How to explain fibromyalgia to a man? Things you wish you knew sooner!
How to explain fibromyalgia to a man


How to explain fibromyalgia to a man?

How to explain fibromyalgia to a man? Things you wish you knew sooner!

Last updated: 2/3/2021

 

Why this post can give you the answer to the question of how to explain fibromyalgia to a man?

I’m a man whose wife has fibromyalgia, which she developed after her diagnosis of stage IV, deep infiltrating endometriosis.

Only 20% of fibromyalgia sufferers are men, the vast majority are women, consisting of 80%.

This is why this post focuses on giving advice to females who suffer from this condition.

To answer the question:

Not all men are good listeners, choose a good time to explain to him when he’s not busy, so he can focus on what you have to say.

Be open with him, don’t hide your feelings, talk openly about your symptoms, how they affect you, but also how they might affect him.

Explain to him that your symptoms of widespread pain, brain fog, fatigue are unexpected, and can change both of your plans last minute.

Explain to your man the importance of being gentle during sex, which not always you might feel like agreeing to. Both of you will have to find a way to work around it.

Remember that you’re not the only one affected here – he shares your life with you and you need to be supportive of him.

Be sure to listen to what he has to say. He will have questions, try to answer all of them. Be patient with him.

Your man will most likely experience similar emotions to yours. These include anger and frustration, but additionally helplessness and hopelessness.

Table of Contents:


How do men think?

Simply put, we want to fix things. However, we cannot fix someone else’s health.

The best way a man can help a woman in such a situation is by changing himself rather than trying to “fix” his partner’s health.

Women think differently from men therefore our male understanding of things will be different from yours.

Women see the bigger picture, men don’t. We see have a tunnel-vision.

Women tend to talk more than men, therefore you can express things in more detail than us. You re-visit your memories more than us.

You are more tuned into your emotions than we are, and you are more empathetic than men.

Unlike you ladies, we are visual creatures.

Why all that matters?

Because if we think differently, we tend to explain things differently, since our understanding of things isn’t always the same.

That applies to fibromyalgia too. So, Let’s begin with an explanation of what is that thing?

Worry Head Printable

FREE Printables for Her:

  • Fibromyalgia symptoms checklist
  • Endometriosis period pain tracker
  • Endo-belly
  • Body pain chart


What is a syndrome?

Explaining fibromyalgia to people who don’t understand it isn’t easy.

But before we answer how to explain fibromyalgia to a man we need to start from the basics.

You may have noticed, I haven’t described fibromyalgia as a chronic illness or chronic disease.

What is a syndrome?

The definition of the syndrome is pretty straightforward – it’s a collection of signs and symptoms known to frequently appear together.

People often describe fibromyalgia as a chronic illness or a chronic disease.

Chronic means that it isn’t something that goes away but it’s, in fact, life-lasting. This is why it’s easier for people to call it an illness or disease.

However, the first thing you should say when you’re asked how to explain fibromyalgia to a man, is that it’s a syndrome.

The severity of symptoms might change for better or for worse, however, fibromyalgia syndrome lasts for your entire life.

It can be manageable in many cases with lifestyle changes, medication, diet, and physical activity.

It’s important to remember that every condition is different and that everyone will experience it differently.

What is fibromyalgia then?

Simply put, fibromyalgia is a syndrome that causes widespread pain and extreme tiredness. However, it’s far more complex than a simple explanation.

We see so much information about fibromyalgia from the point of view of those who suffer from it.

We also see doctors speak about it in clinical terms which sometimes may be difficult to understand.

It is rare to see information from the perspective of spousal caregivers, and we need to understand how you (the sufferer) feel.

My blog does just that. I mainly focus on the male perspective. So, ladies, you need to explain it to him in a male sort of way of understanding.

This is why I’m here.

Fibromyalgia is still poorly understood by men.

Sufferers of fibromyalgia know all too well what it’s like to live with this life-changing condition.

It can be difficult for a man who never suffered from it to understand fibromyalgia.

How to explain fibromyalgia to a man 1


Understanding fibromyalgia...

How does your man handle your fibromyalgia?

Is he like a knight in shining armor providing every little thing you need, or is he more like a typical guy?

While some people have heard fibromyalgia by now, it doesn’t mean they know what it is.

There’s a lot of information out there, it can be confusing.

Here’s what you need to know…

Health conditions in general, are classified as either disease (illnesses) or syndromes.

Diseases have a specific, biological cause and have a specific set of symptoms.

Health conditions have no definite biological cause, therefore, are categorized as syndromes.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues.

It’s believed that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain and spinal cord process painful and non-painful signals.

It means that you experience pain without any trauma. But is it true?

Not entirely.

