The effect on family support on patients who are suffering from fibromyalgia or chronic pain is an essential factor in the care of these conditions. While only one person in a family may suffer from fibromyalgia or chronic pain. the entire family is affected by it.
Everyday Health says “If a person has a chronic condition, it’s going to affect the people who care about him or her as well,” says Phyllis Talarico, former patient services coordinator of the National Fibromyalgia Association and founder of the North Orange County Fibromyalgia Support Group in Yorba Linda, Calif. “Education is vital for you to understand the symptoms and help them find the right treatment.”
Effective strategies for supporting someone in chronic pain has to start from the one closest to the patient. Part of accepting the situation is managing their expectations. Once the family has identified what is likely to change, allow the patient to grieve for the things that have to fall by the wayside (at least for now) and let them go. Then focus on the areas where you foresee big problems and work toward realistic solutions.
Fibromyalgia Network says that ‘ Open communication among family members is important. The family must learn to discuss all feelings that arise, including frustration, resentment and impatience. Expression must not be restricted. The patient should be comfortable discussing personal needs and feelings with the family, and the converse should also be true. In this connection, it is vital that changes in family roles and responsibilities be discussed openly in order to prevent repressed anger and resentment.’
Of course, it’s not an ideal situation for the family members either, they are not immune to depression. It is frustrating to watch people who are sick and in pain, and yet to have little control over their illness.
Fibro Treatment Group points out that ‘The symptoms may be invisible put the pain is real. If you have fibromyalgia you’ve likely been told “but you don’t look sick.” A common misconception among those without the condition is that because the symptoms aren’t outwardly manifest or visible, they are not real. This is why we sometimes call fibromyalgia an “invisible illness”. While the symptoms may not be obvious and we may not look sick – the illness is very real.’
Finally, there are now thankfully a number of support groups set up around the UK and indeed the world. I guess one of the best places to look other than Google is the NHS website which has a list of support groups in the UK.