Photo: Singers Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. Source: Billboard.
Everyone with a chronic disease would agree that support from friends, family, and people who matter can, more or less, help ease the pain and discomfort, either physically, mentally, or emotionally, brought by their condition. This is why more and more support groups and communities are built and organized around diseases like fibromyalgia, to help fight the pain that is typically brought on by the disease.
So, when Queen B (And yes, we are talking about Beyoncé) showed her support to her friend and fellow artist, Lady Gaga, their fans and other sufferers witnessed just how critical support is when facing fibromyalgia. It also showed that even the smallest act of kindness could make an impact on a person's mood and spirit.
Lady Gaga's fibromyalgia diagnosis
When pop superstar, Lady Gaga, suddenly started cancelling her tours and shows, many people, especially the critics, were speculating the cause of the cancellation. It was back in 2013 when Lady Gaga announced that she suffered from an invisible illness, which caused her to experience severe body pain. Because fibromyalgia was not known by many at that time, people didn’t have the slightest understanding of what it really feels like to suffer from the invisible pain.
Like many other artists, Lady Gaga fought with her condition silently. She wasn’t completely absent from the music scene though and continued to record music for her fans.
In September 2017, the talented singer-songwriter had finally found the courage to open up about her condition and her struggles in coping with the pain to her fans. She tweeted to her fans that she aimed to help raise awareness about the illness that she had, which was fibromyalgia. She also invited everyone to watch her documentary about the said disease and to get an inside look at how she struggled with this chronic and invisible pain.
The tweet stated, "In our documentary the #chronicillness #chronicpain I deal w/ is #Fibromyalgia I wish to help raise awareness & connect people who have it."
This tweet had prompted a discussion about fibromyalgia, and people who suffered the same pain like Gaga also found the courage to open up about their struggles. For her part, Gaga was pleased by the positive reaction she received and wanted other fibromyalgia patients to come forward so that, together, they can share both the helps and hurts.
Beyoncé's support for a fellow musician
It is quite surprising how a simple act can help lift a person’s mood. The moment Lady Gaga opened up about her condition, other celebrities had sent their support to the singer. One of these celebrities is Lady Gaga’s close friend, Beyoncé. Queen B sent Gaga thoughtful gifts to help her cope with the disease, which Lady Gaga later posted on her Instagram page.
The comfy hoodie that Beyoncé sent had kept Gaga warm and allowed her to be outside despite the chilly weather. Beyoncé had also sent roses with an anecdote to remind Gaga to continue fighting and continue being an inspiration to others.
These simple acts of encouragement and support may be nothing to others, but for people with chronic diseases like fibromyalgia, these simple acts mean so much. Beyoncé’s gifts to Gaga are more than just material things. The underlying message beneath those lovely roses and comfy hoodie is a silent “I am always here when you need me,” an assurance that a lot of chronic disease patients need.
How fibromyalgia affects the body
Fibromyalgia is a type of chronic illness that causes severe pain and exhaustion. According to statistics, about 80-90 percent of the patients are women. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia has no known cure. The best thing the patient can do is to lessen the pain and discomfort brought by the illness. People with fibromyalgia often experience soreness all over their body, and certain spots on the body are tender and painful. These spots include the upper back, shoulders, chest, neck, waistline, knees, and elbows.
Moreover, aside from this unpredictable pain, people with fibromyalgia also suffer from headaches most of the time, which only adds to the pain and soreness of the body. Gastrointestinal problems are another concern raised by a lot of patients. It is common to experience abdominal pain and bloating. In general, fibromyalgia can affect a person’s body, from head to toe.
Knowing how the illness can greatly affect the patient’s body, one should offer nothing but support and understanding to the patient. Because the pain is invisible, people with fibromyalgia may look well and healthy, but the level of pain they feel inside is incomparable.
How to show support to people who suffer from chronic pain
If you have a family member who suffers from chronic pain or know someone who has fibromyalgia (FM), then the following tips will help you support them better. Let’s check them out below:
- It is best if you can accompany the patient to consultations and check-ups with the doctors. However, do not impose or force yourself. Kindly asked for their permission to tag along and respect their decision if they refuse. Doing this will let them feel that you care about them without overstepping their rights of privacy. Don’t worry though, they will open up once they are ready to do so.
- It is also best that you know and understand all the medications that they take. This will allow you to care for the patient in cases when an emergency happens. Moreover, you will know what to do if the medications have side effects.
- Educate yourself with different pain management strategies. You can take lessons from certified clinics or read information from books. It would also help if you reach out to support groups for the families of fibromyalgia patients.
- Be a good listener. More often than not, misunderstandings and conflicts start because no one listens. Try to be the bigger person and take the time to listen to FM patients. They usually feel like people misunderstood their condition, but you don’t necessarily have to offer advice. Listening is enough.
- Think positive. The patient has thought all the bad and negative things already. Being the positive thinker in the household can help them a lot. Encourage positive interactions with them as this will help lift up their moods as well.
- Last, but not the least, is never forget to take care of yourself. The FM patient needs you; hence, you should be healthy and fit to be able to cope with their needs. You need physical, mental, and emotional health like the patient in order to be able to properly support them. Research showed that family members of FM patients also suffer a lot while caring for their loved one. They usually suffer from depression, loneliness, and a weak immune system. Don’t fall victim to these things. Instead, take extra steps in caring for yourself as much as you care for the FM patient.