If someone you love has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you might feel helpless, but you don’t have to be. Friends play an essential role in helping those who live with a chronic illness. It’s important that people with fibromyalgia feel truly cared about and that they are not forgotten, many people with this invisible illness are left feeling isolated; fibro affects mobility, lifestyle and independence. They need your support.
How to support a friend with fibromyalgia:
- Ask, “Do you want company watching TV or a movie? I could come over for a couple of hours.”
- Burn a CD of your friend’s favourite songs or a selection of relaxing music.
- Just sit and listen to how your friend is feeling. You may not fully understand how he or she feels, but let them know that you are there for them.
- When you’re at the supermarket call your friend and say, “I’m here, what do you need?”
- Offer to help with housework.
- Know that fibromyalgia varies in severity from day to day, or even hour to hour. Things they could do yesterday may not be the same as what they can do today. Don’t question that.
- Enjoy a home pampering session together – face masks, manicure, pedicure etc.
- Laughter is healthy – keep it light and make jokes.
- Don’t criticize them for whining on a rough day.
- Arrange for a hairdresser/manicurist/pedicurist to do a house call for your friend.
- Volunteer to watch his or her children. Take the children out to a movie to give your friend a break.
- Don’t gossip about others. They will then worry about what you say about them to others.
- Remember, just because someone else has the same illness doesn’t mean he or she will have the same experience. Don’t compare your friend’s fibromyalgia with your sister’s friend’s boyfriend’s aunt.
- Buy a magazine subscription for them. Crossword puzzles or Sudoku or fashion or food or crafting magazines are great choices.
- Ask, “What do you wish people understood about how fibromyalgia affects you?”
- Don’t make your friend feel guilty about things that they cannot do.
- Bring board games or a deck of cards – have some old fashioned fun!
- Send an email or letter just to let them know you are thinking about them.
- Don’t tell your friend about a cure that you read online.
- Bake cookies, muffins or banana bread to show that you are thinking of them.
- Buy a craft kit, such as a cross stitch kit or a sewing kit. It is good for your friend to feel creative and productive.
- Offer to accompany your friend to their medical appointment.
- Create a fruit basket, it’s such a thoughtful and healthy gift.
- Prepare your friend’s favourite comfort food. Your efforts will be really appreciated.
- If your friend doesn’t want to go out or doesn’t want company, don’t take it personally. Sometimes they might just want to be alone.
- Put together a fibromyalgia cuddle basket. Your friend will love it.
- Remember your friend is still the person you know and love, they are not defined by their illness. Your friend needs your support and understanding.
Do you have any further ideas on how to support a friend with fibromyalgia?
Keep smiling 🙂