Read This If Fibromyalgia Pain Makes You Contemplate Suicide
If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
There are studies that show fibromyalgia patients are 10 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. Due to life circumstances and mental illness risk factors, I’ve contemplated suicide. I wake up every moment in excruciating pain. I am exhausted. Simply going to the store takes every spoon I have.
Known as suicidal ideation, I have had thoughts of suicide. I truly believe any individual with a chronic pain condition has had the thought cross their mind. September is National Suicide Prevention Month. I want to end the stigma. My father tragically passed by suicide when I was only a little girl. A best friend attempted suicide during our early 20s.
Oftentimes, those with chronic illness experience depression, a risk factor for suicide itself. Therefore, we don’t “just have fibromyalgia” or “just have myalgic encephalomyelitis” — another term for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). We live with depression and possibly anxiety as well.
Approximately 2% of the U.S. population lives with fibromyalgia, yet it’s still considered a psychiatric illness to some physicians, including an urgent care doctor who assured me that with the correct diet and exercise program, I would feel much more energetic. I apologize Dr. Know-it-all, but you are incorrect.
Fibromyalgia is real. There is not currently a cure for the illness and pain medications are of little assistance. With an inability to focus on the simplest task, a symptom dubbed fibro fog, I feel anxious and embarrassed in social interactions, limiting my circle to a small few. Sleep issues leading to waking up more tired than when I went to bed, contributing to my existing fatigue. Migraines can leave me in a dark room for days. Allodynia, a unique symptom, means fabrics or even human touch can feel like scratching a sunburn on my skin.
To say I have not contemplated an end to the pain would be naive.
To admit that I’m a suicide survivor fills me with guilt and shame. However, I promised honesty and realness. This year, I’ve worked on ending the shame spiral fibromyalgia pulls me into. The next step is to end the stigma of discussing suicide. I have been in the darkness and I have found the light. These days, I’ve expanded my medical team to include a therapist.
There is no shame in your thoughts and there is no shame in getting help. I don’t want to shout platitudes you’ve heard or read a dozen times before. I know you’re in pain. I know you might be angry, and bitter, and ask yourself, “Why me?” I’ve asked myself that every day.
However, you exist to brighten the world. Your life means everything. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for daring to live your life on your own terms and continue being the warrior that you are.
Photo by Bekah Allmark on Unsplash