Any chronic illness or condition will require that you learn how to deal with family and friends. You can be thankful, even grateful for any assistance and support they are able to give you but there is a road that you are on when you have fibromyalgia that tends to create difficulties when it comes to dealing with family and friends.
The very nature of fibromyalgia is that of changes and the fact that the condition is long-term. You won’t be at an ending or a time when you won’t have fibromyalgia and that can be difficult for family members and friends to come to terms with.
Family members and friends may reach a point of not being able to cope with your illness and need a break. You unfortunately cannot take a break from fibromyalgia and this may make you feel depressed, angry or overwhelmed as you experience the strain that having a chronic condition can put on relationships between you and family members or you and your friends.
You do have options and choices when it comes to dealing with family and friends. You can embrace the times when they are capable of supporting and being there for you and try to understand when they draw back and the support is not as strong. You can learn to build a strong network of support that embraces your entire community and not just your family and friends.
Your support circle should be large enough so that if one person or one group has to duck out for a period of time, your support circle can handle the absence by circling around and joining hands with others that remain until those that left return (when and if they do).
Your family members and friends who withdraw may be doing so because they feel exhausted from the effort of dealing with your condition, they may experience depression because they do not see you getting better and they may have an unrealistic viewpoint of your condition.
Educating your support system including your family and friends about fibromyalgia can help to prevent “burn-out” of support members. It is sometimes difficult for those with chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia to see that the illness or condition although belonging to them has a direct impact on the lives of those close to you such as family and friends.
That impact may influence how they can relate to you especially as they see you suffer when times get tough or when you switch to new treatments or when you experience setbacks. Conflicts and communication difficulties can arise especially if various family members or friends have a difficult time dealing with feelings or with being open and honest about what they are thinking or feeling regarding your condition.
Part of managing your condition is learning how to be sympathetic towards family members and friends who have to come to terms with your condition.
If married, learn how to be considerate of your spouse’s feelings, plan some fun time for you and your loved one, and learn how to really listen when your spouse speaks to you about his/her feelings. Understand that your spouse may need some alone time in order to be with others or just by themselves without the constant dealings that are necessary when a family member has a chronic condition.
It is difficult, but easier if you can continue to have a positive outlook and attitude about yourself and about your spouse. Keep a journal of your feelings and how your relationship is being positively impacted by how you handle things as well as the “bumps in the road”.
Support groups for those with fibromyalgia as well as for family and friends can be found in local communities so look for them and if necessary start one up.
Sleeping arrangements is usually a huge issue when a spouse has a chronic condition especially if that person needs to get good restful sleep. It just may be that separate beds will actually improve the relationship and your condition.
Make use of relaxation techniques that you learn when dealing with your condition to apply them to dealing with family and friends. Set aside time to just have fun and relax, don’t make your relationship all about your condition.
Explain or educate your family and friends slowly, about your condition so that they won’t feel at a loss for how to treat you. Knowledge is powerful and can allow us to reach out and do great things. When family and friends understand what you are dealing with they can appreciate better what it takes for you to manage not only your fibromyalgia but also your life, including your relationships.
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