Today is the 12th May which is Fibromyalgia Awareness day. In all honesty this is the first year I have really been able to take full acknowledgement of this day and its importance and actually throw myself into raising awareness. I feel I can now do this as I am now in a place where I am proud of how far I’ve come in my journey and am able to use my experience in a positive way. This time last year I was not at the peace and acceptance that I am at now with my Fibromyalgia, I was having a really rough time with managing it and the 12thof May would pass by with me not even knowing what day it was. I am so ecstatic and grateful that this year I could use this day to do as much as I can to express how significant raising awareness is and what that could do for all of us Fibro fighters. So be sure to check out my Fibro awareness video featuring many inspirational Fibro fighters on my instagram https://www.instagram.com/katrinairapah_/
The one thing us Fibro fighters want is to be believed. Fibromyalgia is an invisible illness meaning that there may not be anything in our physical appearance which screams “I AM IN PAIN AND I AM EXHAUSTED”. In no way does this lessen how severe or real our symptoms are. Fibromyalgia is very real; it is as real as any other illness out there and is sadly so misunderstood by many due to the nature of invisible illnesses. I cannot express to you the amount of times people have doubted and downplayed my pain and for me this was a constant knock to my mental health as I am sure it has been and is for most fibro fighters.
In my early years of having my symptoms I used to yearn having physical signs of pain, something that everyone could see. I was so young and had no way of explaining what I was going through, how it felt and how to prove that I felt like a prisoner of pain in my own body and skin. I had doctors and consultants tell me that it is “all in my head” that “I look fine” or that my symptoms are “apparent” and “exaggerated” which really broke my heart every time walking away feeling more lost, frustrated and disheartened than I already was. You had to constantly be almost begging medical professionals for investigations to be done because it seemed in their eyes it was a waste of time and money. But I can tell you now, the day I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia is a day I will never forget. I had mixed emotions; however, I had a much more positive outlook on it than negative. Yes, it does suck to have this incurable invisible illness, but it was also a proper diagnosis which was validation for myself and others that my pain is real, and no one could tell me otherwise. This is why it is so important to raise awareness of Fibromyalgia, to share our stories, to enlighten people of the symptoms and struggles because we could be helping an undiagnosed fibro fighter find their light.
I have so much more of my journey to share in relation to invisible illnesses which I will save for another day! But I just want to leave you all with the quote I opened with. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, there are so many of us in this world that have invisible illnesses so please try and be as mindful as you can with the people that you’re surrounded by, be kind, be caring, be understanding and be supportive always!
Illustration by my amazing best friend Jade Moore