What you shouldn't say to someone with fibromyalgia

When people know someone is sick, they want to appear sympathetic, understanding and helpful. In case of individuals with chronic illness, often comments intended to show care for their ailments come off hurting the feelings of the sick persons. 

People suffering from chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome more often find comments from friends, family and colleagues reflecting a lack of true understanding of what they are going through. 

In fact chronic illnesses inflict unwanted changes on peoples’ lives that can make them appear over-sensitive in their reactions. They may find things hurting even if said with best of the intentions. 
1- "You look great—you must be feeling better." 
This compliment can make many people with chronic illnesses feel misunderstood. Their looks may not represent how actually they are feeling. It is possible they are good at hiding their pain or they have a single good day after a long horrible time. Even when made with a good intention, such compliments give them feelings that they are being judged without an effort to truly understand how they are feeling.
2- "Let's get you out of the house. It'll give you a boost!"  
Chronically ill people would love going out. But most of the times they are not feeling well enough to get out of the house. Being insisted on to do something they are not feeling comfortable with, will add to their stress. 

3- "Are you sure you're not just depressed?" 
Depression is a common symptom of chronic illnesses. However alone it cannot explain an entire set of symptoms people with chronic illnesses usually face. It shows individuals making such comments don’t understand the true severity of depression and other ailments that chronically ill people bear. 
4- "I know how you feel; I get tired, too." 
The fatigue which comes along chronic illnesses make people feel like being at the edge of complete emotional, physical and mental collapse. 
Making such statements pass on the message that you are trivializing an illness that is much more than tiredness. Instead it is better to appear understanding their pain by asking, "I've been really exhausted lately. I don't know how you live like that all the time."
5- "If you'd (exercise more/lose weight/eat a better diet/get back to work) you'd feel better."
Symptoms of chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are unique for every person. Dietary changes and exercises may work for some people to help with their conditions, but for others such changes if not taken appropriately can make their symptoms rather worse.
If such people are asked to lose weight without understanding their limitations to be active can hurt their self-esteem. Having an active life, losing weight and going to work is all chronically ill people would love to do but can’t. 


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