Chronic Fatigue Support Group: Know More

Written by: Shruthi Chacko – M Sc
(Psychology)

Last updated date : March 28, 2022

Do you feel like people around you do not understand you? Do you often feel lonely? Are people calling you lazy for being tired all the time? It is common for people suffering from Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia to feel like this. They might find it difficult to get involved in social activities. Many of them even go on to leave their jobs. They feel isolated and this tends to impact their daily lives. Many people who are suffering from this condition go through a lot of psychological and emotional distress. Whether you have the most supportive family or friends or you do not have any support, you may find a support group helpful. Read this article to know about the Fibromyalgia/ Chronic Fatigue support group.

Chapter 1:
Why Join a Support Group for Chronic Fatigue?

Only a few people know or understand how it feels to live with chronic pain and extreme tiredness. If they have not experienced it for themselves, it is hard to truly understand. The frustration that comes with this condition can be very distressing. Imagine when you are feeling tired all the time and you find it hard to hold a normal conversation. Let’s face the reality, most people do not like hearing about how terrible a sickness can be. Even if your family and friends are wanting to be supportive, most of the time, people get uncomfortable talking about a condition or illness. Fortunately, nowadays people talk more openly about illnesses. Support groups can help you with your Chronic Fatigue.

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Chapter 2:
Support Is Neccesary

When you meet a person who is suffering from a similar condition as you, it can give you a lot of relief. A feeling that you are not going through this alone. When you can relate to people, it can give a sense of strength and hope that you will get better. Many times you will feel more comfortable talking to a person who is going through a similar experience. Sometimes when you know someone else is dealing with the same condition, you feel that you are not alone. It is very common for people suffering from such conditions to go through emotional ups and downs. It makes the person feel that the other person is understanding what they are feeling and going through. 

Such conditions are the kind where with time you need to learn how to manage these symptoms. The process of doing that can be quite challenging and lonely. Hence, during such times it is very helpful to have a support group for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to help you get through the days that are hard on you. 

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Chapter 3:
How Do I Find a Support Group for Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia?

You can easily find many support groups near your locality or even forums are available online. By finding a support group, you have a safe space to share your feelings and difficulties. Let us look at some tips for you to find the best support group that fits you well:

Do not restrict yourself

Do not restrict yourself to only support groups for Chronic Fatigue in your community health centre. You can easily find many forums online. However, when you join online support groups for Chronic Fatigue, you need to be careful. You need to be cautious as it is online. Most of these groups are not moderated professionally. In fact, you can even consider meeting up with some of the members in real life.

Look For a Support Group that Matches your Identlty

The people suffering from both these conditions are from very diverse populations. Try to join a group that matches your gender, age or other aspects of your identity. This will help you to have a common ground with the members of the group. For example, a 20-year-old diagnosed with Fibromyalgia has different experiences due to age and other factors compared to a 45-year-old who is going through the same condition. Hence, you need to find a Fibromyalgia support group that is fitting well with your identity, to have a better impact on your life.

Start your own Support Group for Chronic Fatigue

Have you ever thought of starting your own group? You can initiate a Fibromyalgia/ Chronic Fatigue support group. You will feel a sense of contribution and responsibility as you are doing something. Are you living in a place where there are no support groups for Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia? Access to such groups is less in rural areas. It can be challenging to find support where there is no awareness. You can start very small. You can begin with having small meetings. It could just be two or three people. You could meet every month or once a week. Look what works the best for all the group members. Also, as both these conditions can be quite draining, always remember to prioritise your health and never compromise your wellbeing. You initiating and being part of the group should empower you, it should not make you feel exhausted.

Give Support Groups Second Chances

Maybe you have previously joined a support group for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and it was not such a great experience. You left the meeting feeling worse than before. This can happen sometimes when you fail to find the group for you that does not match your identity. Also, if you have had a bad experience in the first support group that you joined, it’s fine. I would encourage you to see how another support group suits you. Try noticing the group dynamics and how the leader of the group sets the tone. See if the group resonates with you. You never know, you might find a group that you feel comfortable in and that helps you with your healing journey.

Learning Experience

In fact, some people do not like the very warm and fuzzy atmosphere of Fibromyalgia/ Chronic Fatigue support group. It can make some people feel like the atmosphere is overly positive and not in touch with reality. On the other hand, emotional support is important for people suffering from Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia. Additionally, a sense of emotional and psychological support is very crucial for healing. The support group is a space where you find ways or hacks to find solutions for your daily life problems. 

For example, you may take help from a grocery delivery guy, as it is hard for you to physically go to the grocery shop to buy things. Also, you may learn how to maintain a Chronic Fatigue friendly diet. One of your group members might share their healthy recipes and tricks that they use to improve their lifestyle. Hence, try to keep an open mind. There is a lot that you can learn from your group and be part of it.

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Chapter 4:
You Need Support ( Especially When There Is Stigma)

Both of the conditions, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia are highly misunderstood. Even to this date, many people who suffer from them feel like they are not taken seriously. Especially, when one suffers from it, they may look normal, physically they look healthy. Because of this, people around go on to call them ” Lazy” or ” pretending to have an ” Illness”. It is unfortunate that the stigma is still attached to these conditions. However, in the present times, there is scientific evidence backing up both these conditions. With proper medications, diet, exercise and support, you can improve your life. Hence, when you can feel that there is somebody else out there, who is feeling the same way that you are, it can make a lot of difference. This brings a sense of hope. They start feeling that they belong to a community where their bodies and minds can heal.

You may find it fascinating to read ” How I Beat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?” to understand more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Vs Fibromyalgia and how you can feel more energetic and less fatigued.