Your fibromyalgia toolkit

Edit: there is a newer version of this toolkit available here.

Today I told some new work colleagues that I suffer from fibromyalgia. They, like most people, had never heard of the condition and so I tried to explain it – briefly but specifically, trying to perfect the balance between being capable but… unable. Although I have lived with chronic pain for over seven years, sometimes I just can’t find the words. I decided that I should probably practice some kind of fibromyalgia elevator pitch – a 60 second explanation for situations such as this – but without said pitch to hand, instead I told them to check out my blog – and not just because I’m a brilliant self-promoter! I genuinely thought it was good way to explain things. That is, until I wondered, where on earth would they start?

And that’s when I had a little brainwave. I decided that we all need a fibromyalgia toolkit, a list of 10 resources that you can pass on to anyone and everyone to educate and describe and share your experiences as a fibromyalgia sufferer. It’s ideal for your new boss, a new friend, your partner or a new sufferer. It’s also a good way of refocusing you and your approach to pain management.

If my toolkit doesn’t work for you, why not make your own? Make a list of the top 10 articles that best describe you and your chronic pain that you would feel comfortable sharing with those around you, and get it ready to send out as necessary.

To get you started, here’s my toolkit:

1. The background (via Defy Pain)

This article explains my early symptoms and diagnosis through to my present day pain management, acknowledging the difficulties along the way – all in less than 1,000 words.

Best for: Newly diagnosed, friends and family. 

2. Spoon theory (via New Life Outlook)

If you want to a short way to explain spoon theory and its benefits, check this out. If you don’t know what spoon theory is, read this and then seek out your fellow spoonies.

Best for: Newly diagnosed. 

3. What does it feel like? (via A Life Less Physical)

I wrote this post as a way to explain fibro pain to non-sufferers. I’ve compared 10 common symptoms to everyday pains that others can understand our world.

Best for: New boss, friends and family. 

4. 8 things you should know (via February Stars)

Whether you were diagnosed yesterday or 20 years ago, this is a great post with 8 top reminders and suggestions to manage your pain. All practical, all sensible.

Best for: All fibro sufferers. 

5. 2o things I experience (via A Life Less Physical)

I wrote this for Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. 20 things I experience on a daily basis so people can understand the things we struggle with.

Best for: New boss, newly diagnosed, friends and family. 

6. 12 bloggers share their #1 survival tip (via Fed Up With Fatigue)

12 fibromyalgia bloggers come together to share their number 1 tip for coping with fibromyalgia. A good way of getting a variety of coping strategies.

Best for: All fibro sufferers. 

7. A community of spoonie friends (via Sarah in Wonderland)

If your friends have struggled to understand your condition and you’re feeling a bit lonely, this is a great way to talk to like-minded spoonies and build a community.

Best for: Newly diagnosed. 

8. But you don’t look sick (via Make It, Bake It, Fake It)

This post is a really fantastic response to the “but you don’t look sick” mentality. It’s the perfect description of the effort it takes to get through the day.

Best for: New boss, friends and family.

9. The mask of chronic illness in life and work (via Hope in Pain)

A really lovely post about how hard we try to hide our pain, and how good it feels to remove the mask. A great one for people who feel like they’re suffering in silence.

Best for: Newly diagnosed, anyone who wants to see under the mask.

10. Lesser known fibro symptoms (via New Life Outlook)

We all know fibromyalgia as widespread pain over more than 11 trigger points, but are you aware of these 10 lesser known symptoms which are also related?

Best for: Newly diagnoised, friends and family, new boss.


I hope my toolkit works for you. If not, why not create your own or share some of your favourite links in the comments below.

[Featured image via:]


6 comments on “Your fibromyalgia toolkit

  1. Sharon Martingale

    Thank you for this! Very helpful.

  2. It’s so weird, I’ve had chronic pain since I was 10 but still find it difficult to explain to others. I think because there is so much more going on then just pain

  3. It is hard to describe in words but this video I made has helped people understand our lives better. Please watch and share. I hope it helps.

  4. Pingback: Fibromyalgia-Guest post | Toria wishes

  5. Pingback: 5 ways to cope with chronic pain – A LIFE LESS PHYSICAL

  6. Pingback: Explaining spoon theory – A LIFE LESS PHYSICAL

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