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Adrienne Dellwo

Explaining Fibromyalgia to Your Friends & Family

By June 26, 2008

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Do you dread the question, "What is fibromyalgia"? Or do you know people who refuse to believe in it, mainly because it doesn't seem to make sense?

It's always difficult to explain fibromyalgia without getting overly complicated. Those of us who've had it for awhile can typically talk ad nauseum about neurotransmitters, the stages of sleep, and the difference between SSRIs and SNRIs. It's easy to forget how specialized this knowledge is - at least, until you see a healthy person's eyes glaze over two minutes into a conversation. And to get through most written explanations of fibromyalgia, you have to wade through medical jargon that can make your head spin.

All too often, the people listening to us (or reading an emailed article) are skeptical, resistant, or just not willing to put in the time to understand such a complicated and confusing disorder. In an effort to help all of us educate people, and to help those people really "get it," I've come up with this article:

What's Going On? A Simple Explanation of Fibromyalgia.

I hope you can use this article to get people to understand why your symptoms are so bizarre, why they come and go, and the impact they have on you. If you're struggling to understand it yourself, this is a good place to start.

Have you found a good way to explain fibromyalgia? Share it here or in About.com's Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome forum.

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June 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm
(1) VaBreeze says:

This is wonderful. I’ve already sent it to my loved ones to help them understand.

Another way, I believe you already have this on your site, is the “Spoon Theory”.

Thanks so much for posting this. It’s so hard to give our friends, coworkers and loved ones a vision of what our days are like.

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