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Dear Person With Fibromyalgia, I Believe You

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To The Person With Fibromyalgia Who Feels They Aren’t Being Believed

Dear friend,

I see you. 

I see your pain, I see your struggle and I desperately wish for you to know that you are not alone. I may not be familiar with your specific journey, but I can empathize with your pain.

I vividly remember the first time I felt that my chronic pain had been misunderstood and minimized. I remember the impact it had on me as a 16-year-old who was just beginning the exhausting journey to a fibromyalgia diagnosis. I remember being questioned about my constant pain, and I remember the angry tears I cried when I started to realize no matter how hard I tried, some people would never understand what I was going through. That was an extremely bitter pill to swallow.

A well-meaning family member had responded to my complaints of pain with this over-simplified solution.

“If it hurts, then don’t do it.”

The problem is, if I followed that advice, I would never do anything. Because everything hurts. That was the moment I realized that people who aren’t in constant pain often cannot wrap their minds around the concept of constant pain.

Sixteen-year-old me felt so alone.

I was isolated from my peers and questioned by adults who struggled to understand the invisible pain that ripped through my body daily. I was frustrated by the constant battle I fought to be seen and believed.

Friend, can you relate to that today?

You may not literally be a confused teenager curled up in bed and crying in anger at the ignorance of people around you, but maybe that’s how your heart feels.

It’s a vulnerable and horrible place to be. I know.

Friend, if you don’t feel like you are believed today, let me say this loud and clear.

I believe you. 

I believe that you are in pain. I believe that it affects your life deeply, and I will never hold it against you that you can hide your pain with a smile. I will always believe you.

Sixteen-year-old me desperately needed to be seen, heard and validated.

If that’s what you need today, please let me be that for you.

It doesn’t matter to me who won’t believe you. It doesn’t matter to me how many of your family members think you’re “lazy” or “sensitive.” It doesn’t matter to me how many doctors have gaslighted you.

Friend, I see you and I believe your pain is real. No questions asked.

You may feel alone today, but the beautiful truth is that there is an army of compassionate souls struggling with chronic pain and they are ready to fight alongside you. Facing the doubt alone is crushing. Together, we can validate and encourage each other.

The pain of fibromyalgia is real, physical and life-altering, but you are not alone and as much as I believe in the pain I believe in the beauty of life that can coexist with pain.

There will be people in your life who are determined to cast shadows of doubt on your experiences. That really sucks.

Today I want you to focus on this simple, validating thought.

You are seen and believed by the rest of this wonderful community. Let that give you the strength you need to keep fighting for today.


You can check out the contributor’s website here.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

Originally published: October 27, 2020
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