How to Understand and Accept Fibromyalgia

It can be hard to accept fibromyalgia, but if you’ve been diagnosed with, you’ll have to learn how to.

A key factor in learning to accept fibromyalgia is to accept that it is a chronic disease, but that you can still minimize the level of pain as much as possible and discover that you can still enjoy life, no matter how painful your body is.

The pain may not entirely go away, but learning how to fulfill your life beyond the pain will come only after accepting the fibromyalgia.

Understanding Acceptance

There’s no denying that accepting fibromyalgia will be a very tough mountain to climb. Whereas some people are able to accept it immediately and move on with life, others become depressed with the outlook for their life.

Not getting enough sleep and waking up with fatigue is unbearable. It’s even more unbearable not being able to perform basic daily activities due to the pain. So how can you turn an unbearable life into a fulfilling one?

In order to do so, you have to begin the walk towards accepting what you have. But because you can begin that process, you have to understand what acceptance is.

Understand that fibromyalgia will change your life. That can be hard to accept, but it’s something that you have to know. You also shouldn’t avoid going through a grieving process. Whenever anything sad happens to anyone, there should always be some time set aside to grieve.

Once you get through this initial grieving period, you can then begin to understand acceptance. The first part of understanding acceptance is knowing that there is a critical difference between accepting you have fibromyalgia and surrendering to it.

Accepting you have fibromyalgia means that you can still achieve your life goals but by realistic standards.

Learning to accept fibromyalgia involves a lot of strategies. You’ll need to take action both physically and mentally.

This means to accept that it is unlikely that your pain will become completely erased, to shift your focus from the pain to the good aspects of life, and to know that accepting your pain does not mean that you have failed.

This means adopting some changes in your behavior and stop searching for treatments that can supposedly eliminate all of the pain you feel.

Walking to Acceptance

Now that you are able to understand why you need to accept the pain, you can now work on walking to that acceptance.

Yes, part of accepting fibromyalgia is accepting that you will be a pain for a good part of your life, and yes, that may sound pessimistic. But it’s also realistic.

We are simply not at the scientific moment where we have treatments that can completely eliminate fibromyalgia pain, even though scientists and medical researchers are working as hard as they can to find a cure.

Walking towards accepting fibromyalgia means that you’ll have to set goals in front of yourself.

The first goal you should make is to understand that there is, unfortunately, no cure for fibromyalgia, but that you can still find a combination of specific treatments that can lessen the pain as much as possible.

This will improve your quality of life and how you feel. Examples of goal you can set include taking some approved drugs by your doctor, dietary supplements or changes, exercising, and physical therapies or massages or meeting with a chiropractor.

Just because there is no official cure for fibromyalgia does not mean that you can’t lessen the pain as much as possible. Therefore, the first goals that you set should be ones that can lessen that pain, and these goals should be set with your doctor.

You can also always turn to mental or behavioral therapy. Along with getting help for the physical pain of fibromyalgia, another goal to set is to get help for the mental aspect as well.

Even if you’re taking all of the physical treatments to alleviate the pain that you can, as long as you don’t take off the mental side of things, the physical pain will only seem to get worse and worse.

One of the best goals you can set is to shift your attention from the physical pain to non-pain. For example, a few times each day, just sit down and relax.

Don’t think about the pain you feel. Only think about what doesn’t hurt. The more times you do this, the more gradually you’ll be able to focus on the non-pain at various intervals throughout the day.

If you are unable to relax and avoid thinking about the pain, try focusing on hobbies that will distract you from the pain. Examples include painting, reading, watching movies or even playing video games.

Not thinking about the main means of pulling your brain from being engaged with the pain and instead focusing on what you’re doing.

You Have Not Failed

Remember, accepting and walking to acceptance does not mean that you have failed. On the contrary, accepting you have fibromyalgia signifies the direct opposite of failure.

You are not giving in to fibromyalgia; rather, you are simply adapting to it.

Learn to cope and manage with your fibromyalgia. You may be determined to keep it from changing your life, but if you continue to live a stressful life and trying to recover from each day in agony, you won’t feel any better.

Know that you have to make at least some changes to manage your fibromyalgia rather than fight it.  If you can do that, you will make the necessary changes to improve.

You don’t have to quit your job or anything to remove that kind of stress, but setting goals in front of yourself like we discussed to manage your fibromyalgia is the course of action you should be taking.

If you can learn to manage your fibromyalgia and change how you live your life, you will bring back the same quality of life you felt before.

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  1. Great blog post! You definitely highlight the importance of accepting fibromyalgia. I definitely agree that by accepting it, and learning how to live with it, and even putting a plan into place, to help you cope with fibromyalgia, you will be happier and more able to overcome any challenges you come across.

  2. kathleen wallace

    It is REALLY difficult to accept fibro. I am doing things that help like losing weight and seeing the dr etc, but it’s frustrating to know that going to the doctor and sitting there and moving around on my day off(I am a cashier) can contribute to pain…but knowing without treatment it will get worse. Thanks for a good article and something to think about! It’s a process but I am working towards acceptance.

  3. Hannah Stein

    This was such a moving post and I think can be applicable to anyone with a chronic illness or serious life change. You make some great points on how to deal with the shock and how to overcome it to lead a fulfilling life. I find for me, if I’m faced with a huge life change like this doing as much research as I can and speaking to specialists can make it far less scary because I fully understand it, what my limitations are and the best ways to combat it. I think being fully informed can make the world of difference, so in those first stages I would say that’s pretty crucial. As you say, I think it’s also very important to get help if you feel you need it. From personal experience, I can say that there is absolutely no shame in speaking to someone and it can only help you.

  4. Susan Gray

    I eventually had to quit my job as a teacher and had difficulty identifying who I was as a person. I then realized that I was still the living, caring, giving, compassionate person I always was. I had years of pain so severe it was life altering. But have learned to manage my life to prevent the severity of pain.
    I have learned to think of my many blessings on life and to concentrate on what is important and what NEEDS TO be done. I have learned to sew. Make wreaths, make bulletin boards for church, draw and paint. I have just been drawing for a few months and painting for about a month, but those activities keep my focus on what I enjoy instead of the pain and fatigue. Fibro had changed my life, but although I would love to no longer have pain and fatigue I wouldn’t want to go back to the person I once was. I would want to go forward with the life lessons that having Fibro has taught me.

  5. For me this is a load of rubbish, I’m now at stage 6 and getting worse! Iv done all what was said in this post by accepting grieving exercise meditation hydrotherapy diet and nothing has worked! Iv gone from bad to hideous and now in a wheelchair and constantly in absolute agony 24-7 I can’t even concentrate on hobbies because I’m to uncomfortable. So although this post has worked for some it defo hasn’t for me. Even all the hard drugs I take don’t take the pain down enough for me to enjoy life! Most of the time I just want to sleep and never wake up 🙁

    • I have done all of this acceptance stuff but since I’ve gone Into menopause the fibromyalgia pain has increased 10 fold…. Along with every other possible symptom that goes with fibromyalgia!! I am really really struggling with it right now NOTHING helps even just going for a short walk makes it that much worse and I have had increased nausea and dizziness…. So good pep talk article but this just does not work for everyone!!!!

    • Nikkie, I agree with you. Mine just keeps getting worse. I have tried everything, and now only rely on medications. For sleep, for pain. And they don’t always help. There are many days I just want to sleep and never wake up. I am not me anymore. I’m jealous when I see 90 year olds in better shape. Hugs to you.

    • Marisol johnson

      I am so sorry for your pain. I too have pain this bad, it is a very lonely existance!!!

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