How to comfort someone with fibromyalgia? Fibromyalgia guide for male partners.
How did my wife develop fibromyalgia?
I write a lot about endometriosis since this was the first chronic condition my wife was diagnosed with. However, I decided to write more about fibromyalgia, the second chronic disorder my M suffers from.
My wife developed fibromyalgia after her diagnosis of endometriosis. The physical and emotional shock she experienced made me wonder if there is a link connecting fibromyalgia and endometriosis. I wrote a post on this subject a while ago, you can check it out here.
Suffering from endometriosis turned my marriage upside down. Even though we’ve learned over time how to cope with this illness together, fibromyalgia brought additional challenges, more symptoms flare-ups, and pain.
Fibromyalgia doesn’t only affect my wife, it impacts my life too. But my personal experience with her multimorbidity thought me a lot about how to comfort her with both chronic illnesses.
Leaving endometriosis aside, here’s the answer on how to comfort someone with fibromyalgia?
- First and foremost, listen to her…
- Be understanding of her needs.
- Learn about fibromyalgia.
- Remind her, that it’s ok to slow down.
- Go to her doctor’s appointments!
- Address financial challenges.
There are many ways you can comfort someone chronically ill, but remember, such support needs to be psychological, emotional, mental, physical, social, family, marital, medical, and financial.
There are different aspects of knowing how to comfort someone with fibromyalgia, and I can tell you it isn’t going to be easy.
But if you honestly care about your partner, you will do anything in your power to make her happy. I found the way, and I can put it in simple, two words – “be there”.
Be there for her, no matter what fibromyalgia throw at you. Never give up, be patient, and you will be okay…
Before you continue, if you were interested in a free gift, I wrote a “Fibromyalgia for Caring Partners” e-Book, and you can get the 1st chapter FREE!
FREE Fibromyalgia e-Book
Fibromyalgia for Caring Men
How to comfort someone with fibromyalgia?
As I said, comforting requires supporting her needs from many aspects of life. That means her psychological, emotional, mental, and physical state, but also factors such as social, family, marital, medical, and financial.
Psychological support can be given by a professional therapeutist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) is the best way to do this. Ideally, the specialist should have experience in working with people who suffer from chronic pain.
My wife had three separate CBT therapies. One of them included a psychological approach to chronic pain management, and it was done by a woman who suffered from chronic pain herself.
She was specializing in psychological support for chronically ill patients. It was like hitting a jackpot. But she had to wait for many months to get such help.
I would strongly suggest you spend some time finding a professional who understands chronic pain.
Emotional support should be also provided by you. Apart from her family, you are the one who’s closest to her. Want it or not, she counts on you! Be that man and support her emotionally.
Mental support is one of the most difficult parts I have encountered so far, especially when she was diagnosed with an advanced stage IV deep infiltrating endometriosis.
My wife tried to commit suicide in past on more than one occasion, luckily, I was there to physically stop her, to talk her out of it, and I took good care of her afterward, taking two months of work to keep an eye on M to support her.
But that’s not all, my wife felt (and still feels today) like a burden to me.
She asked me on a few separate occasions to divorce her for the sake of my own wellbeing. Luckily for her, I refused it each time. I’m happy I did it because today we live a happy marriage!
It’s not ideal because she will always be ill, but it’s enough for me, and I’m there for her whenever M needs me.
Physical support is something that you will have to get used to. It can be demanding and challenging, but that’s just how it is. You must remind yourself that you are healthy, which should keep you going.
Fibromyalgia can be physically demanding. Not only for your partner because her pain and fatigue never seem to end, but it’s also going to affect you.
You will have to do the chores you may not be used to, including cooking, cleaning, moving, lifting, driving, doing shopping, and a lot of chores and basic tasks of your own too.
The social aspect is also important. You will have to take care of organizing meetings with friends, as she may not have the energy to do it herself.
It can be frustrating at times, when your partner may not feel like meeting people, and you will have to cancel plans last minute. You will have to learn how to balance this between respecting her wishes and encouraging her to go out, as it will help her mental wellbeing.
The same applies to her family support, but bear in mind, that some family members may not believe her invisible illness is real, which can be very distressing for your partner.
You’d want to step in and say what you think out loud, but having to respect the elderly in-laws and telling them off, can be hard to balance too.
You’ll have to discuss the matter with them when your partner isn’t present, to keep her safe from their lack of understanding.
Martial support includes many aspects, one of which will be arguments that naturally occur. But unlike within a healthy marriage, it is going to be hard due to a lack of sex life.
