Don’t Look at Me Strange When I Say I have Fibromyalgia

Black Woman, Adobe Illustrator, 2020, Designed by Mellyssa A. Diggs

Before 2015, I though the tightness and dull pain was normal. Normal for the majority of my existence. I never would have thought it was a form of Fibromyalgia. What is Fibromyalgia anyway? It is a unique illness of widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. This explains for of what I was feeling than my anxiety and depression and combined.
It is difficult for doctors to figure out because there is no cure. Does your back hurt to to an underlying issue? Does your joints ache because of a “real” issue? Or is all of it Fibromyalgia. Symptoms get dismissed and untreated most of time. For many, we are healthy but with fibromyalgia patients experience many of the same symptoms as other illnesses. Our sensory nervous system go haywire with debilitating fatigue and dull pain constantly. Some do no believe it’s possible. The bright lights, loud noises and large crowds are irritating. In my experience, I can last 4-6 hours before my nervous system acts up and this is without something trigger it.
As a whole, patients with fibromyalgia deal with the social stigma and even the eye rolls. It is an invisible autoimmune disease that makes us susceptible to other autoimmune diseases. We deserve the same level of empathy, kindness and respect you give to others.

Empath in Today’s World

It is really hard to be an empath in today’s world. I’ve been the individual that feels way too much especially for others. There have been a lot of things that have been said to me all my life.

“You take things too personally”

“Why are you so sensitive?”

As someone who is an empathetic woman, who lives with anxiety and depression, who lives with Fibromyalgia is really hard especially being younger than most and looking even younger than most. It is hard not to take in everything that is going on in the world.

What is an “empath”? What is empathy? By definition, it’s the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. I am bombarded with so much that is going on that sometimes I have nothing to say. Even with everything that is going on, I tried to practice self care and eliminating all the negative that is around me. However, at the same time I have to survive. I’m fighting day in and day out not just for my sanity but my survival.

I want people to understand that I am trying to relax my centra nervous system. It is imperative especially since we are in the middle of this pandemic. My fear is what suppresses my immune system because I’m constantly living in fear. For some, it is hard for them to understand why I need rest often and it is necessary to maintain my boundaries in all areas.

Loneliness As An Unwanted Guest

I never had a problem with being by myself. That is what an introvert like myself has always done. However, the feeling of loneliness waltzed in and out of my mind and even sometimes worsened my depression. The people I am surrounded by do not fully comprehended my overall complex. My depression does not cause me to isolate, my loneliness does because I begin to believe that no one cares or understands me.

Often depression and loneliness goes hand and hand. It is a vicious cycle that can spiral. My mind is in overdrive because I’m constantly overthinking. It cause me to to want to bother or even inconvenience anyone with how I’m feeling or any related problems. I have always minimize my depression and pretend everything is alright and never want to appear weak or helpless. I pull away and always feel as though I need to handle everything on my own. Speaking of it is just as socially awkward and somewhat triggers my anxiety. At this point, everything feels utterly hopeless. Even though isolation is a choice of mine it makes me feel alone at times.

My mind convinces me that I am inherently broken for some reason but betrayed by others in a society that promotes depressed people as “toxic”. That’s the reality and that is I have depression, which convinces me I am alone and a burden to others. It’s a catch-22. I carry everything on my shoulders and push myself so hard to be “normal” and to remind myself there are people out there. I tried more to listen to my heart but my mind truly takes over and loneliness sneaks in. Loneliness, they say, is a detriment to one’s health and well-being. Loneliness increases mortality. Loneliness is for all intents and purposes a silent killer mimicked as depression.