Health and Wellness

Fibromyalgia, The “Invisible” Disease

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Have you ever heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? It’s something that relates to everyone on a day to day basis. Everyone has judgments or a first impression of people, places or things. My mother, along with 10 million others, face a day to day battle. It may not appear that something is physically wrong, but no one knows what each of them go through everyday.

The writer’s mother. Photo from the writer’s personal collection. Used on The Activist by permission.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, memory loss, mood swings, etc. If you were to meet my mom, you would think she’s just a normal 58 year old woman, but on the inside she describes “I feel extreme fatigue. I have pain throughout my whole body, making me feel like someone is chewing on my bones. I have memory loss, major depression and anxiety. I also feel guilty, that I can’t do more as a person. By just looking at me, you would never know all of that.”

She has had this horrible disease for over 25 years now and is taking the battle on one day at a time. “I’m not used to being so immobile. I used to be a star athlete, playing every sport you could think of and just like the snap of your fingers, it was gone.” My mom always says “Don’t take your physical or mental abilities for granted. You never realize how precious they are until you lose them.”

Students at UCBA may have this disease themselves, or know someone who does. Even if they don’t, any student could relate to my mom more than they think. Each and every student, or any human being for that matter, has or will experience mental and physical exhaustion. Whether it be from going to school Monday-Friday, working 40+ hours a week, taking care of kids or whatever it may be. I myself along with many other students may have anxiety and depression. Anxiety and depression affects 40 million people over the age of 18 per year. Also each student at UCBA has judged or been judged. It is in our nature.

Some ways that my mom copes with her disease and symptoms are joining support groups or going to therapy. Both of which are offered in some way at UCBA. Whether it be seeing a counselor or joining a support group or even the accessibility services offered. Something my mom lives by every day is everything happens for a reason. You have to take it one day at a time. “The carousel never stops turning.”

About Megan Shroyer

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