If your loved one has fibromyalgia, it is difficult to understand exactly what they were going through unless you’ve experienced it by yourself. They likely require much more time sleeping or resting than you and may not feel up to going out very often. Fibromyalgia can also inhibit a person’s ability to work, accomplish household works or even do everyday things such as showering and eating.
If you have a supportive spouse or significant other it makes all the difference. It’s not that we have pain and are exhausted. It changes your life. You are no longer the same physically or mentally ( my anxiety) so many things are gone. I know everyone feels the same way.
If one person is chronically ill but the other is healthy, this can easily put strain on even the strongest of relationships. Although it may be harder to put yourself in the other’s shoes or find a balance in which you both feel like equal partners in the relationship, it is certainly not impossible – and for many couples, facing obstacles together such as chronic illness can actually strengthen their bond and deepen their love for one another.
We asked our community “Living With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness” and “Living With Fibromyalgia” to share ways for people to help their spouse or partner with fibromyalgia. If your loved one is affected by a chronic health condition like fibromyalgia, CFs, perhaps the following ways can help you better understand what they experience and provide some ideas of things you could do that might mean the world to them.
Here’s what our community told us:
1. When they are having a breakdown, hold them, let them cry and know you are there for them.
2. Learn as much as you can about it. Be patient. You might not understand what it’s like but bring empathetic and listening to your partner or spouse is so important. Unconditional love.
3. Ask your partner to listen to you, and to read from people who also have fibromyalgia.
4. Avoid making them feel guilty. Give reassurance and love. Lie in bed and hold them, tell them you’re in it for the long haul. And mean it!
5. Believe them first, be supportive second, be kind at all times third and pull your weight in the relationship in a practical way. They didn’t plan this any more than you did and you’re both in this thing together so help both of you to make the most of the journey. The more support they have the sooner they will find their own level of fitness and health but it takes quite some time and you will need to stand by them and lessen their physical and emotional load as much as you possibly can.
6. Show Love and Dont ask too many question in a flare up times
7. Draw them a nice warm bath,wash their hair,help them out,dry and brush their hair. Then just listening would be nice.
8. Be understanding, patient, share the household chores, be supportive when others question the veracity of illness, remember that this illness is no one’s fault or punishment to you. Above all, never stop loving the afflicted person.
9. Do exactly what you would want your love one to do for you if the roles were reversed.
Above all, be kind, loving, patient and funny
10. No guilt, a lil sympathy and self maintenance. Sometimes I can only take care of myself…make dinner once a week. Vac or clean a shower. Remember we can’t pick up things the same, or I can’t, ten lbs and I’m all but wore out
11. Not just hear what they are saying but actually listen!
12. Ask often about different aspects of pain, bring them small things that help-ice packs, meds, drinks, heating pad….lay with them tell them how much u want to take it away. Understand their struggles, do research
13. Fill in the gaps.. different forms of support where there are deficiencies. It is deep express expectations so they are known and understood then understand how it may be impossible to achieve. Be creative. Help with the pain or needing sleep on the weekends, but I do want to clean, beach comb, look for sea glass, Kayak yet it is limited, play volleyball (cannot anymore) Personally I believe movement is necessary to recover until the tingling in my lower legs begin starting the pain. If it feels like a shin splint i pushed because it felt great. I am painting the trim and windows which would take a normal healthy person one summer. It is going to take me two. I am ok with it. This is an example of lowered expectations yet helping me achieve goals which builds my esteem and strength.
14. Never say you are lazy
15. Never cut them down for not feeling good or not being able to do the things they once could do. Be supportive even if you don’t understand it all.
16. Keep them out of stressful situations. Allow them to rest when they need it.
If possible live somewhere the barometric pressure does not change too much- ewh the pain!
17. There’s a wonderful book called Fibromyalgia for dummies. My son read it I don’t know how many times. He really wanted to understand and help. My husband on the other hand left within a month.
18. When I say I can feel the energy being drained out of me like a needle taking blood please let me rest because the sweats flu pain and brain fog are just around the corner.
19. Make sure they understand that although they cannot function as before they are still a valued member of the family and that they are not a burden.
20. Ask your spouse what they would like from you and let them know that you want to help in any way you can. Every little favor or assistance makes a difference for me, but we’re all different. Some prefer as much independence as possible. Many prefer to be asked before automatically assuming what’s wanted or needed. Offer to help or do things to help around house without asking after you know what’s wanted and needed. Some of us feel guilty for putting the burden on others.
Reassuring your spouse that you’re there for them and don’t mind helping can and want to support and understand as best as possible can be a tremendous relief for your spouse. I personally only like my feet massaged with lotion. Other areas are too sensitive for massage. I need help around the house, with shopping etc. I need peaceful environment to rest.
What would help your spouse? What would help your spouse feel -a little better or more comfortable. Know you can’t fix or change the illness, but you can offer assistance and comfort. Too often people offer unsolicited advice and that can make things worse, putting more unrealistic expectations and pressure on me. Then I can become more depressed or feel unnecessary guilt and shame.