Invisible Illness: A call for empathy!

Before my battle with Fibromyalgia started, I would not have believed it was a real condition. From what it looks like to people on the outside: its easy to see how people could think it’s something that’s more likely to be an exaggeration of minor pain.

I can also understand the doctors side of this who saw it before we had the research we do today.
They’re taught to run tests, analyze the results and diagnose from there. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of believing that if you don’t see something: there’s nothing to see. That’s just not true.

We don’t know everything about medicine and we don’t know everything about the body. Some doctors seem to forget this along the way and perhaps forget how to be understanding and see that these patients aren’t complaining for no reason.

It’s not for attention; this isn’t Münchausen’s Syndrome (which, by the way, isn’t all that common).
These are sick people who are confused and frustrated with no one understanding them. I’ve talked to fellow FM patients who have been told the likes of “it’s all in your head”, “just ignore it” and ”Stop being a baby.”
You may think that doctors and caregivers have a good reason for saying things like this – they don’t. Some just don’t WANT to believe that the patient is sick. I’ve been through it myself.

Some go so far into their denial that every sickness the patient has is automatically nothing. One doc was remiss in drawing a WBC for me because he believed I wasn’t sick at all once I told him I have FM. He blamed my trouble breathing on asthma and really didn’t do anything. One week later I was in the ER unable to breathe with severe asthmatic bronchitis with a high WBC. I had no more asthma meds at home. They had me on a nebulizer for an hour (about 4 treatments). After finally getting the right treatment I was stunned with the thought that if he’d just listened – that ER trip would have never happened.

They don’t see or feel the pain that it’s giving the patient and can’t understand the anxiety, depression and myriad of other symptoms that come along with it.
As a person living in a body that constantly fights her, I can see it. I can feel it and I can empathize with it. What people don’t understand is that this is a very real and debilitating condition and those people with it have to live inside it every day…and it sucks.

It hurts, it’s stressful and uncomfortable and frustrating when you can’t do what you’d like to do because of it.
As I sit writing this, I’m laying on a heating pad with pain in my back, left arm, neck and a very slight migraine. It’s not comfortable to be blogging right now – and that’s not exactly something that takes a lot of effort to do. I’m not being a baby – I’m sitting here typing. I’m being productive, but what if my pain was worse? What if today wan’t a “good day?”

Living with fibromyalgia is hard . It’s even harder when the people around you can’t understand why you can’t do certain things. It’s even worse when you have no support system.

Fibromyalgia is real and it affects as many as 5 million Americans today. Before you think you know everything or that you “know better” than these patients – take a look around.
Do you know any of these people?

How about the many who go undiagnosed?

Better yet, take a look inside. If your body hurt and no one believed you, how would you feel?

If anyone would like more information on Fibromyalgia, click here.


3 thoughts on “Invisible Illness: A call for empathy!

  1. mmmmmmm……felt a lot about ours, the med. professionals’ lack of communicating & empathizing with the patients effectivelu, ultimately being source of extra stress for the patients.
    That is very important problem in the healthcare system that needs to be addressed.

    • Oh, I agree completely. Countless articles are written about the doctor/patient relationship but I think much of what is faso doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of this, sometimes delicate but SO VERY VITAL relationship.

  2. I completely agree with this. I actually have a connective tissue disease that doctors thought was fibromyalgia for a long time. People at work would often think that I was being a hypochondriac or “faking it” to get sympathy. Very frustrating.

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