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Fibromyalgia Advice: What I Wish I Knew About Chronic Illness Recovery

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia nearly 20 years ago. At the time, I remember feeling incredibly overwhelmed and desperate to regain control and return to my normal state of health. Sound familiar? It’s not any different for the person who was diagnosed just last week and feels overwhelmed, desperate, and alone.

For me, not every day is symptom-free. Finding my lifestyle rhythm and balance has made a profound difference in my life to enjoy each day while living with chronic illness.

I am not here to tell you it will be a simple 1, 2, 3, and you are recovered from chronic pain and fatigue. You are unique – recovery from chronic illness is as individual as you are. Finding your own recovery path can feel daunting, so let's start right where you are.

Is Chronic Illness Recovery Possible?

We think so, but we also need to give a disclaimer: chronic illness recovery doesn't necessarily mean a life without symptoms. "Having no symptoms" is a really narrow definition of recovery. Instead, we believe that recovery is living life to the fullest despite your symptoms.

By definition, chronic illnesses are long-lasting and can impact a person for their lifetime. If you are sick with a cold or break your arm, you can expect to recover and be symptom-free in a relatively short amount of time. Recovery with chronic illness isn't like that.

Maybe we don't recover from chronic illness, but what if you recovered with chronic illness by not letting pain and fatigue hold you back? Our free interactive step-by-step guide is a great tool to get you started on your path to recovery (beginning where you're at right now)!

Advice From One Chronic Illness Warrior to Another

The journey to defining recovery for yourself can be frustrating and challenging. We understand, and so do other chronic illness fight club warriors.

Before writing this post, we asked members of our Fibro Fight Club what they wish they knew about chronic illness recovery and compiled a snapshot of advice from their comments. Even though the list is not all-encompassing, we wanted to share how others have defined recovery for themselves to thrive despite living with chronic illness.

Get a Diagnosis

  • Find a doctor you trust and get a proper diagnosis. Find the best doctor you can; seek out a doctor whose specialty aligns with your diagnosis (or a combination of diagnoses).

  • Symptoms vary from person to person. Search out medical professionals who understand what you are going through.

"Take the tests, get a proper diagnosis and hang in there and learn everything you need to know."

Find Your Community

  • Seek out others to support your journey, not hinder it.

  • There will be days when the feelings of fear and aloneness overwhelm you, and having a support system available will be essential.

  • Engaging with a supportive group of people will help build and sustain the confidence you need to keep on track.

  • "Join support groups as I did. They have become my absolute lifeline."

"Talk to like-minded people and find the network that suits you. Never be afraid to get advice."

Practice Acceptance and Mindfulness

  • Recovery takes time – be relentless, resilient, and patient.

  • Accept that you will have good (restful) days and bad (painful) days.

  • "Treat yourself to self-love."

  • "You can live with it and cope. Don’t let it define you. You will be okay when you find how best to cope with it. You will realize we are all warriors!"

  • "It’s not selfish, be who you want to be, otherwise you will become just the disease."

"After the initial diagnosis, let it sink in and then start the journey to becoming a warrior."

Learn to Pace

  • Finding the balance of activities within each day is difficult. Listening to our body is the best way to gauge whether or not we are doing too much and need to slow down.

  • Explore and implement daily strategies to calm the central nervous system like moderate exercise and relaxation techniques.

"Daily decisions impact my future flares."

Where Do You Go From Here?

Before any actions can be taken to begin your journey to chronic illness recovery, ask yourself this question: Do I believe I can recover?

Believing recovery is possible is a critical step in the process. Belief and hope lead to the willingness and confidence to discover your recovery path.

Once your mind is set to recover as you define it, seek out resources to help you along the way, just like this free resource, Your Secret Weapon to Chronic Illness Recovery (yep, the one I wish I had 20 years ago!).



Fibromyalgia is not a "one size fits all" diagnosis. What works for some doesn't work for others. The information provided is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Should you have any health-related questions, please consult your physician or other health care provider promptly.


Teresa is a certified dietary manager, wellness coach, fellow fibromyalgia warrior, and co-founder of Fight Against Fibro. We're on a mission for a life with less stress and more energy.


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