The Mighty Logo

18 Things You May Relate to If You Have Fibromyalgia in Your 30s

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

For the average person, their 30s might involve a high-pressure career or starting a family with their partner. For those with fibromyalgia, your 30s may look a bit different. Due to the pain, fatigue and brain fog, you may find yourself having more difficulty juggling your career, relationships and children than your other 30-something friends. But even if your 30s go a bit differently than planned, the challenges you face give you a unique perspective, allowing you to see the world in a different light than most.

To better understand this experience, we asked our Mighty community to share what it’s like to have fibromyalgia in your 30s. Going through this period of your life with a chronic illness may be challenging, confusing and frustrating, but it can also show you how strong of a warrior you really are.

Here’s what the community shared with us:

1. “Having to leave my job, not having a social life and not being able to commit to anything. I never know how I’m going to feel tomorrow. I’m slowly learning to accept myself the way I am and to focus on the people/activities that make me happy.”

2. “I have learned I can’t achieve a lot each day due to chronic fatigue, so pacing myself is key.”

3. “It has halted my career plans and put plans for children on hold. I miss working.”

4. “‘You’re too young to feel bad.’ Yes, I’m in my 30s and yes, I push through to take care of my family, but that doesn’t mean I pick and choose when to feel bad. And how old do you have to be to feel ‘that bad?’ I’ve learned to ignore people and live how I need to. Slow and steady.”

5. “I was diagnosed at 31 years old. My kids were becoming teenagers and didn’t understand at all why I hurt all the time, why I stayed in bed, why I had so many doctor appointments. I’m 48 now and I’ve learned to pace and take care of myself. I’ve learned to educate others, how to speak up, how to say no, how not to commit to anything. My children have children now and they are learning Maw Maw is a bit different. But they are going to be taught as well. You just have to learn to live differently and to teach differently.”

6. “I’ve learned nothing is like I imagined it would be at this point. My life isn’t ever going to be the same and many people won’t understand and won’t make an effort to. And all that put together means it’s solely up to me to figure out ways to keep moving forward and to still have some semblance of the life I wanted.”

7. “Was diagnosed at 28. I’m now 35 and have had to stop working. I battle fatigue and pain daily and have lost an active and social life. I struggle to find a sense of purpose and spend days just wondering, what if I didn’t have this disease? Where might I be now? Either way, it is what it is. I gotta live and figure out my ‘purpose.’ I found out in March I’m expecting my first child in December after 13 years of it never happening for us. Guess that’s a purpose! I’m frightened of being a mommy with fibro. This will be a challenge I’m bracing for.”

8. “I have two young children who struggle because I can’t do the things others can. It’s hard to explain the limitations fibromyalgia sets to them as each day can be a new experience.”

9. “I started having kids, and it totally affected my ability to breastfeed, play and be the dream mom I wanted to be… For me, ultimately, I had to choose between kids and career, and my kids came first.”

10. “I have been the most challenged by my limitations. I don’t have the energy to do the same things I used to do. If I am able to do something fun, it takes me days to recover… I’m saddened I will have something that affects me forever. I’m still grieving the life I thought I was going to have and the one I wanted.”


11. “I feel like I can’t keep up with friends and colleagues and people don’t understand how a 30-something can feel so tired, want to nap, is in pain or enjoys simple things. Everyone is go, go, go.”

12. “I’ve learned to weigh the cost against my body vs. what I’ll get out of what I’m doing. If it’s a high cost, it better be something important or something I love. If it’s not something I enjoy and isn’t worth the pain, I’ll pass. I also try to stress less because I know life goes on no matter if I complete a task or not.”

13. “While in my 30s, I pushed my body thinking, ‘I’m young and can push past this and beat it!’ I worked full-time, had physical hobbies, spent time out with friends… I had the occasional flare but always bounced back from it. Of course, the lesson is now I’m in my early 40s and my body is rebelling… I really wish I could tell my younger self to pace better and for goodness sake, listen to your body when it tells you no!”

14. “On a bit of a chronic illness dark humor note, people have finally stopped telling me I’m ‘too young to be this sick’ and have started telling me ‘it’s just part of getting older’ now.”

15. “The best advice I can give and the best thing I have learned is to ‘just breathe.’ It gets me through the pain, the stress, the anxiousness, the restless nights, etc.”

16. “I find it hard to explain sometimes that what I’m experiencing is categorically different from the new aches and pains my other 30-something friends are feeling. The only way I know how different it is is because two years ago I was experiencing the same thing they were – and I don’t want to belittle the annoyance of an old sports injury or of getting tired more easily than you used to. But at the same time, that’s not what I’m experiencing.”

17. “For me, fibromyalgia is easier in my 30s than my 20s. Not because the pain is any less or the symptoms less severe, but because I’ve learned how to control them as much as possible.”

18. “Having fibromyalgia in your 30s is like taking a crash course in grief… over and over and over again. The flip side is it tests you enough to learn how strong you are, because you keep going, you keep trying and you don’t give up. You find support and friendship from people who understand [and] who also have the condition and you learn to rebuild.”

Originally published: August 24, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home