According to the Mayo Clinic, “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.” To the average person who’s never heard of this condition, it means someone with Fibromyalgia suffers from some level of pain every day. One day it could be muscle aches, other days its severe pain. The pain can be localized or it can be the entire body. The pain is just one portion of Fibromyalgia. Throw in sleep issues and all the other symptoms and for some this is a very debilitating illness.
When your spouse is in the midst of a Fibromyalgia “flare”, even the littlest thing like getting out of bed, can be a struggle. If you haven’t read “The Spoon Theory” by Christine Miserandino yet, you should. It is a great explanation of what your spouse is dealing with. The more you understand how Fibromalgia affects your spouse, the easier it will be for both of you.
One of the hardest things for someone with Fibromyalgia to do is give in and not fight a flare (a period of time when symptoms “flare” up). The more you fight the flare, the worse it will be. Learning the warning signs in your spouse and encouraging them to rest during the flare can often times lessen the severity. It is during this time that your spouse needs the most compassion and support you can give them.
Webmd.com offers a comprehensive list of symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia does not discriminate. It affects all races, ethnicities, and genders. More than 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. While there is no cure for Fibromyalgia, with the treatment and lifestyle changes available, you can learn to manage the symptoms.
It will take its toll on your marriage if you let it. However, if you and your spouse keep an open line of communication and work together, you can strengthen your marriage even more.
If your marriage is struggling and you feel marriage counseling will benefit you and your spouse, try the Austin Family Institute. “Austin Family Institute, a marriage and family training program, provides all counseling on a sliding scale fee, making it affordable for everyone.” Visit their website or contact them at 512-329-6611.
For Fibromyalgia sufferers in Austin, you can turn to the South Austin Fibromyalgia Support Group. For online help, the National Fibromyalgia Associaton and Fibrotalk.com are great resources for information and support.
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