Nothing Easy About It
There is nothing easy about Fibromyalgia. It is a complex condition that affects the entire body. A person with Fibromyalgia may be able to clean the house, go shopping and do yard work on Monday but on Thursday, they may not even be able to get out of bed. This is one of the reasons why doctors and family members in some instances find it hard to believe the individual is truly ill. The symptoms of Fibromyalgia are subjective, and therefore, it is often thought to be a psychological issue rather than a physical issue despite broad scientific evidence to the contrary.
Difficulties Dealing With Fibromyalgia
Difficulties dealing with Fibromyalgia start with the patient. An individual may suffer from a host of symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, dizziness, muscle weakness, generalized pain and insomnia. The problem is these symptoms can be indicators of dozens of other conditions. Fibromyalgia is often the last thing considered. This confusion can be so great it has led some to refer to Fibromyalgia as The Great Pretender.
Someone with Fibromyalgia could go for years trying to find a cure for their symptoms without being aware of their true underlying diagnosis. When they don’t get better with treatment, they often experience anxiety and depression over their deteriorating health. These mental symptoms can then feed the physical symptoms which in turn drive further deterioration in the mental symptoms - a destructive negative feedback loop that can be very difficult to break.
Even when the individual receives the correct diagnosis, understanding Fibromyalgia is difficult. This is a complex syndrome that cannot be detected by a single diagnostic test. Fibromyalgia does not show up in blood work or on an x-ray. There are no known definitive causes and symptoms manifest differently from patient to patient. Effective treatment efforts vary as much as symptoms leaving the patient with no clear path forward toward improvement.
Fibromyalgia Challenges the Whole Family
Understanding and living with Fibromyalgia challenges the whole family. The Fibromyalgia patient may learn to live with their condition. They will learn to deal with those times when they can’t do the things they normally would. But often, understanding Fibromyalgia is very difficult for family and friends. Family and friends may come to doubt the Fibromyalgia patient is really sick. After all, people who suffer from Fibromyalgia often appear perfectly healthy and may have many days where they feel and act relatively normal. This often leads others to conclude that nothing is really wrong, and cause deep misunderstandings when a patient is stuck with a severe Fibromyalgia attack. This can create tension in the home which will lead to stress. For people with Fibromyalgia, stress can produce more symptoms.
Fibromyalgia conditions can lead to financial problems within the family. An individual who is sick all the time may incur a lot of medical bills. If the Fibromyalgia patient is unable to work it can put a financial burden on the family. Financial issues lead to stress. It becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to stop without the proper treatment modalities in place.
How the Medical Community Fails the Fibromyalgia Patient
For years many in the medical community have failed the Fibromyalgia patient. Sometimes doctors may tend to go for the easiest and most obvious diagnosis instead of looking further into symptoms, causes and difficult diagnostic possibilities. Some doctors may have a preconceived notion that women exaggerate symptoms or that symptoms may be psychologically rooted.
Other difficulties dealing with Fibromyalgia come from doctors who want to throw a pill at the symptoms instead of treating the cause. This approach is often welcomed given a common societal belief in “The Magic Pill”. If an individual pays a visit to the doctor with complaints of chronic pain, it is very common for the doctor to just write a prescription for a strong pain pill. There are many Fibromyalgia conditions that are being treated with addicting pain killers instead of an effective comprehensive treatment plan.
The Best Way to Overcome the Challenges of Living With Fibromyalgia
If you have Fibromyalgia, you must take control of your condition. You can do this by educating yourself and your family on this syndrome. Become an expert on the Fibromyalgia challenges that you will face every day. Keep track of your symptoms and what makes them worse or better. This is essential for developing your individual treatment plan. What will work to improve your life can only be determined through persistent effort – effort lead by you.
If your doctor does not seem to be taking your condition seriously, it is time to switch doctors. Find a doctor who understands Fibromyalgia. He or she should be willing to work with you on developing a customized treatment plan. Fibromyalgia does not have a cookie cutter treatment approach.
Finally, get involved in a Fibromyalgia support group. A support group will be essential to help you with the difficulties of dealing with Fibromyalgia. You will learn more about your Fibromyalgia conditions and discover new treatment methods that can be beneficial. Being able to share your experiences and difficulties with others who understand first hand the nature of what you are fighting can be critical to overcoming the mental difficulties Fibromyalgia poses.