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Ending the stigma around invisible illness, positive body advocacy and suicide prevention. 

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Surviving Fibro: What life is like when your trauma manifests into genuine disabling pain...

Updated: Apr 25



Elise Riannen - Founder of Here's to Strength The Self Love Mission. Advocacy Blogger/Entrepreneur.

Imagine your body is an empty glass sitting in front of you on the table.


When you are born, the "glass" is absolutely perfect!


There are no marks, no smudges - crystal clear and completely untouched...


But then instead of water (safety/happiness) you fill it up with soft drink (trauma) - an acidic and toxic substance that we are drawn to, even though we know it may harm us.


We know it's not something that our body should ideally digest, but we are tough and can handle it, so we are left with no choice but to "just cope"...


Until one day, when the glass suddenly overfills and it's not overflowing with water (safety/happiness), it's overflowing with warm, sticky, thick, stain-worthy soft drink (trauma). It's absolutely everywhere and you cannot get away from it...


Elise Riannen - Founder of Here's to Strength The Self Love Mission. Advocacy Blogger/Entrepreneur.

No matter how perfectly strong that glass was before, it just can't cope with that amount anymore - and so although the glass does not break, there is no where else for it all to go and it has no choice left but to overflow...


So if you translate that into what it's like to live with Fibro, it's basically like your glass is completely different to everyone else's. It's not half empty and it's not half full, it is absolutely f*cking overflowing! The ongoing, recurrent, impactful, life-altering trauma that your body had endured up until that point was enough to completely stop you.


It stopped you from experiencing joy, it stopped you from sleep, it stopped you from walking, singing, dancing and it stopped you from love, from joy - from growth.

At the end of the day, we are humans. We aren't immortal. We have a limit. For Fibro sufferers, our limit does not equal death though, we are given a different path, where not only do we feel our emotions, memories and triggers mentally, we now feel it physically too because our glass just cannot take it anymore.


There is absolutely NO WHERE for the pain to go except outwards. Outwards through the central nervous system, through the musculoskeletal system, the bloodstream, the heart, the mind, the body - the soul.


Elise Riannen - Founder of Here's to Strength The Self Love Mission. Advocacy Blogger/Entrepreneur.

We know you don't see it, but when we are smiling we are still agonisingly aware of our pain...


The widespread body aches, tenderness, flares, inability to breathe, eat, drink, function - it's exhausting, but what's more exhausting is the loneliness we feel when our loved ones and peers don't acknowledge it's validity.

You see Fibro sufferers are given the extra task in life where we have no choice but to learn to adapt and cope with an ever overflowing glass every second of every day.


Our glass is not weak for overflowing. If anything, it is strong for not breaking over the pressure we constantly feel within. Pressure to attend events even though our body feels bruised, beat and battered. Pressure to hide our pain levels from our doctors in fear of being labelled a drug seeker and the pressure we put on ourselves to not lose sight of who we once were pre-illness.


So please, I ask of you: be kind to what you cannot see. You just do not know if someone's glass is slowly but surely shattering behind their smile or their seemingly able-looking body. Protect those suffering from taking their last breathe by their own hand, because society wasn't able to "see" that their glass was at it's absolute limit and deserved validation.



*If this content has identified a need further support or you feel you are in crisis, please go to www.herestostrength.com/chronicpainsupport where you will be directed to a global directory of resources aimed to support, educate and connect the community throughout vulnerable times.



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