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I’m a married 31 year-old who has been diagnosed with fibromylagia for 12 years. I am on a quest to raise awareness and help others by sharing information and staying positive. Read more
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Felicia Fibro - Life with fibromyalgia, EMPOWERED!

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Judgments are Rarely Good

I think one thing that living with fibromyalgia, or really any chronic illness, does is reinforce the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The most obvious relation is that when someone has an invisible illness their appearance rarely mirrors how they are feeling. We may see a person who smiles and looks reasonably well when that person is screaming in pain on the inside or so sleep deprived they aren’t even thinking clearly. Sadly, sometimes others pass judgment on a person that they are lazy, unmotivated, or messy when that person is just physically unable to perform all the tasks that their hearts would like to.

The type of judgments that get under my skin the most are surprisingly the ones from others living with chronic illness. My friends and I were friends with a couple living with fibromyalgia for awhile – I’ll call them Jenny and Peter. Jenny had lived with fibromyalgia for years and was having a difficult time managing it. Our mutual friends suggested that Jenny talk to me since I seemed able to physically do more things. They thought maybe some of the things that helped me, might help Jenny as well. Peter angrily responded saying, “she (Felicia) can’t understand because she does not have it nearly as bad as Jenny.”

Peter’s statement hurt my feelings because he was incorrectly judging how severely fibromyalgia affected my life. Just because they don’t know about the times when I’ve been curled up on a bathtub floor at 3am, unable to keep pain killers down because I was throwing up from my pain being so severe or how I’ve been so sleep deprived that it caused me to slur my speech does not mean I don’t deal with those issues. I just choose to smile often, be as healthy as I can and try not to talk about or dwell on the unpleasant issues too often. Sure, we all experience fibromyalgia a little differently, but that does not mean we can’t be helpful to one another. I invite you to read Sue Ingebretson’s experience of having her fibromyalgia diagnosis questioned.

I’m sharing this post because I’d like it to serve as a reminder to us all that we should never judge a book by its cover. We must remember that we rarely know the full extent of what someone else is going through – physically or mentally. I hope that we all treat each other with kindness and respect, especially with regard to one’s health.

Have you ever been wrongly judged?

You may also be interested in reading:
Eye Opening Revelation

stack of books

Don't judge a book by its cover*

*Image Credit: from by


Comment from Nicole
Time October 17, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Great post. So true! I cannot tell you how much “grief” I’ve experienced or witnessed from others in our own chronic pain community. It upset me so much one day I almost don’t even want to discuss any of my symptoms online. Just because one treatment plan works for one, doesn’t always work for another. Also, online its so easy to come into a middle of a conversation and not know the full picture, therefore its easy to catch certain phrases and think the worst. I do find most are really trying to be helpful, but, it’s something I’m learning, Not everyone wants our advice! Too often people think they are more knowledgeable than your doctor and that is very risky.

Granted, we need to educate ourselves and find a doctor who is understanding and willing to treat, but do not listen to every bit of advice from people online based on their own judgments on what they feel is the best treatment plan for you. Most cases, these people don’t even know you.
Nicole recently posted: Good ideas need participants


Felicia Fibro Reply:

I agree. Online (especially on Twitter) it is hard to know when to offer help and when not to. There are so many times I’ve wanted to offer something that has helped me or that I’ve learned, but I don’t because I’m fearful the receiver may not want my help. For the record, I’m always open to hearing suggestions. Like you said, they may not always be the best fit for me…but maybe they will be or maybe it is something I’ll want to learn more about and discuss with my doctor.


Comment from Miki
Time October 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Thanks for this. So well written and so true.
Miki recently posted: GIRL INTERRUPTED…AGAIN.


Comment from Maura
Time October 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Thank you for another helpful post. I hadn’t read Sue Ingebretson’s story until now. I have had friends shocked when they ask me how I’m doing with my fibro and I answer honestly that this or that is good/bad. I usually try to answer with a smile on my face. If someone asks me how I’m doing and don’t specifically mention fibromyalgia, I don’t include fibromyalgia in my answer. This isn’t because it doesn’t play a part of my life everyday. It’s because I don’t want to dwell on it and I don’t want them to hear a complaint everytime they ask, “how ya doing?”
However, I feel differently when I’m reading/posting in the fibro community. I have been shocked and disappointed by fellow fibro sufferers dismissing others as “not as bad as their fibro” in social media. When someone shares a suggestion they’re trying to help. It’s very unfair to dismiss them as only having “mild fibromyalgia” (is there such a thing!?!) Suffering is not a contest. If it is, then I quit. You win.


Felicia Fibro Reply:

“Suffering is not a contest. If it is, then I quit. You win.” Word!


Comment from Ana
Time October 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Had a guy once write on his tumblr that because I get SSI disability I got welfare, and since I had fibromagylia, that I was a crippled hunch back waste of space.

It really peeved me off and it ended our already rocky friendship. I have tried to be this person’s friend over and over but he’s upset he never got in my pants.

Other people I know think you can catch it. Like its a disease, instead of a condition. I used to live with some people and i was required to only have one plate, one bowl, one glass, one bowl and one fork. They made me feel like a freak. I quickly left that living arrangement as soon as I was able. To bad he was my ssi rep for a while. never trust family!


Felicia Fibro Reply:

It sounds like that first person had some other issues of his own to deal with. Sorry you had to deal with him being so publicly cruel to you!

That must have been so frustrating to live with people who were that mis-informed. Hopefully they have learned a bit more truthful information about fibromyalgia since then.


Comment from Pamela
Time October 30, 2011 at 2:18 am

Very Good Blog post! I have been Judged Like this also.. It hurts!! and People Think, It’s Like a Cold and You will Get better! and you don’t! I wish People would Think about Others! I know, we all do it! I do it to! But we need to! <3
XOXO God Bless!
Pamela recently posted: Saturday and this coming Month!


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