Things never to say to someone with Fibromyalgia

Seriously, these are things you should never say to someone who suffers from fibro!

  • “Oh, everybody gets tired! I’m tired and achy too!”
  •  “You’re so lucky, I wish I could stay in bed all day!”
  • “There’s nothing wrong with you, it’s all in your head!”
  • “But you don’t look sick”
  • “You just need to get out of the bed in the morning, and then you’ll forget you have it!”
  • “All you need to do is get out and do some exercise!”

Thanks to Fibrofaery for posting this list, and make sure to go check out Fibrofaery’s Blog!

I have also been on the receiving end of many such well meaning, but ignorant comments. For the most part, I believe that many people are, (or try to be), sympathetic to this condition, but struggle with how to express it. I admit, we fibro sufferers tend to be a sensitive lot. For most of us, it took years of suffering through specialist after specialist telling us that they couldn’t find anything wrong before finally being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. We’ve had to deal with countless doctors and nurses implying and sometimes, even making accusations that we’re merely drug seekers. If I get a cold or a sinus infection, and I have to go to an urgent care center, 9 times out of 10, the very first thing the doctor says to me is: “We do not prescribe pain medications to patients with Fibromyalgia”. Add these things to the depression, anxiety and other mental issues that come with fibro and you get a group of people who can be very difficult to talk to. It’s hard not take offense when people say such ridiculous things to you ALL the time.
Here are a few of my least favorite things that I’ve heard over the years:

  • “That’s a shame, you’re so young!”
    Fibromyalgia is an unpleasant disease to have no matter what your age. Yes, I was diagnosed at the age of 18, and while I understand what a horrible fate this must seem to people, please try to understand that I am still trying to live my life. I have to do things a bit differently than other people, but my life isn’t over, so please, keep your thoughts on my age to yourself.
  • “If there’s nothing physically wrong, can’t you just ignore the pain?”
    I am fully aware that there is nothing physically wrong with me, but my brain doesn’t. According to my brain and my nervous system, there is some kind of catastrophic damage to whichever body part is hurting at any given time. You can try to override these signals, but in the end, there is no way to reason with your body.
  • “You look great, you must be feeling better!”
    Want to know a secret? Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly bad, I put extra effort into my appearance to hide the fact that I feel terrible. Now, that being said, please DO NOT turn it around and say “You look great, are you in pain?”. How about you just leave it at “You look great”. That’s all I really want to hear.
  • “Let’s get you out of the house, that’ll perk you right up!”
    Sometimes a change of scenery can help, but most of the time, all it does is give me a new setting to hurt in. I’m not trying to be stubborn or anything, but sometimes, I just need to find a comfy spot to curl up in and wait for the misery to pass. Prodding at me to “go out and do something” is only going to make me grumpy, which in turn makes the pain worse. If I feel that getting out of the house will help, I’ll suggest it myself.

Hopefully, this list will at least make people stop and think about what they’re saying, but if not, it at least gives me, (and my fellow fibro sufferers), somewhere to vent :).  If anyone out there has any other things they ‘d like to add to this list, please leave a comment!

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: When hypo-mania meets a fibro-flare | Human In Recovery
  2. Trackback: Today is a NEW day | Life After Abuse, A Brighter Tomorrow
  3. Mom
    May 25, 2013 @ 11:04:03

    Hi, Kitten! I just wanted to tell you how incredibly proud Dad & I are of you. You have faced this challenge with strength & determination. I wanted to comment on what you said about there not being anything physically wrong with you- Just because the physicians have not found the cause of your fibro doesn’t mean that there’s not a physical cause. In medicine we use the phrase “etiology unknown” which means simply it’s a real condition but we can’t figure out what or why it is. In time, the medical community will become educated about fibro -it’s just that old nurses & physicians find it hard to accept something new. They’ve had years of misinformation dispensed about fibro. It will take the new generation of docs, nurses, researchers & pharmacists to not only accept fibro for what is is, but to find the treatment that really helps. Notice that I didn’t say-to find what causes fibro- because although it really helps to know what causes a condition, there are many medical conditions that have been successfully treated without the etiology being identified. Your blog is wonderful, because you give a voice to all those who can’t speak up for themselves. I don’t personally believe that “everything happens for a reason”- I believe that we’re dealt our cards and then we make our decisions about what we do with what we’re handed. But, I’ve been wrong about a lot of things over the years- so maybe the reason you were dealt such a horrible hand -is so you can help all the others who suffer with fibro by being their voice.


  4. Bestie :)
    May 29, 2013 @ 21:26:07

    i agree with your mom’s last few lines….this blog has already reached other countries! keep going my dear 🙂


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