There might be no visible injury or damage to your body but the trauma still occurs.

Where? What? How?

The traumatic event doesn’t have to be visible or immediate.

Aside from visible physical trauma, there are emotional and mental ones, and no – they do not necessarily happen immediately.

Trauma can last and even have a delayed reaction.

Dr. Gabor Maté gives a fantastic explanation to it.

I would strongly advise you to read his book “When the Body Says No – The Cost of Hidden Stress”. You will find there everything you need to know about the mind-body connection.

Chronic illnesses originate from childhood trauma. However, fibromyalgia is a syndrome and can be additionally a side effect of a physical illness.

Symptoms often begin after an event, such as physical trauma, surgery, infection, or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Guess what… my wife developed fibromyalgia after her diagnosis of deep infiltrating endometriosis, soon after she got an infection in the recovery room.

Her diagnosis was a psychological trauma, her infection – physical. Both combined in the period of only two days caused her to develop OCD.

Her Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder meant to “protect” her from harm. Instead, as it does, OCD brought her extreme anxiety and depression.

Anxiety over the unknown future she can’t control, and depression over the loss of her “old” self.

You see, my wife is yet another proof that trauma is the cause of fibromyalgia disorder.

How to explain fibromyalgia to a man 2


Remember how different we are!

Mother nature designed men to fix things. We constantly want to fix it. If we cannot do it, we still want to prove ourselves wrong.

It’s not about you. Ladies, we aren’t stubborn to go against you, we cannot help it, we need time to adjust to changes.

You can’t change a man’s habit of fixing. However, we cannot fix someone else’s health.

The best way a man can help a woman in such a situation is by changing himself rather than trying to “fix” his partner’s health.

Women think differently from men, they see the bigger picture, we don’t. We are visual creatures. Women are more tuned into your emotions than we are, and you are more empathetic than men.

Most of us men aren’t good listeners. We look at things in a more simple way and so try to use simple language, not medical. choose a good time to explain to him when he’s relaxed and most focused.

You need to be open with him from the beginning, don’t hide your feelings even if he gets upset. He has to chew it.

Sooner or later he will find out what you’re going through, but if you tell him in advance, gradually, he’ll know what to expect, and to some extend, he’s going to try and prepare himself for a situation.


Explain your symptoms.

When you talk to him, talk openly about your symptoms, explain:

  • how they affect you
  • how they might affect him
  • whether they are physical, emotional, mental
  • your symptoms of widespread pain
    brain fog and loss of focus
  • fatigue which can be unexpected
  • the importance of being gentle during sex

Remember that you’re not the only one affected by fibromyalgia, your man shares your life with you and so the syndrome. You need to be supportive of him.

Try to be sure to listen to what he has to say. He will definitely have plenty of questions, try to answer all of them. Be very patient with him. He might repeat his questions many times…

Even though he doesn’t suffer from fibromyalgia, your man will most likely experience similar emotions to yours. These include anger and frustration, but additionally helplessness and hopelessness.

Explain to him that every day will be different but he should expect you to feel the most dominant fibromyalgia symptoms:

Chronic pain, which is widespread and varies in type and intensity. This involves muscles, joints, headaches, etc.

Fatigue, which does not mean being simply tired. It means that you feel knocked down as if you were run over by a truck!

Tell him how exhausted you might feel, and that it can last for days, weeks, or even much longer.

Sleep problems, difficulties in falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Also, not feeling rested even after you slept throughout the night.

Explain that he should expect you to have sleepless, broken nights.

Also that you will experience during the day issues with concentration, memory, and even forgetfulness and difficulty in completing simple tasks.

The last symptoms are often referred to as brain fog. Besides that, digestive issues are also very common. So are anxiety and depression.

In regards to depression, as you can imagine, dealing with chronic and relentless pain will always leave a mark.

This is why you have to explain to your man that you may feel frustrated at best and potentially depressed at your worst. Depression can develop after feeling overwhelmed, unsupported, and hopeless.

Worry Head Printable

FREE Printables for Her:

  • Fibromyalgia symptoms checklist
  • Endometriosis period pain tracker
  • Endo-belly
  • Body pain chart


Summary.

Let’s summarise how to explain fibromyalgia to a man?

  1. Be open with your man. Tell him how you feel.
  2. Explain to him your symptoms.
  3. Remind him that he may feel similarly.
  4. Be patient with him. He may have questions and repeat them sometimes.
  5. Remember that men think differently than women.
  6. Explain that your symptoms aren’t only physical, but also emotional and psychological.
  7. Your symptoms will come unexpectedly.
  8. Tell him about the importance of being gentle during sex.

Signature Lucjan

Who am I?

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 for those who support their partners… [read more]


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