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When a Loved One Has FM--How Can I Help?

Reprinted from FMOnline


If you know of someone, whether it be a loved one, friend, or an acquaintance with fibromyalgia, you carry a special gift within you. This is not a gift that will tarnish over time but will be appreciated and treasured between the two of you for life. What am I talking about? Let me explain.


You may not be aware of this, as I wasn’t when years back my sister was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but you have the ability to play an important role in their life. You have the ability to contribute to their success in achieving a richer more fulfilling life.


When I first became aware of my sister’s illness, like many, I did not know too much about it. I actually knew less than I thought. I only knew of things that I had heard in passing and pretty much summed it up as all being in her head. When she began to withdraw and alienate herself, I no longer saw her as the outgoing and energetic sister I had once known. My big brotherly advice to her was to pick herself up and get moving. I became tired and irritated when I would run into her at family gatherings to only hear, once again, how terrible and ill she felt. It finally got to the point that I would avoid her whenever occasions arose that put us in the same room at the same time. Sound familiar?


It’s sad but true, much like M.S. in its infancy, fibromyalgia continues to be alarmingly misunderstood. Although there is more and more scientific data continuing to come forth, there is still a lot to be desired concerning the awareness of this disease. 

When fibromyalgia infiltrates a family member, all concerned are affected as well. There are 6 to 8 million reported cases, which in turn affect more than 20 million other lives. I’m airing on the conservative side with my numbers but the point is that even at this, the numbers are staggering. A once close, loving and caring family or relationship can slowly dissolve before your eyes. Obviously this is not the path which any of us wish to take but the bad news is that this does occur.


There is good news, though. Evidence suggests that there are more and more doctors working "out of the box" towards establishing sound and practical methods to alleviate the aches and pains, fatigue, and social stigmas associated with this disease. It is being attacked from all sides, which include medical and medication research, physical therapy, nutritional needs, and just as important awareness. It is important to give this illness the attention and recognition it so rightfully deserves.


I personally decided to not only help my sister but to try and help others who may be experiencing a situation similar to the one in which my family had found themselves. Family members, friends and all concerned have to get involved. It is going to take all of us to coming together and putting forth the effort required to expose this illness and deal with it in the most positive and direct way. I believe the means to accomplishing this is simple and to the point…RESEARCH.


Your research is the key to your awareness. I can’t emphasize this enough. You may not be aware of it but you have already taken the first step by looking at this article and reading it. It is so important that you have an understanding of what your loved ones are going through and dealing with on a daily bases if you are going to help them to the best of your abilities. This will also help to nourish a greater appreciation and a higher level of compassion within us. You will find this especially useful when they are experiencing a not so good day. You will come to learn, as I did, that not all days are the same. Their level of discomfort may rise and fall according to various physical activities, eating habits, and state of mind. The more you understand all of this, the better position you are in to help guide and motivate them to sustain a proper balance in their life. This would include a nutritional balance in their eating habits as well as helping them to receive a beneficial return from a proper physical exercise routine. When you bring these things to pass, a happier state of mind will follow for all involved.


Once again, I can’t say this enough…research, research, and research. Once you’ve obtained the facts, I believe you will be like me and develop a new and understanding relationship with your loved one along with the desire to spread the word in whatever means possible. I’m currently working on an awareness project, which I’m hoping will be picked up by a daytime talk show. My hope is to bring together creditable experts who would cover all the disciplines required of someone suffering with this illness, and have them speak on one show. Medicine, nutrition, exercise, and awareness could all be covered. Think of the impact and beneficial ramifications that could serve. The main point here is to get involved and do whatever you can to expose and educate the public about this terrible and misunderstood disease.


I hope I have shed some light and inspired you to take the time and look into this. Enjoy cultivating your relationship and I wish you the best.








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