themighty logo

Those of Us With Fibromyalgia Need to Stop Comparing Our Pain


There is a difference between comparing and relating. It’s OK to relate to someone else’s pain, but you should never compare.

No two people are the same. Everybody is different. Everyone has different experiences in life, and everyone has a different story to tell. This is why we should never compare our lives with the life of another.

I have fibromyalgia. I can relate to many other people who also have fibromyalgia. One thing I will never ever do, however, is compare my fibromyalgia to someone else’s. I simply can’t compare it. Everyone with fibromyalgia has their own unique set of symptoms. Everyone with fibromyalgia has had a different experience. It’s just not feasible to compare such things.

If someone experiences different symptoms to yours, it doesn’t mean they don’t have fibromyalgia. If someone is able to remain physically active, it doesn’t mean they’re not in pain. If someone hasn’t had fibromyalgia for as long as you, it doesn’t mean you know more about it than they do. If someone has been diagnosed later than you, it doesn’t mean they haven’t been suffering for a very long time.

Fibromyalgia comes in many different forms. There are many different causes, many different symptoms and many different ways to be diagnosed. There is still so much about fibromyalgia that is unknown. Nobody knows everything there is to know about fibromyalgia, because there is still so much we don’t know. There is still more research to be done. There are still more discoveries to make.

Some treatments may not work for you, but they may work for someone else. Some management techniques may not help you, but they may help someone else. It’s OK to share your experiences with others, but don’t tell them that it doesn’t work just because it didn’t for you. Don’t assume that everyone with fibromyalgia will have the same experience as you. Everyone has to find what works for them, because everyone is different.

Some people enjoy a massage, but others can’t stand it. Some people hate the winter, but others live for it. Some people can still participate in daily activities, but others need all the help they can get.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with things. Some people are able to find acceptance with fibromyalgia, while others are still going through the stages of grief. Don’t judge yourself too harshly if you haven’t found acceptance. You need to give yourself the time you need to grieve. There is no time frame for grief. It may take days, weeks, months or even years. Everyone goes through the stages of grief in their own time. Don’t judge others too harshly for finding acceptance with their diagnosis before you. Fibromyalgia isn’t something we can just “get over,” but it’s something we learn to live with because we have no choice.

It’s important to remember that sometimes you don’t know what someone has been through. Try not to make assumptions about someone else’s pain. Everybody’s pain is different. Everybody has a different journey. Focus on yourself. Try to find ways to manage your pain. Find what’s best for you.

We need to stop comparing our pain to anyone else’s. We need to support each other. We need to inspire each other. We need to give each other hope, when it seems like all hope is lost.

Image Credits: Jess Notting