How An Invisible Illness Can Isolate You
Invisible illnesses can be very isolating. Fibromyalgia and isolation go hand in hand and you’re going to have a serious impact on your social activities if you’re diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
When people look at you they don’t see an illness, they simply see a person. Over the course of time, many doctors, friends and even close family members begin to doubt your symptoms. It can be challenging at best to explain that you’re always fatigued and can’t make plans ahead of time.
You almost begin to doubt yourself except that you have the symptoms and feel exhausted and tired all of the time. Then there is the pain. Those dull aches that sometimes edge forward into full on pain. You can only take so much pain medication to alleviate the pain.
The trick of course is finding ways to enjoy social activities that won’t stress you out and exacerbate your condition. Pre planning can be entirely out of the question since you never really know how you’re going to feel from one day to the next.
To combat the isolation and depression you’ll have to work even harder to find social connections. There are a variety of ways to do this without having to over tax your body. Here are a few ways to help you maintain some social connections when you’re suffering from fibromyalgia and isolation.
There are a variety of support groups available both online and off line. Join a support group that you feel comfortable with. The group doesn’t have to be strictly for fibromyalgia, it could be for invisible illnesses, pain, moms, a church group or anything else that you feel strengthened by.
Many fibromyalgia patients choose an online support group as it’s easier to get to when you’re feeling up to it. You don’t have to worry about travel to and from meetings and you can simply check in when you’re feeling up to it. This is a great way to expand your friendships and find like-minded people who aren’t judging your condition.
Manage Other Medical Issues
Often fibromyalgia is the result of a trauma (physical or emotional such as abuse) and it can lead to a myriad of other conditions. Make sure that these other conditions are being treated as well. This can help you to deal with the fibromyalgia. If you’ve suffered an injury ensure that you’re receiving proper medical care for said injury.
If you’ve suffered from emotional abuse via an ex-spouse or someone else, get some counseling (again, this can be online if you’re not up to going to a counselors office elsewhere) and give yourself permission to grieve the situation and move forward. You don’t have to suffer from abuse from anyone and you’re worth more than that.
If your doctor has prescribed medications for your other medical issues be sure to take them according to your doctor’s directions. Avoid abusing said medications and if you think that the medications aren’t working be sure to discuss this with your doctor and your counselor if you have one. There are often other medications that a doctor can prescribe for you so don’t hesitate to speak up. Your doctor can’t help you if you don’t tell them how you’re feeling.
Avoid Those Who Don’t Believe You
When you have an invisible illness such as fibromyalgia many people don’t believe you. Let them go. You don’t need those who don’t believe you in your life. If you find medical professionals who don’t believe you look for another medical professional. You are the best judge of how you’re feeling and if you’re not feeling right you are going to be the first one to notice it. Life is too short to spend it with people that doubt your integrity.
Find New Hobbies
Sometimes you have to come up with new hobbies because you’re too tired or in too much pain for the former hobbies. Join a group discussion online on your favorite movie or book. Study trivia and commit it to memory. Focus on new ways to entertain yourself that don’t require physical activity. Use brain power instead of physical activity.
Consider crossword puzzles, word searches, word games with friends, reading, watching movies and so on for new hobbies. If you’re up to it find hobbies that you can pick up and put down such as knitting, crocheting, light gardening etc. Your hobbies should be something that interests you and keeps you mind occupied.
Get Plenty Of Rest
It is amazing what plenty of rest can do for any condition. As a fibromyalgia patient you may require more rest than others do, that’s okay. Everyone’s body is different. If you need nine hours of rest daily in lieu of the average six to eight hours, so be it.
It’s also important to note that rest doesn’t necessarily mean sleep. While you may only get a few hours of sleep due to your pain and your condition, you may find that simply taking it easy several times a day will go far in helping you to deal with your condition.
Write Your Own Story
As a fibromyalgia patient it’s easy to believe that you’ll always feel this way. Don’t give in to that mentality. Instead, focus on the positives and give yourself plenty of positive affirmations to get through the days, weeks and months ahead.
If you believe you’ll feel this way forever, you probably will. Always try to stay positive and don’t let those brief moments of pain and mental fatigue get you down. Call a friend if you need to and get some reassurance. Read a funny book or go to your support group. Remember, you are the author of your own destiny.
Dealing with Fibromyalgia and isolation doesn’t mean the end of the world. You have many options to improve your social connections if you just seek them out in a positive way. Knowing that you’re not alone will go far in helping you to feel connected and remain connected with friends and family.