Mason asked a fair while ago if Will, Tamara and I could write a post each about our conditions, but naturally I had completely forgotten about it until Will wrote his own. Luckily I can use my condition as an excuse here, as memory issues (also known as “fibro fog”) are a big symptom. This leads me nicely on to explaining what on earth is wrong with me – specifically, Fibromyalgia.
For those of you who are unsure of what Fibro is, it’s described as a “long term illness” or “condition”. The biggest symptoms are widespread pain (sometimes chronic), fatigue, and muscle stiffness. It also causes memory loss (as mentioned previously), difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and headaches. Unfortunately, not much is known about Fibro. There has been little research done into it, and they have struggled to find a common cause. It has been suggested that it’s linked to abnormal levels of particular chemicals in the brain and the way that the central nervous system processes pain messages that are carried around the body. The main triggers appear to be mental trauma (e.g. losing a loved one or having an operation), childbirth, and inherited genes. Mine is likely to be a combination of the former and the latter, as my mother also suffers with it.
I was only diagnosed in January this year, after seeing several specialists, having a very minor op for a dislocated jaw and being misdiagnosed a couple of times. They informed me that my record showed symptoms from as far back as Year 7, when I was struggling with back pain, and then from Year 9 onwards, in the forms of recurring costochondritis, headaches, and fatigue. By far my biggest issue, as a lot of Fibromyalgia sufferers find, is the lack of support I receive. Not only is it an invisible illness, but there is rarely any awareness raised for it. I get a lot of “you shouldn’t complain so much”, “it’s all in your head”, and “you’re awfully young to have a condition like that”.
I sometimes feel almost claustrophobic about it all. I rarely talk about it to anyone anymore unless they explicitly ask because I’ve been made to feel like it’s a hassle listening to me. Luckily, I currently work in a pharmacy – so my boss has the pleasure of being the person I confide in. I can only hope that anyone reading this will know to make sure their loved ones are okay and supported, whether they are affected by a condition or not.
Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.