Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.
When those who don’t have firsthand experience with fibromyalgia hear about the symptoms and side effects you’re experiencing, some may be tempted to brush them off as “normal” or “no big deal.” Oftentimes this isn’t ill-intentioned or meant to minimize your experience – perhaps just an attempt to reassure you everything will be OK – but unfortunately, it can often come across that way.
A common experience among those with fibromyalgia is to have symptoms brushed off because of your age – whether you’re perceived to be “too young” or “too old” to have those symptoms (“growing pains,” anyone?), or whether people assume the symptoms you’re describing are just a natural part of the aging process.
While growing older can certainly bring about some physical changes, no matter which decade of life you’re in, the effects of the aging process are very different than the symptoms and side effects of a chronic illness like fibromyalgia. To help differentiate between the two, we asked our Mighty community to share a symptom of fibro they experience that gets brushed off as a sign they’re “getting older.” If you relate to any of the following, know your experiences are real and valid, and that you are not alone.
Here’s what our community shared with us:
- “First it’s growing pains. Next you are too young to be in that much pain. Finally you are just getting older and that comes with pain.” – Lex F.
- “Brain fog, forgetting the simplest things even though they used to be at the forefront of my mind… One moment having a vast vocabulary to pick and choose from, the next unable to remember the word for ‘couch.’” – Etno R.
- “Joints being weaker by the day.” – Kirsty F.
- “From some people, every single one in relation to the pain and fatigue. And sometimes when I do talk about the symptoms (I should know better by now around some people) I’m also told that talking about them is a sign that I’m getting older.” – Lea J.
- “The fatigue. I get told, ‘Well, you’re getting older and you have four kids’ all the time. No, everything is tired, my soul is tired. That’s not from age.” – Shayla F.W.
- “As a woman, hormone imbalances and thyroid issues as a direct correlation to fibro whacking out my body. They all go hand-in-hand which they are just finding out now. But before it was just like, ‘Well that happens when you are in your 30s’… uggghhh.” – Devin J.
- “I had pain in one hip and one shoulder. My GP said I was getting older. I had just turned 30.” – Victoria C.
- “People tell me when my body hurts head to toe or I’m tired it’s because I’m working. That it’s what real work feels like. I feel like I’m dying when I get home. I can’t even enjoy life.” – Eloise T.
- “Hot flashes, even my mom said I’m going through menopause but my doctor just laughed at that and confirmed it was my fibro.” – Esther E.
- “Fatigue and back pain.” – Paula T.
- “Eye sight. I just turned 40 but my eyes have bothered me for years. I have glasses now, but it’s not for just reading. I can’t see well without them.” – Crystal L.H.
- “Joint pain and fibro fog seem to be the biggest ones the doctors don’t really focus on.” – Taisha A.
- “Brain fog – mainly totally forgetting words and completely losing what I was going to say. Everyone says, ‘Oh we all do that. It’s fine, you’re just paranoid.’ And I’m like noooo! It’s not the same!” – Kaitlyn B.
- “Exhaustion and body aches, especially at the end of the day.” – Julia M.C.
- “Every symptom ever since I was 20…” – Merri E.S.