I wrote in one of my posts how endometriosis causes pain during and after sex. It prevents a couple from having a healthy sex life. But the same often applies to fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia and sexless marriage often go hand in hand. It can be frustrating, especially for men, whose physical needs want to be met. Open discussion is the key here. You can manage things if you plan ahead.
Intimacy can be shown in many ways, and sex isn’t only about penetration. For many men, however, it is difficult to comprehend, which can make or break a marriage.
Medical support is unavoidable when it comes to chronic illness. Knowing how to comfort someone with fibromyalgia requires medical assistance, regardless of whether it’s done by you or by a professional.
You may require to call an ambulance, order a taxi, or drive your partner to the hospital. Situations may vary…
Many times I had to do this because my wife was in excruciating pain to the point she was fainting. Furthermore, fibromyalgia also restricts her diet which caused her severe iron anemia in the past, so bear in mind to look into that.
Lastly, financial support. Not only your partner may not be able to work full-time, but you will also have to cancel your own work to support her.
The financial impact of fibromyalgia is a big problem for many relationships.
I found myself taking two months off work on two separate occasions to take care of my wife. Not only because of her frequent flare-ups, but also the anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, and depression that stopped her from functioning.
So, if you struggle to find a way how to comfort someone with fibromyalgia, these are the aspects you have to take into account.
My personal experience…
From my personal experience, I found what works and what doesn’t.
The most important change I have made to improve the support and communication with my wife was the realization that instead of trying to “fix” my partner’s health, I had to work on myself, especially on my lack of knowledge about fibromyalgia.
First of all, listen to her because no amount of articles, books, or even doctors will teach you what your partner is going through.
She will tell you all you need to know, without unnecessary fluff, because she’s an expert in how she feels.
No doctor can manage this, remember that!
Remember, that everyone is unique, no person is the same. Your partner will respond to different kinds of support and treatment, regardless of whether them being medical or natural. We much prefer the holistic approach.
This is why my wife doesn’t take any painkillers, hormones, or antidepressants.
She prefers a holistic approach, which serves her well due to the fact that she doesn’t have any side effects that medication does. She’s no worse than women taking all the above medications.
Be understanding of her needs but don’t neglect your own. You need to have an open discussion with your partner and state your needs. maybe even set some boundaries. Sometimes she may blame you for things when her hormonal imbalance affects her mood.
So don’t forget about your own needs. Remember, you sacrificed a part of yourself and your life for her. It may sound weird and selfish, but it’s true.
Thinking of yourself isn’t selfish, especially when you care for a chronically ill person. In order to learn how to comfort someone with fibromyalgia, you have to take care of yourself first.
You will not be any help to her if you fall ill or have a mental breakdown when you become overwhelmed.
Even though you will NEVER be able to fully understand your partner’s illness, as you are not in her position, do your best to learn about fibromyalgia. Do your research and tell her what you’ve learned.
It is going to show her respect and how much you care about her, but it may also be helpful for her because there are going to be things she still may not know about.
Remind her, it’s ok to slow down if she doesn’t feel well, is in pain, or has a flare-up of symptoms.
It’s ok for her to rest and listen to her body. Friends and family can support her by not judging when she’s not feeling up to taking part in social occasions or activities.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia can come and go and they can be hard to predict.
Go to her doctor’s appointments! This is a game-changer!
For many years my wife struggled to come out from her appointments with positive results with endometriosis. She was often ignored. The same applies to fibromyalgia disorder.
Both illnesses need a specialist to look at. Endometriosis requires laparoscopic surgery to diagnose it, fibromyalgia requires a visit to a rheumatologist in order to diagnose the disorder.
General practitioners won’t necessarily have knowledge about either of these conditions. Oftentimes, I can honestly say, they won’t really listen to her. Instead of following common sense, they will follow a medical system that works against women.
Only when you (as I did) attempt her appointments, things will begin to move forward.
Don’t shy away from stepping in! It will save you both a lot of time, wasted appointments, arguments, and even money.
Saying that you have to address financial challenges. They will occur.
But I have learned over the last two years that blogging is the best way to solve all financial challenges that fibromyalgia brings.
Since this post isn’t dedicated to blogging but to knowing how to comfort someone with fibromyalgia, I very strongly recommend you to read one of my best posts on the subject of blogging:
On this happy note, I’ll leave you to it.
Think about blogging, it will improve your partner’s life, but it will also make your life and support much easier.
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…