I haven’t had any alcohol at all in weeks. I didn’t eat the bread or the fries that came with last night’s burger. I’m hydrated.
This is just my fibromyalgia being a complete jerk.
By the time I get to work, I will have drawn on every acting skill I have— and that’s quite a few— to present as ‘normal’. I will do my job with absolute professionalism: my students will never know how dreadful My body feels.
After work, I will complete the errands on my to-do list. Those things don’t go away because I feel rotten.
Only when I come home again can I give in to the pain, the sluggishness, and the desire to just go to bed and moan a bit.
But they’re right. I don’t “look sick”. That’s because I am 100% accomplished at making it look like I’m not.
I, too, suffer from chronic, invisible illnesses.
I have fibromyalgia. I have a permanent back injury. I have depression and anxiety, and I work hard to keep those under control. I strive to take good care of myself, and to manage my conditions. I avoid aggravating them. I also make every possible effort to stay positive and to do the things in life that I enjoy doing.
The fact is, though, no matter what good care I take care of myself or how positive and proactive I am, I cannot heal or cast off my invisible disabilities.
The debilitation is real.
The exhaustion is real.
The misconceptions are real.
And the judgement? Many people would not be willing to believe how real, and how consistent, and how very, very toxic that is.
The critics are only right about one thing: I don’t look sick.
That’s because I’ve been faking being well for years.
Since I began posting about my experiences of Fibromyalgia, a number of friends have asked me to explain what it is. I always start with “I can really only tell you what it’s like for me…”
I was recently introduced to a video by Dr Andrea Furlan, a pain specialist from Toronto, in which she explains the symptoms, possible causes and treatments for Fibromyalgia far better than I ever could. While some GPS are still fairly dismissive of this disease, Dr Furlan explains with empathy and understanding of both the physical and mental effects of Fibromyalgia on those who endure it.
Even though everyone experiences it a bit differently, it felt as though she spent most of the time actually talking about me. This tells me two things: she really knows what she is talking about, and she is a very good communicator.
So, if you want to know more about Fibromyalgia, take the time to watch this video and find out why the people you know with this condition I find it so debilitating.