Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia (FMS) are debilitating and misunderstood chronic illnesses that can strike people of both sexes and all age groups. Partners, friends, and relatives of people with CFS or FMS may feel confused and helpless, not knowing what to say or how to offer support.
Perhaps chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia has stricken your spouse, your child, your sibling, or a good friend. Whatever the case, it’s difficult for you to see a loved one in such pain. The illness presents new challenges to your relationship, as well. It may also worsen any existing relationship problems.
You want to be positive and helpful, but you don’t know what to do or say. Maybe you’ve tried to be supportive and find that your loved one reacts in frustration. What should you do?
First Understand the Condition
Most people know very little, if anything, about CFS and FMS. Both conditions involve much more than “a little fatigue” or “a few aches and pains.” If you have a friend or loved one with one of these conditions, you should learn as much as possible.
Do not invalidate
Sometimes people think that individuals with CFS or FMS are lazy, exaggerating their symptoms, or suffering from a psychiatric condition. They may mistakenly believe that their loved one just needs to push herself a little harder. People with CFS or FMS often feel invalidated
Chronic illness presents many relationship challenges at a time when comfort and social support are of utmost importance.