What You Should Understand Before Expressing Pity for My Illness


The difference between pity and empathy when it comes to my illness, as I understand it, is that pity is a sense of sadness regarding someone’s unfortunate situation. Empathy is being able to relate emotionally to someone and feel what they feel.

I have had people who mean the world to me, look at me with pity. They ask me how I am. I usually don’t tell most people how I am really feeling, but even so, they say, “oh, you poor thing, it must be horrible to feel like that all the time, I cannot imagine it, I feel so sorry for you.” That is heartbreaking to me. I don’t want anyone’s pity – I want understanding and love. I do not pity myself, so why would I want someone’s pity?

It seems to me that those who have gone through or are going through any type of illness or pain are the most compassionate people in the world. The most empathetic. The most forgiving. We don’t pity each other, we support each other. Because we know. Because we feel more.

I am an empath. I am a human sponge. I absorb most emotions around me, both positive and negative. This can affect my fibromyalgia, as well as my emotions, if I allow it.

It took me a long time to embrace my fibro, to accept that I have a lifelong illness, and I do not feel sorry for myself. It has led me to some amazing discoveries about myself, like strength, determination, acceptance, resilience, etc. I have chosen to eat healthier, think healthier and be around people who are not negative. It has led me to some amazing people, who are my inspiration.

Getty Image by kameshkova


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


Related to Fibromyalgia

illustration of woman sitting on the couch wrapped in a blanket and drinking tea

What I Find to Be the (Surprisingly) Worst Part of Fibromyalgia

What’s the worst thing about having fibromyalgia for me? Well, if I’m honest, the answer to that question is likely to be different day to day. Hour by hour, even. Somedays, fatigue is the most frustrating thing, others it’s one particular type of pain or another. Then there are the myriad other symptoms that seem unrelated, [...]
photo of a cloudy beach

Why I'm Planning an Outdoor Excursion Despite My Fibromyalgia

Today, I am making plans. There is no guarantee I will actually follow through with them, but I persist. Because sometimes having something to look forward to helps me see past the pain and exhaustion, and remember I have a life outside of my condition. I have loved being outside. Not necessarily doing “outdoorsy” things, [...]
Two hands holding up a row of speech bubbles in front of a blue background.

What You Should (and Shouldn't) Do When You Find Out About My Illness

Ever since I’ve been having problems with my health, I’ve had problems with people. Some people think it’s OK to tell me what they think I should be doing, and that’s not OK. Unless you’re my doctor, specialist, or me – you don’t actually get a say. In the end, I’m my own best advocate. [...]
watercolor painting of a woman surrounded by roses

10 Lesser-Known Symptoms of Fibromyalgia I Experience

There are a lot of people who haven’t heard of fibromyalgia and those who have don’t always fully understand it; there are even those who think it isn’t real. A lot of people who are aware and do try to understand it make the mistake of thinking it’s all about pain. Although chronic pain is [...]