable your continuous love and understanding can be.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

1. “This is one of my favs! Using my favorite beautiful crutches to be ‘Yoda.’ Yes, sometimes I need crutches to manage my pain because sometimes putting the slightest weight on my feet is agony. But fibro is always up and down! I can go from laughing and feeling good to [being] in total overwhelming agony and unable to move literally in minutes. This photo shows that even though I’m limited in some ways, some days more than others, by my illness, I am still capable, silly, fun-loving and strong.” – Nae W.

woman holding herself in the air by balancing on her two crutches

2. “After a cupping therapy. It doesn’t stop the pain but I get less muscle twitches and spasms and I sleep better too so as the old adage goes… every little helps.” – Danielle C.

woman with red circles on her back from cupping

3. “These are what get me out of bed first thing in the morning, painkillers and [vitamins].” – Kirst F.

morning section of pill organizer

4. “My warrior face. I wish people understood the pain is my constant companion. Fibro sucks.” – Nichole H.

woman holding a cloth over half her face

5. “People with fibromyalgia do their best to lead and also give their families a normal life – they might be in severe pain but will still be doing things (albeit slowly) with a smile on their face. On the day this photo was taken I had a severe flare-up but went out on a hike with the family. It was difficult but doing things together as a family is my way of coping with the pain.” – Lakshmi R.

mother, father and two sons taking a family photo outside in a large field

6. “My partner took this picture of me on a zipline tour. We were celebrating our two-year anniversary. I was aching everywhere. I wish others understood that I’m allowed to have fun, and I’m allowed to enjoy my life in spite of chronic illness. I smile through the pain… but the pain is definitely there.” – Jess N.

woman doing a zipline course in the trees. she's wearing an orange helmet and turquoise jacket

7. “This is me, rocking my wristbands. I wish people understood that, yes, the pain really is that bad all the time. You can’t control it and you never get used to it, but you can control some things, like my DNR.” – Lola C.

purple wristbands on a woman's wrist

8. “Dressing up in costumes doesn’t mean I’m all better. It means I was stronger than my illness for a few hours so I could do something I enjoy and make other people smile. I always pay for it afterwards but it’s always worth it.” – Jo R.

woman dressed up in a costume

9. “Having a [disability] bathroom so showering and going to the bathroom is easier. Adjustable shower head, built-in seats and easy in and out are amazing and worth it. I had a teeny tiny ancient shower and I was in agony and hated using it, now I have this!” – Kathy L.

shower with features that make it more accessible

10. “Bruises down my whole leg.” – Allison M.

bruises on a woman's leg

11. “I love to glam myself up with a little bit of makeup and pose for photos for my blog but some days you can see the tiredness behind my eyes and the lack of energy. My life with fibro is days like this, pushing through and getting on with it as best as I can but other days I’m stuck in bed with no makeup on, PJs and too tired to function. My mom took this picture on one of those in-between days where I just about managed. My life is often pushing myself to my limit and enjoying life as much as I can even if it leaves me fatigued. I refuse to let chronic illness take my life away completely and my blog is all for me and makes me feel good.” – Nicola M.

woman with blue hair standing outside and wearing a yellow dress and black jacket

12. “Had painsomnia the night before… but I’m ready for my doctor appointment. And of course, I’m smiling.” – Julie H.C.

woman taking a selfie and smiling

13. “A picture of my service dog (SD) keeping an extra close eye on me. She not only helps me get through fibro flares but also alerts and assists with the many conditions that accompany fibro. I wish people understood you don’t have to be old to have fibro or have a SD. You can be young and be disabled.” – Bay H.

service dog standing by a woman's feet

14. “Hiking with the kiddo no matter how sick I feel.” – Tim B.

man smiling with his daughter while out in the woods on a hike

15. “Me no longer hiding my fibromyalgia, I hid it for years! I bought this ‘Fibromyalgia Fighter’ T-shirt and I’m wearing it every Friday in May! I’m also starting a chronic pain support group and the first meeting is on May 12th.” – Jess M.

woman taking a selfie wearing a fibromyalgia awareness shirt

16. “I was having a horrible day. Flare with headache, exhausted, and all that fun stuff that goes with it. I couldn’t ‘rest’ because I had to work.” – Diane D.

a woman with fibromyalgia looking away in pain

17. “I’ve hardly done anything today, been sat down most of the day on a training day. Now my hips and my feet are aching, one foot is boiling hot and the other is ice cold.” – Marie B.

woman's feet. one is bare, and the other has on a sock and slipper

18. “A fake smile I put on, on my way to physical therapy for multiple sclerosis and fibro. The circles I cover, because of the weight I’m losing and lack of appetite.” – Melissa H.

woman smiling and taking a selfie in the car


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.