Imagine having a disease that was so painful it made it difficult to handle even basic tasks of everyday life. Now imagine that in spite of all your obvious pain and difficulty, no one believes you actually have it. Well, for people with fibromyalgia they don’t have to imagine that because it’s the life they live every day. They endure constant pain, fatigue, and worst of all, a lack of understanding. So let’s settle once-and-for-all the question, “is fibromyalgia real?”
Is Fibromyalgia Real?
No question is more infuriating to someone with fibromyalgia than, “is fibromyalgia real?” That’s because the question implies that they are imagining the symptoms that are so disabling. It implies that the constant pain and fatigue and the inability to even get up out of bed some days are really just something that they are faking. It’s saying that they could get over their disease if they would just recognize that it didn’t actually exist.
And to someone with fibromyalgia, that sounds completely ridiculous. Of course, they aren’t faking it. Who would imagine a disease that alienates you from your friends and family and causes endless pain and misery? How could something that is so difficult to manage and comes with such a huge reduction in their quality of life possibly be something that they are imagining?
Well, let’s look at the evidence.
First, every serious study that has been done on the subject has concluded that fibromyalgia is a real disease. Second, there is evidence that people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia have brains that respond to pain in a different way than people without the disease.
They are more active and sensitive to stimulation, implying that there is a physical difference in these peoples’ brains that explains why they feel fibromyalgia pain.
So is fibromyalgia real? Well, the vast majority of doctors and medical science says it is.
Why Do People Think Fibromyalgia Isn’t Real
So why do people seem to think that fibromyalgia isn’t real? The majority of it is our attitude towards medicine. People think that these days we have pretty much learned everything there is to know about medicine. There are few diseases left that we don’t truly understand.
That’s why fibromyalgia is hard for people to believe in. It’s a disease with no known cause. And there isn’t a clear way that the symptoms present themselves. We don’t understand how the pain works in the disease. And for people who think that everything in medicine should have an obvious cause and effect, that makes it hard to think fibromyalgia is real.
And finally, there’s just the issue of fibromyalgia not being visible. Whereas with other diseases you can see the effects on the outside, someone with fibromyalgia doesn’t look sick. And that means that no matter how much pain you are in, it is hard for people to believe it. Seeing is believing, as the saying goes.
What Should You Say To People Asking About Your Disease
But while it makes sense that some people have a hard time understanding fibromyalgia, it doesn’t change the facts. It’s tough to deal with people who don’t believe you have a disease. The constant doubt feels alot like they aren’t supporting you with your painful disease.
And the worst part about those doubts is that when someone asks “is fibromyalgia real,” they’re implying that you, the person who suffers from it, are actually to blame for your own misery. They’re saying that if you would just stop being crazy, you wouldn’t suffer from fibromyalgia.
It’s an absurd thing to say, and intensely hurtful to people who suffer from such a terrible disease. And it’s part of what makes it so terrible because someone who suffers from it not only has the physical pain but is also victimized by the lack of understanding they get from other people.
So when you are speaking to people who don’t believe that fibromyalgia is real, it’s probably best to just be honest about those questions.
First, you can point out how scientific studies have shown time and again that fibromyalgia is a real disease. And you can even explain how fibromyalgia works and what the symptoms it produces are. Finally, you can point out how difficult it is when people don’t believe that your disease is real.
There’s a good chance that if you calmly explain the situation and how it affects you, they will be a lot more understanding. And that’s not to mention it’s a great chance to help spread some awareness of a condition that is tragically misunderstood.