THE OFFICIAL MOST ANNOYING FIBROMYALGIA SYMPTOM EVER!
Can I just start by saying, I love you guys? When it comes to the fibromyalgia community, you’re the best!
I’d written a little post for today on what symptoms bother us the most – BESIDES pain and fatigue. I had my own opinions on the subject, but I thought I’d take a quick check on the pulse of society. I went right to the horse’s mouth (so to speak) – to Facebook. I asked y’all this quick question yesterday morning:
“Let’s make it interesting this week. If you could remove any ONE symptom (besides pain/fatigue) what would it be?”
I thought I’d get a nice show of hands. I wasn’t wrong. Over 50 of you chimed in with an answer (and some, more than one). It was interesting to see how the answers changed organically throughout the day. I did get the main result I expected. Then later I got some answers I didn’t expect. Even later, I got a whole bunch of answers I never saw coming.
This is a great representation of the individuality of the fibromyalgia and chronic illness community.
When asked about our annoying symptoms, we sing in unison. When asked to get specific about WHAT annoys us – we sing in 23 part harmony. But, at least we’re still making music together.
The following are the official results from this very “authentic” survey. (I’m sorry the chart is so small – technical difficulties here won’t let me make it bigger.) There’s much more to say on the subject (which is for future posts), but for now, here are the details on this very exciting survey — much like a thundering horse race.
I monitored the results throughout the day, yesterday, and here’s the minute by minute commentary on how they played out.
Right out of the gate, Fibrofog runs ahead at breakneck speed. Sleep Issues comes up behind early on and soon enough the two are neck and neck on the back stretch. Fear/Anxiety gets a slow start and tries to catch up to Sleep Issues who’s starting to lag behind the leader. Unpredictability meets up with Fear/Anxiety as Fibrofog sprints ahead leaving the rest in the dust.
Gut/IBS joins the field behind Unpredictability. And, there’s a true dark horse, Other People, trotting onto the track and bringing up the rear. But wait … it’s not over!
Fibrofog has easily clinched first place with Sleep Issues placing a clear but distant second. Fear/Anxiety and Unpredictability tie for fourth place, followed by Gut/IBS in fifth, and then the dark horse, Other People in 6th.
Tagging along at the end is the most amazing sight. It’s an ELEVEN way tie for 7th place with Muscle Pain, Fragrance Sensitivity, Itching, Headaches, Morning Nausea, Dizziness, Light Sensitivity, Tinnitus, Body Temperature, Rude People, and Restless Leg Syndrome all crossing the finish line shoulder to shoulder.
But in this race full of surprises, even that amazing and unprecedented tie wasn’t the greatest achievement. No, that distinction goes to the colossal feat of the THIRD place winner going to Pain/Fatigue – a horse that wasn’t even entered in the race!
To me, the surprising results of this survey actually beg a bigger (and not-so-surprising) question:
Why is the collective fibromyalgia and chronic illness community STILL treated as if we’re all the same?
Anyone can see we’re different. Our symptoms are not only different, we experience even the same symptoms in different ways and in different intensities. I expected to see fibrofog as a #1 response. I also expected sleep to be a close second. I wasn’t so accurate there. I didn’t realize that fibrofog would be such a far and away leader. Of course, I expected a few singular responses (symptoms that only some placed first in their list), but I had no idea there would be so many.
But what really blew my mind away? Those who aren’t even as annoyed with their own symptoms as they are with those around them! That shouts volumes (and will definitely provide fodder for future posts).
And, of course, then there are those who responded with the very two symptoms that were not included in this survey. We can laugh, but we’re definitely laughing at ourselves. Maybe some replied with pain or fatigue intentionally. Maybe some didn’t see/read/interpret the question very clearly. Either way, I could have easily foisted those responses into the fibrofog category, but I felt they deserved their own attention.
I know I can relate to fibrofog (even though it’s now a rare occurrence). I’m grateful for that experience and it has served me well. In fact, I speak fibrofog fluently. I continue to work on this finely tuned skill which allows me to serve as a much-needed translator in tragic public scenarios such as this:
WAITER: Welcome to Frank’s Fish House. We had a packed house earlier, so I’m afraid we’re out of today’s specials, both the salmon and the trout.
FIBROFOG CUSTOMER: Oh, that’s all right — I don’t like tuna. I’ll just have the trout.
MUCH-NEEDED TRANSLATION: The waiter said– salmon and trout. The fibrofog customer “heard and processed” — salmon and tuna. She doesn’t like tuna. She’s not so fond of salmon either. So, the winning choice? Trout it is.
Stay tuned for more posts on the results of this informative survey. And, in the meantime, I have a question for you:
Do you speak fluent fibrofog?