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5 Things I'm Thankful for This Year as a Person With Fibromyalgia

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There are days when I can’t seem to do much more than crawl out of bed. Fibromyalgia causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, memory issues and, in general, is a pain in the butt. When I run out of or don’t take my medication, it feels like a deep fog has settled over me and it’s difficult to find my way out.

Despite all of this, there are some things I can be thankful for this year as someone with fibromyalgia. 

1. I have become more empathetic toward others

People often make assumptions about “lazy” people who can’t seem to get their life together, but I wonder how many people silently experience challenges from fibromyalgia and just need someone to say, “I get it. I get you.” 

2. My medication works pretty well. 

I know it works because when I don’t take it, the pain and fatigue become almost unbearable. I’m thankful — although there is no cure for fibromyalgia — that there are options for helping relieve the symptoms.

3. I learned that I’m not alone. 

I used to think no one understood what I am going through, but as I open up and talk more about it, I’ve found several people around me who also have fibromyalgia. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to find your tribe. As the song goes, “We all need somebody to lean on …” 

4. My doctor really listens to me. 

It took me almost two years to find a good doctor, but once I started talking to people around me about it, I learned about a doctor in my area who really knows how to treat fibromyalgia. A good bedside manner and knowledge of how to help patients are the two most important qualities in a good doctor. Mine has both.

5. I’ve got a supportive husband. 

So sometimes he gets tired of me being tired, but most of the time, he does what I can’t do and doesn’t complain about it. He doesn’t fully understand what I’m going through because he’s never felt what I feel, but he tries. Without a good support system, fibromyalgia can really create some problems. Thank goodness I’ve got support.

Yes, fibromyalgia is painful, exhausting and challenging to cope with, but if I’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that it’s important to open up to people about it. Not everyone will understand and there will be people who still think it’s fake even though it’s a valid medical diagnosis, but you’ll find more people are willing to listen than you think, and you just might find other people who also have fibromyalgia. And, if nothing else, you can come here for support. 

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: December 29, 2016
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