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Man Explains the Needs of Sufferers

A Christian man suffering with a complex and painful condition called Fibromyalgia, sent a letter to colleagues and friends offering ideas on what a suffer needs and doesn't need from those around him.

Living with chronic pain is like being in a room where a radio is playing at too high a volume, and it can't be turned down or off. It can very distracting and prevent me from focusing on conversations or tasks.
I can look fine, even when pain has me close to tears. Because my symptoms aren't (usually) visible, I'm nervous about what others believe about my health. When you say, "But you look fine to me," I wonder if that means you don't believe I don't feel fine.
Chronic pain is variable. I can't predict how I am going to feel when I wake up—I can't even be sure from minute to minute. As you can imagine, this is one of the most frustrating aspects of chronic pain.
Disability-related depression is common, and I proactively manage it. Sometimes it feels as if my life was hit by a tornado when I wasn't looking. Sometimes I feel grief and sadness for what I can no longer do. Sometimes I forget how strong I am and how much I still have to offer you, my family, friends, and the world. I'm not giving up on me, and I hope you won't either.
I know you want to help by telling me other people's success. Aunt Gertrude's bracelet or your boss's chiropractor are probably terrific. But in all likelihood if you've heard of or tried it, so have I. I have an excellent team of doctors.
When I mention my pain or chronic illness, please don't "skip" over it or look away. We don't have to discuss my health constantly, but I can't ignore it all the time either. Bear with me, accept me as I am, and try to understand my situation. Please grant me the same respect and faith as I make my way down this road I didn't choose but must travel.

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