When you’re diagnosed with fibromyalgia in your 20s, the fatigue, chronic pain, and other daily insults of the condition can call a screeching halt to all the joys of youth. As one member of WebMD’s fibromyalgia community puts it, fibromyalgia can make you feel like you’re “22 going on 80.”
She’s a young mom in her 20s with a 14-month-old and a 2-year-old. She and another young mother, age 23, come to the fibromyalgia community to share their struggles with fibromyalgia.
“I can't do my laundry, wash my dishes, clean my house or even take care of my children right,” she says. “I have no intimate life with my husband because of my constant pain and fatigue, we are on the verge of divorce and I can't blame him because he's married to a zombie. I come home from working all day, and I go to sleep. And wake up all night in pain or anxiety. And get up at 5 am to do it all over again.”
A host of supporters assure her that she’s not alone in her depression and feelings of desperation. They share their sagas, and, like this young mother, they’ve journeyed from doctor to doctor, often being told “it’s all in your head.” The supporters urge her to take advantage of the toolbox of resources found in the WebMD fibromyalgia community. Several suggest that she should visit a rheumatologist -- if she hasn’t already -- because rheumatologists are the specialists who know the most about fibromyalgia.
The second young mom who has fibromyalgia also has three kids, ages 4 and under. She writes about feeling frustrated because she can never do the things she wants to with them, and guilty that it hurts when they even touch her.
One mom, who had kids of similar ages when she was diagnosed, offers practical recommendations from her experience. When she couldn’t go to a school picnic, they invited friends over and had a home picnic on the floor. “We did things like private concerts for school concerts I missed. Or friends would take them and video them for me, then we would have movie night with popcorn and the works.” She kept her bed in the dining room or the living room, where she could be closer to the kids. “I could cook in a crock pot from bed, and when I could get up my little chef and I cooked together.”
Other community members suggest a number of other coping strategies, including heating pads and hot showers before bed. One member strongly recommends that she have her vitamin D levels checked.
“There is light at the end just continue to be persistent as it sounds like you are,” says one woman. “No matter how bad you feel don't give up. It's not all in your head and don't let anyone's opinion make you think otherwise."