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How Laughter Helps Me Manage My Fibromyalgia

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People like to laugh. It makes us feel happy. We go to YouTube and look up funny and humorous videos, we scroll social media and giggle at the funny pictures on our screens. We act silly with our friends and laugh at their antics. It’s a normal part of everyday life.

When you live with fibromyalgia, life can seem bleak, even hopeless. We tend to focus on the bad, even though we really try to ignore it in favor of the good. We deal with constant pain, “fibro fog” and a myriad of other issues. When I first started showing symptoms, it was very confusing for me (no pun intended). I was an intelligent, young woman who everyone could rely on and I was always up for hanging out with friends and family. Admittedly, I’ve always been a bit uncoordinated. It was a running joke that I can’t chew gum and walk at the same time. I wasn’t offended; it was all in good fun.

I had no idea that fibro could cause more than chronic pain. I started to do research and discovered that there were over 200 known possible symptoms. Talk about scary! However, my research shed a new light on aspects of myself that I had always considered to be “normal for me.” I couldn’t help but wonder just how much of it was attributed to fibromyalgia. Clumsiness? Check. Inability to tolerate too much light, sound, touch, etc.? You bet! Trouble with speech? Oh yes. One by one, pieces of my own, personal puzzle began to fall into place.

I went through a period of mourning for my old life. I think we all do at some point. I didn’t think I’d ever be happy again. Then one day, I had a breakthrough. After several attempts to say something to my daughter, tripping over my words and generally making a complete mess of the English language, she started giggling uncontrollably. At first I was irritated by her laughter but I soon joined her. After all, once I thought about it, it really was quite funny. I thought about some of my “fibro moments,” as I’ve taken to calling them, and realized that those moments had led to some pretty hilarious situations, such as getting stuck at my desk because my legs wouldn’t cooperate and let me push my rolling chair away. It took a solid 10 minutes for everyone to stop laughing long enough to help me and I was laughing right alongside them.

I refuse to let this illness take away my happy moments. I might end up wearing mismatched shoes because I wasn’t able to concentrate on what I was doing but I’m going to laugh about it the entire time after it’s pointed out to me. It seems to be somewhat self-deprecating, laughing at myself, but I think it’s a step towards loving myself again, even with my new limitations. After all, laughter really is the best medicine and I like to take mine in daily doses.

Getty image by fizkes

Originally published: June 30, 2019
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