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This is the Face of Fibromyalgia [Awareness Day 2009]

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Published on May 11, 2009

I know a lot of you may not be interested in this video but it's really important to me and it would really mean a lot to me if you didn't ignore it.
Fibromyalgia is "characterized by chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue and often psychological distress." (National Fibromyalgia Association)
the exact symptoms as well as the severity of them vary from patient to patient, but the big three are chronic widespread pain, extreme fatigue, and sleep problems. It is impossible to tell how bad another person's pain is ever, FM is no different. The best way that has been come up with to describe what it's like to have FM to someone who doesn't have it is to imagine the last time you had a very bad flu, you ached all over and you felt so weak and exhausted you wanted to sleep forever. Throw a few more symptoms in there and you have the closest thing to experiencing severe FM.
The problem with FM is that it is an invisible disorder, so people don't look sick a lot of the time and medically things look normal on tests. More intensive studies of people with FM show some brain abnormalities, but nothing that can definitively point to FM.
A lot of people don't believe FM is real. With new drugs being approved and intensive advertising campaigns, the issues have come to the forefront. Respected institutions such as the New York Times all the way to random people on Youtube have expressed their suspicion over whether it's "all in the patients' heads" and whether they are just seeking attention, are in no more pain than an average person and just can't suck it up, or whatever.
Obviously I am bias. if you've watched the video, you know that I was diagnosed with FM when I was 14. but i was showing symptoms as young as 9 when i had the first acute episode (an extended flu) but I had always had intense growing pains and knots in my back. concern wasn't shown till i was 13.
I encourage you to watch this video and learn about FM because 3-6% of the world population suffers from this condition. Many people I talk to about it go home and tell their families only to find out that someone close to them has FM as well and they had no idea. SUPPORT IS THE BEST THING YOU CAN GIVE A PERSON WITH FM OR ANY OTHER CHRONIC ILLNESS.
I don't want your sympathy but I do want you to think before you say something about FM...Before you judge I encourage you to think about what it is like to be told when you're 14 that you will be in pain for the rest of your life, that you'd have to take multiple medications every day to manage it, that you'd have to do less than other kids your age, that you shouldn't hope of being cured, that all your dreams were shattered. AGAIN I DON'T WANT YOU TO FEEL SORRY FOR ME!!! I see FM as a blessing in a lot of ways because it taught me a lot about life and myself, it made me a much stronger, much more caring person. and i know that there are a lot of people out there sicker than me, so i am grateful that it's not something worse. but i do want to help get rid of some of the ignorance. I have come to be strong and not listen to people who wanna discredit us (at least to an extent) but 14 year old me wasn't, and I don't want one other person out there to have to deal with that.
In addition, i wanted to challenge the stereotype that we're all the ladies in the Lyrica ads because if you've seen the ad, you can see I clearly am not. I am 18. I am not a fat middle-aged woman (the new york times FM profile). THIS IS THE FACE OF FIBROMYALGIA.
on another note, I want to say that the pictures of when i was really sick, I know i look horrible, and i had a long battle with myself over whether I should post them because I usually don't show them to anyone, but i thought it was important in telling the story, so no need to point it out.
if you have questions, let me know! (hate or mean comments may be deleted, i haven't decided yet)
Please don't take this as medical advice either, if you think you or someone you know has FM do more research first...most importantly, ask a doctor.
thank you for watching, and I hope that next time you hear negative stuff about FM you'll think twice before just accepting it.
songs:
Believe - Suzie McNeil
A Little Bit Longer - Jonas Brothers
Stand - Rascal Flatts
if you wanna discredit my point by what music i used that's your problem, but i just did the songs that i felt captured the feelings of chronic illness the best.
*NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ALL CREDIT FOR THE SONGS AND PICS THAT AREN'T MINE GO TO THE RIGHTFUL OWNERS*
the pictures in black and white and the specialist labels and medical test pictures are not mine. all the others are.
(New Can't Stop was posted yesterday check it out)

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