An Open Letter to a Friend Who Doesn’t Understand My Fibromyalgia

This letter is for you, my dear friend. I know that fibromyalgia is a difficult illness to understand, even for me. I wanted to let you know that I miss your company and sharing gossip, coffee, and just laughing together. I miss you.

I’m going to try to explain some ways that fibromyalgia has changed my life, and ultimately parts of our friendship. First, you need to know that it’s not contagious. However, fibromyalgia has been debilitating for me in many ways. It has also changed me, but it doesn’t have to completely change our friendship. Let’s work together so we can continue to be friends for a very long time.

Because fibromyalgia involves both the brain and the nervous system, it impacts every area of my body. Think of how you feel when you have the flu. You get achy all over, your balance is off, you have no energy, and all you want to do is sleep. It takes days before you start to feel like yourself again. This is my world every day. The thing is, although I have some good days, this is never going away. I don’t say that so that you’ll feel sorry for me, just as a point of clarification.

Although I won’t always be able to attend functions, meet you for coffee, or go see a movie together, I still want to spend time with you. One thing that’s been hard for me is the inability to be spontaneous like I used to. I kind of have to plan things in advance. Even then I sometimes have to cancel at the last minute if my pain or fatigue are off the charts. I’m hopeful you’ll give me grace for those times.

I’m always happy to answer any questions you have about fibromyalgia, and I promise to stop if your eyes start to glaze over. I sure don’t ever expect you to change your plans because of me, I just want you to know that I’ll be thinking of you and wishing I could be there. I think one of the more difficult aspects of fibromyalgia is the loneliness. So even if I can’t go out, it would be awesome sometimes to have you over to hang out and share a glass of wine or a cup of tea. We can make some popcorn and watch a funny movie.

Just like you need to vent sometimes about the stuff going on in your life, I do too. Real friends stick together and are there for each other. So even though my life has changed drastically, my heart is still committed to our friendship. You are super important to me, never forget that.

By Robin Dix from Fibromyalgia News Today

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