June 10


How to Explain Fibromyalgia to Others

By Sue Ingebretson

June 10, 2014

explain, explaining, explanation, fibromyalgia, invisible illness, letter, sharing, Stress, support, tool

Have you ever felt that explaining your health challenge – whether fibromyalgia, arthritis, lupus, ME/CFS, etc. – simply takes too much energy? It can really be a pain. There are times when I feel like explaining my health issues to others. Then there are the times when I don’t. Can you relate?

Today’s post is about an easy, no-pain way to explain your “invisible illness.” This refers to any type of chronic health challenge that ebbs and flows in flares. The intensity of symptoms experienced depends on any number of factors including the weather, personal stress levels, fatigue levels, and even upon what was consumed for lunch. So, how can you explain that?

Actually, I took the liberty of doing it for you. I recently wrote a post for ProHealth.com that does exactly what we’re talking about. It explains – in a succinct way – what causes chronic health challenges (also known as syndromes) and what’s important for others to know about the life we lead. It also shares what we’d like from them and how they can best support us.

To make it super-duper easy, the sweet peeps at ProHealth.com made this particular post downloadable as a neat and tidy PDF for simple sharing. Nifty, eh?

It’s my hope that you share this informative letter with others and spread the good news of encouraging healing education! (Don’t let the title fool you, it’s NOT just about fibromyalgia.)

A Letter for People Who Ask You About Fibromyalgia 

Now, when someone asks you why you didn’t attend a recent graduation, why you flinch when they shake your hand, or even why you’re picky about what you eat, you can just say, “Read this!”

The exciting news continues ….

There’s already a lot of great buzz about using this letter as a helpful tool. While it’s intended to share our chronic illness experience with others, it’s helpful for everyone! Here’s a great comment I read yesterday on LinkedIn:

Thank you so much for sharing!

This made more sense to me in the few minutes it took me to read it than what

20 years of doctors’ ‘explanations’ and diagnoses have.” – Tammy H.

I’ve got three questions for you:

Is it important to you that OTHERS understand what it’s like to live with a chronic health challenge?

Is it important that YOU understand it enough to be able to explain it?

Are you ready to learn more about chronic health?

Just follow TWO steps:

1 – Click on the link above to read the letter and download the PDF for your own use.*

2 – Come back to this blog to help support this community. Comment below on how YOU plan to use this tool to share this vital information!

I’ll see you below!

*(This letter is free to share for personal use. Any commercial use requires the author’s signed permission and attribution.)

  1. My mother has fibromyalgia and RA. I have Hashimoto’s and maybe fibro. I can relate to this a great deal. I could never understand why mom hates a blood pressure cuff but now I do get it!

  2. My Dad and I have Fibromyalgia. The letter will be sent to my family in the hope of understanding what we are going through. At times it is very hard to explain to other people what my body & mind are going through. Thankfully this letter will explain what I cannot. I will also share the letter with the many Fibro Friends I communicate with. So pleased the world is getting to know more about Fibromyalgia. It’s not all in our head after all 😀

    1. Alison — Thanks for letting us know how you feel! This community exists to share, support, encourage, and educate. By sharing this post, you’re spreading the word that there’s a reason for how we feel (lots of them, actually) and that you look forward to gaining support in ways that work for YOU!

  3. I just started seeing someone and they asked me about fibromyalgia. It is hard to put into words so they can understand and not be scared. This letter is perfect. Thank you so much!

    1. Nancy — congrats on the new relationship, and congrats on being proactive enough to want to share your experience! Can’t wait to hear how it all goes for you 😉

  4. Let’s face it. It’s hurtful to hear someone say it’s a made up disease or that we’re “just trying to get attention.”
    I think that these types of people don’t care enough to go on the web and do any research. But for those who care and support us, but don’t always understand , this letter has all the information they need to realize what we are experiencing and how to “friend”us. 🙂

    1. You’re so right, Anne, about how hurtful the comments from others can be. Hopefully, we can use this letter as a tool to educate others all while affirming the rest of us 😉

  5. Thank you so much! Most days I am tempted to just throw my hands up in the air and declare I am a hypochondriac and see if that satisfies people.

    Sharing this on my Facebook page.

    1. Kim – I get the frustration! It’s important to note for this community, that the intent is to feel that “you’ve” been heard — not to please others by saying what they want to hear. I’m glad you get that!

Comments are closed.

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"True Healing requires a combination of healthy nutrition, healthy body movements, and emotional wellness. This is what I call the Restoration Trio" ~ Sue Ingebretson