For a person who suffers from Fibromyalgia, every day is filled with chronic symptoms like headaches, pain, aches, and fatigue.
Living with a chronic illness is hard to do by yourself, but the support and help from loved ones, family, and friends can help make the illness more manageable. These people can be called “stress-relievers”.
One thing that doesn’t help is being around people who don’t understand your illness and who can be, dare we say it, rather annoying.
We can classify these people as “stress-givers”. These are the type of people who show no sympathy or regard for a person who suffers from fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). They either do not understand or they choose not to understand what you are going through.
Many people like this are just ignorant of what living with FMS is truly like. They think that you can simply choose when you experience your symptoms, or if you try “really hard” you won’t experience the symptoms anymore.
Obviously, this person doesn’t know anything about FMS or only pretends to understand everything it entails. They may not know what the illness is all about, but what causes them to act so unkindly and indifferent to what you’re going through?
Why Are They Like This?
This might be because the person is just uneducated about what FMS really is. They may have never heard of the disease before, never were taught what it is, or may have never met someone who was suffering from it before.
This person may know what FMS is, but they could just be a cold-hearted or unsympathetic person. People who have never suffered from a chronic illness or who have never met a person who has, have a harder time trying to understand what you could be going through.
Sometimes people just need more education on what you’re going through, but there are times a person just won’t no matter how many times they are explained what a person with FMS deals with.
You’ve Probably Been Asked This Before
If you’ve had FMS for a while, or if you have a lot of “stress-givers” in your life, you’ve probably been asked or told a lot of unhelpful or hurtful questions or statements by these people.
Questions and statements such as:
- You don’t look like you’re sick!
- Are you sure this isn’t just all in your head?
- You’ve been lying in bed all day, you’ll feel better if you get up and do something.
- You complain all the time, why don’t you try and fix it?
- Why can’t you just lift it yourself?
- You just seem tired all of the time, are you sure you’re getting enough sleep?
- You’re just being lazy.
- Are you sure that you’re even sick?
- That’s just a mental illness, right?
Hearing this judgmental questions and statements can add unneeded stress to a person who lives with FMS. Symptoms of FMS can be caused by feeling stress, so it’s better to try and limit the time spent with people who stress you out.
How Should You Deal with “Stress-Givers”?
Sometimes it might be best to cut someone who is causing you more grief than good, out of your life. If they’re your coworker, limit the amount of time you speak with them if possible. Keep the conversations you have with them strictly about work.
If you’re having issues by having to work next to them or closely with them and the stress is becoming too much for you, speak with your supervisor or HR about wanting to move work areas and see if anything can be arranged.
If the person is a friend, you should speak with them about how their comments/questions/statements are affecting you.
You should have this conversation with them personally, so they understand how much stress this is causing you and realize that it’s affecting both the friendship and your health.
If they aren’t quite understanding what you’re dealing with, a break in the friendship might be the best for your health. If they still aren’t understanding after this, you might be better off without them.
Dealing with a family member who doesn’t understand is a little more difficult. You can’t cut them out of your life as easily as a co-worker or friend.
Just like a friend, you should sit down one-on-one with your family member, and explain to them how them not understanding what you are going through is hurting you and your relationship with them.
If a one-on-one conversation doesn’t help, maybe bring in another family member or loved one who can help explain the situation to them.
In all of these situations, communication is key in explaining how this person is stressing you out and worsening your FMS symptoms. There is one key factor that is the main root of the problem of the misunderstanding.
The Root of the Problem
When it boils down to what is causing the “stress-givers” to be indifferent, cold or harsh about your chronic illness is education. They are simply not educated enough about FMS, it’s symptoms and how it affects a person on a daily basis.
One of the best ways we can fight this problem is by educating people on what a chronic illness like FMS entails for someone who suffers from it.
They should understand the chronic pain, headaches, aches, and fatigue that plague a person almost every day.
They should be taught that there isn’t a cure, but only medications or methods that can help make living with the illness okay.
With the correct education, any “stress-giver” can be transformed into a “stress-reliever”. Someone who can offer support and sympathy when you need it.
Someone who can take over the dishes when you feel tired and need to lay down, or will turn their music down when it’s making you lose focus on your work.
Hopefully, articles like this one can help fight this problem, and help people who suffer from FMS get the love and support they deserve from their family, friend, co-workers, and loved ones. No one deserves to be surrounded by annoying people who are “stress-givers”.