Fibro and Fabulous - 3 celebs living as a spoonie
Fibromyalgia is a condition which doesn't receive the recognition it deserves considering it is estimated to effect 1 in 20 people, and is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. So why is it not well known? For years it was deemed as imaginary, or branding females as being 'hypochondriacs' in regards to pain due to the overwhelming statistics of the male:female ratio as 1:9. Luckily today, in this day and age, the condition is getting more credibility, albeit still a little stigma surrounding it. Symptoms and intensity differs for each individual, but we all have one thing in common; all of us have been told somewhere along the road that we don't look ill or like someone who suffers from a chronic pain condition. I truly believe that people do not mean to cause offense, but for someone living everyday with an 'invisible illness' this can feel as though we're being invalidated.
I've mentioned it on my home page too, but The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino, which has subsequently led to sufferers of chronic illnesses referring to themselves as 'spoonies', is really a great way for an individual to explain how they're feeling each day; but I passionately believe that awareness needs to be raised for Fibromyalgia (and chronic illnesses) in general for us spoonies to be understood properly. Lady Gaga is probably the most well known celeb with this illness and a great advocate after releasing her documentary, Five Foot Two.
Lady Gaga/Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Releasing her documentary in 2017 brought new attention to the illness that was much needed, the documentary, Five Foot Two, provided a very intimate look at how fibromyalgia impacts her everyday life. Gaga was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia several years ago and believes she developed it due to physical and mental components; PTSD and breaking her hip back in 2013. During one of her worst flare-ups, Gaga unfortunately had to cut short her European tour because of fibromyalgia pain.
"As I get stronger and when I feel ready," she writes, "I will tell my story in more depth, and plan to take this on strongly so I can not only raise awareness but expand research for others who suffer as I do, so I can help make a difference."
Who doesn't love this man, right? But how many of you knew that he is part of the small percentage of men who have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?
Freeman was diagnosed with the condition back in 2008, after he'd been involved in a car crash and has been suffering ever since. He can't sail by himself anymore, or pilot jets that he took up as a hobby before the accident but he never talks of these things as a loss.
"There is a point to changes like these. I have to move on to other things, to other conceptions of myself. I play golf. I still work. And I can be pretty happy just walking the land."
Unfortunately for the fibromyalgia community, he prefers to keep quiet about his condition, which is a shame considering his star quality and extremely high potential to shine the spotlight on this illness. BUT, as with anyone, we need to respect his privacy.
Kirsty Young - Desert Island Discs
Another great advocate for the FM community is Kirsty Young, host of Desert Island Discs. She too, is helping raise awareness of the painful, debilitating condition, that still remains poorly understood.
Kirsty is a great example that Fibromyalgia has been around for a long time, but just wasn't recognised. She stated in an interview the Guardian;
"My fibromyalgia started when I was 24, shortly after the birth of my daughter in November 1993. It took until May 2005 to get a diagnosis. In those 12 years, I was told that my symptoms were due to various types of arthritis, depression and, more than once, that they were all in my head."
Last year, Kirsty made her illness public when she announced she would be taking time off because she has the condition. Since then she has reported to feel much better, still with some flare-ups though. She's made it her mission to raise awareness and help others any way she can, which has led to her volunteering for Fibromyalgia Action UK.
"I believe that every person with fibromyalgia has their part to play in telling the public about the condition and how it affects us. Each of us has different symptoms and is affected to different degrees – and education and awareness-raising is the way to making others understand what we are going through."
From one of Florence Nightingale's diaries;
"There is no part of my life, upon which I can look back without pain."