If you know someone who suffers with fibromyalgia, show your support. Learn how in our blog.
More often than not, our blogs are written to provide key information and advice for sufferers of chronic pain, particularly for those who suffer from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and of course, fibromyalgia (FM). As specialist fibromyalgia solicitors, we offer guidance to sufferers and work closely with them on their journey as they earn the compensation they are owed. Due to this, we often become a vital part of their lives and understand all too well how the condition affects them as people, as well as their loved ones, on a daily basis. As well as the physical and mental side effects, fibromyalgia has the power to directly impact the relationships that patients have with their family and friends. Being diagnosed with the condition can make people feel isolated, however, the right support can help to prevent this. In this blog, we provide a list of tips for you to take note of in order to show your support to the best of your ability.
Tip 1 – Educate yourself
Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is a condition that is poorly understood by many. Although awareness is increasing, many people will feel stumped when asked if they know what fibromyalgia is. If you are someone who knows very little, take this as an opportunity to learn. You cannot show your support without having some understanding of the constant pain, discomfort and irritability your loved one goes through on a daily basis. From firsthand experience, we know that one of the most irritating things for sufferers is that they feel alone, as nobody understands what they go through on a daily basis, unless they too suffer from fibromyalgia themselves. It is true that you will never feel the pain they feel, however, being able to relate is incredibly important, particularly if the person you want to support is your spouse. Too many fibromyalgia sufferers experience disbelief from other people, so being there to show understanding and empathy in their time of need is crucial.
Tip 2 – Be a good listener
There will be good days and bad days. On those bad days, the fibromyalgia sufferer in your life will likely want to sit down and talk to you one to one. The best thing you can do is listen. You cannot provide an answer to end all of their problems but you can show understanding. Sometimes they will want to talk to you about the pain. Other times, they may want to talk about something else to take their mind off it. Rather than influencing them to talk about something in particular, let them make the decision and lead the conversation. If they do decide to talk about their condition and the fact they are having a bad day, try not to entertain this, as this has been shown to increase both pain and disability. Instead, maintain a balanced, neutral perspective and remind them of what they can do as opposed to what they cannot do.
Tip 3 – Remember to look after yourself
Fibromyalgia can also have an impact on your health, even if you have not been diagnosed with it. Past research has shown that spouses of fibromyalgia sufferers have an increased risk of a weakened immune system, deterioration in physical health, discouragement, worry and loneliness. All these issues can be avoided through necessary self care. Don’t forget to look after yourself by leading a healthy lifestyle. Remember to exercise regularly, maintain a nutritionally sound diet and continue to enjoy activities with close family and friends. After all, without good health, you will not be able to provide the level of support that your loved one needs.
Tip 4 – Don’t feel sorry
If you care about someone who has fibromyalgia, don’t ever feel sorry for yourself or them. If you do, you run the risk of making either yourself or them feel guilty or sad about their illness. Instead of dwelling on the bad things, treasure the things you both have and live your lives to the best of your ability. By doing this, you will feel much better in the long run and your relationship as a whole will be more likely to improve.
Tip 5 – Always be there to help
Those with fibromyalgia find it extremely difficult to complete everyday tasks. What may seem like a simple gardening job is a mammoth task for a fibro warrior. This is where you will need to step in to help. As opposed to making the fibromyalgia sufferer in your life feel like a burden, make sure they know that you are more than happy to help and always offer. Although some fibromyalgia patients will be too proud to say yes to your offer, it is the offer that counts. Your willingness to help will mean the most and they will always know they can rely on you if they are struggling in the future.
Tip 6 – Share news on a regular basis
If you see something related to fibromyalgia, whether it be the results of a new study, an interview featuring a fellow sufferer, a newly-released book or a support group on social media, then share it with the sufferer in your life. After all, it may prove to be helpful for them. As well as this, it also shows that you are doing all that you can to make them feel as though they are not alone and that there are other people out there who are going through the same thing – something which is easily forgotten by many sufferers.
These are our top tips for supporting someone with fibromyalgia. So, if you know someone who has recently been diagnosed, whether it be your auntie, grandfather, mother, cousin or close friend, take note of these tips and put them into action. Show support for the person in your life and never forget that life with fibromyalgia is extremely hard, for them and yourself. Also, if they have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia as a result of an accident or injury that was not their fault, then urge them to get in touch with us, so we can discuss their claim in further detail. To do so, fill in our online contact form or call 0161 737 9248.