I know 3 people who suffer from fibromyalgia, but it seems more like their problem is depression, is fibromyalgia is real?

You’re not entirely wrong, but you’re definitely NOT right either.

It really drives me nuts the way doctors and the general population misunderstand fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia literally means “muscle pain” in Latin. Of course, the muscle pain is real and it can hurt like hell, but it’s not a diagnosis. It’s like going to a doctor complaining that your head hurts, and having the doctor diagnose you with “a headache.”

You’re no closer to knowing the cause of your pain than when you walked in. Just as a headache can be due to any number of conditions, (head injury, sinus infection, dehydration, too little sleep, a stroke, a brain tumor, etc…) fibromyalgia is caused by a whole host of other conditions. 

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Doctors do a tremendous disservice to patients by throwing some Lyrica at them, telling them to exercise, and chalking it up to fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia has become a catch-all for illnesses doctors don’t properly understand or are too lazy to test for. 

It took me 10 years to find out my fibromyalgia was due to a connective tissue disease called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Meanwhile, my obsessive exercising to stop the pain of my fibromyalgia was just ripping my joints apart and forming scar tissue, because I actually had EDS and had no business running, jumping, and engaging in high-impact workouts.

I take the heat on here every time I write about fibromyalgia, but I’m sick and tired of doctors dismissing people in real, chronic pain with a fancy-sounding term that gets them no closer to discovering the root of their pain. Not determining the real root of their pain can put patients at risk for further damage, pain, and even death.

The causes of patients’ fibromyalgia are many and varied. What helps one patient may make another much worse. It’s dangerous to think every patient with fibromyalgia is the same.

But most importantly, of course, pain causes depression. I’ve had some really dark, despondent times when the pain is at its worst. Stop judging your friends!! Stop speculating on their mental health!! Just be a friend. Be supportive. Listen. Be present. Your friends have been through the wringer. It’s a horrific thing to have your life stolen by pain.

On a good day, my body aches as if I have the flu. That is my normal. That is how I have to go to work, take care of my family, keep my house in order and live life. On my worst days, I’m bedridden and unable to walk on my own.

Before getting an Ehlers Danlos diagnosis, I had been dismissed by several doctors as a fake or a pill seeker. I didn’t tolerate that from my doctors and I certainly won’t tolerate that attitude from my friends. Please, don’t pretend to be a doctor or a psychologist. Just be a friend. Pain can be lonely and isolating.

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Official Fibromyalgia Blogs

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