There is still a lot of misunderstanding around fibromyalgia because up until recently, the condition wasn’t widely accepted as a real illness. However, with more and more celebrities coming out and disclosing their fibromyalgia diagnosis, the condition has once again come to the limelight. The more vocal celebrities are about their struggle with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions, the more awareness of the condition is raised, helping others who suffer.
In 2013, American actor Morgan Freeman went public with his diagnosis of fibromyalgia following a car accident in 2009. Freeman has described his symptoms as including “excruciating pain up and down the arm.”
In 2018 pop star Lady Gaga famously opened up about her struggle with fibromyalgia which she described as “a cyclone of anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, and panic disorder, all of which sends the nervous system into overdrive, and then you have nerve pain as a result”.
Actor Michael James Hastings, best known for his role as Captain Mike on the political drama series The West Wing, has come to terms with having fibromyalgia having had it from a young age and says “I have learned to accept that some days I am not going to be able to keep up with my schedule or other peoples’ schedules and I just need to rest and ‘lighten up.’”
Fibromyalgia is not just a modern-day illness. Based on historical documentation, various figures throughout history may have also suffered from chronic pain. Frida Kahlo, Florence Nightingale, and the Bible’s Job are all believed to have demonstrated signs of fibromyalgia.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia:
Many celebrities, singers, and famous actors describe their battle with fibromyalgia as an invisible illness. It is a real condition. Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome of chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue and is thought to be caused by abnormalities in the pain pathways in the central nervous system there is a sense, according to most patients, of ‘aching all over.
As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:
- increased sensitivity to pain
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- muscle stiffness
- difficulty sleeping
- problems with mental processes (known as “fibro–fog”), such as problems with memory and concentration
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating
Even famous people living with fibromyalgia and chronic illness struggle. Conditions impact their ability to work, just like everyone else. But living with fibromyalgia means making adjustments. Symptoms such as immense pain, fatigue, and Brain fog can be extremely challenging but you don’t have to put your life on hold because of them. It is important to take an active role in managing your condition, from pain relief, to diet and exercise, to stress management, to acceptance. Taking control will help boost your self-esteem and quality of life. Celebrities have found that once they are open about their condition, those around them are more supportive, and many join a fibromyalgia support group for advice from other fibromyalgia warriors.
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