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16 Creative Descriptions of What Fibromyalgia Actually Feels Like

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May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month. Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that causes widespread, chronic pain in the musculoskeletal system, along with debilitating fatigue, brain fog, depression, other mental health symptoms, and more. Fibromyalgia can develop after an infection or injury, but sometimes has no apparent triggering event. Fibromyalgia can vary significantly in severity, but many people with this condition struggle to work, attend school, and/or manage housework and other daily tasks. Yet despite how life-changing fibromyalgia can be, scientists don’t know much about it, and there aren’t many treatment options. Many people with fibromyalgia are dismissed and disbelieved by doctors and even their own families, both before and after receiving their diagnosis.

Fibromyalgia is such a misunderstood condition that affects many people in our Mighty community, who come here seeking support they may not have found elsewhere. We asked them to share their creative descriptions of what it feels like to live with fibromyalgia to help others understand — and wow, did they ever come up with some unique ones!

Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Like constantly enduring an extreme situation

“It’s as if I’ve been wrestling a big bear and now I’m sore.” – SusanLee

“Being a human weathervane.” – Amanda G.

“It’s like living in a jail cell. There’s no escaping the pain, only accepting one’s fate and doing your best to live life, not just exist.” – Melanie M.

“It’s like thinking you’re a normal adult when you’re not. You think you can do all these things; the doctors think you can do all these things; society thinks you’re invincible and can hold jobs while simultaneously taking care of a house. But whoops, even maybe 1,000 steps into your day and the pain hits you like a truck and courses through your veins like fire.” – Elizabeth M.

“It feels like having the flu and a hangover while being on a merry-go-round.” – Canna Y.

“A toothache that never goes away and is with you 24/7.” – Lynn T.

“For me, it feels like I’m having 24/7 full-body childbirth contractions and giving birth out of the base of my skull. For some, it might be more relatable to simply describe it as a 24/7 full-body migraine.” – Belinda C.

“It feels like I rolled down a rocky hillside and landed in a needled bush.” – Gia S.

Like something from another world

“Like I’m being orbited by a hundred small moons, each with their own gravity, pulling at me in all different directions. They’re too small to bat out of orbit, so all I can do is try to hold back the tides to keep from drowning. So far, I manage, but every breath burns at my core. It’s hard to remember you’re woven from stardust when your limbs are heavier than stone.” – R. Harris

“It’s like being tumbled in a dryer and put away wrinkled and bruised all over with an alien death headache.” – Kimberly B.

“It’s like aliens stole my brain for research, like I am Dr. Frankenstein’s creation.” – Danielle J.

Like doing many exhausting and/or painful things simultaneously

“Running a marathon but never moving a step forward. A roller coaster ride that takes you to places you don’t want to go.” – Kari W.

“It feels like going to the gym at 8 p.m. and doing the sickest workout you can do. Then going out to the bar and drinking until 3 a.m., heading to bed, and getting up at 6 a.m. to go to work a 12-hour shift. It’s like doing that every day.” – Derrick P.

“Like swimming in electric peanut butter. You feel sludged and slowed down but then there are electric shocks in your bones.” – Bonnie H.

“Getting into a car accident while fighting the flu.” – Jessica I.

“It feels like you’re moving in slow motion but everything else around you is fast-forwarding. And then, for some reason, someone keeps slapping you with a cactus, and your clothes are made of thorns.” – Liz T.

Getty image by sulcs.

Originally published: May 12, 2022
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