Your co-worker could be living with the invisible illness of Fibromyalgia Syndrome and you may not even know it! And if you do know a colleague who has Fibromyalgia, do you even know what Fibromyalgia Syndrome is?
If you have Fibromyalgia yourself, have you ever explained the syndrome to your co-workers, or do you plod along in silence while they wonder where your mind-like-a-steel-trap memory and your vibrant energy went? "What's wrong with her?" they might be saying, "She used to be such a firecracker!" or, "Oh, she's just under a lot of stress."
Do you find yourself apologizing for your forgetfulness, or getting angry when your colleague calls in sick just because he has the sniffles? All the while, you're plugging away, day-in and day-out, and you feel "sick" practically every minute of every day, and have for years. Do you often try to tell people how you feel, only to be frustrated by the typical comments: "My back hurts too." "You look fine." "You're just doing too much." "You're too stressed out." "You're just getting older." Doesn't it seem like nobody really understands? (By the way, getting older isn't supposed to be painful!)
Or how about that workmate who always has migraines, muscle aches, back pain, bowel problems, painful menstrual periods, and is often exhausted? Haven't you thought, "I bet she has Fibromyalgia." but feel it's not your place to suggest it to her?
Fibro Works is an online connection for active women from all walks of life who want to stay involved in daily activities despite the challenges of living with the debilitating symptoms of often-stigmatized Fibromyalgia Syndrome, and who want to be able to explain Fibromyalgia to others who may not understand.
Our focus is to bring awareness of Fibromyalgia in the workplace into the public eye, and release ourselves from feeling like "victims" of Fibromyalgia, or like we have to hide our symptoms for fear of losing our jobs, friends and social networks. We want to become advocates for others and move forward in our own successful treatment of this incurable and invisible syndrome. This may include major lifestyle changes for some of us, such as slowing down, delegating, letting go of perfectionism, and learning how to say no to those little extras that can bog us down and put us into a fibro-flare.
fibroworks.com was launched on Labor Day, 2007, in a deliberate move to bring awareness to Fibromyalgia Syndrome and its impact on the workforce worldwide. It is my hope that we can begin to take the stigma off of Fibromyalgia, and reveal its existence to employers and co-workers alike.
On fibroworks.com there's a message board, and my personal blog (The Fibro-Fog Chronicles) which contains helpful links to major Fibromyalgia web sites for those who want to do more research, and my own personal experience of climbing out of the fog and into rehabilitation and a more relaxed approach to life.
My Yahoo group "undiagnosed" is a resource for people living with invisible and hard-to-diagnose illnesses. Fibromyalgia and other "mimicker" illnesses are so very difficult to diagnose, and it's typical for a person with one of these illnesses to be sick or in pain for many years before being diagnosed. New members are always welcome.
On fibroworks.com, we'll share the pros and cons of communicating with friends, family members, doctors, co-workers and bosses, especially those who doubt FMS exists, or doubt that you "have" Fibromyalgia.
This web site is intended for educational and informational purposes only and does not promote medical advice nor substitute for treatment by a licensed physician. Readers should not try any of the methods described here themselves without consulting a professional.