Isn’t it interesting that a lot of the comments saying Fibromyalgia can’t be a real disease and it’s all in people’s heads have their reasoning as being “it’s only suffered by women, and overweight ones at that.”
It’s almost like if something’s suffered mostly by women then it MUST all be in their heads, it clearly CAN’T have any legitimacy…especially overweight women. I feel like sometimes an overweight woman can have ANY illness and it’s deemed to be their own fault.
Got cancer? Well, you’re overweight what did you expect.
Got hit by a car? Well, you clearly didn’t get out of the way fast enough because you’re overweight.
Got fibromyalgia/CFS? Well, it’s mostly suffered by overweight women so it can’t possibly be a real thing.
Half the time fat women can’t even get a diagnosis. We’re told every symptom we have is caused by being fat and losing weight is the cure-all. As if being fat exempts you from ever being “really” sick.
Doctors act like the only health problem a fat person could ever have is just fatness itself. ”You don’t have fibromyalgia: you’re just fat and lazy,” “you don’t have a connective tissue disorder, you’re just fat and lazy,” “you don’t have cancer, you’re just fat and lazy.” The answer is always, “Come back when you’ve lost weight and we’ll see if there’s anything wrong with you.”
The key here, is the dehumanization of fat people. Fat people can’t have any “legitimate” health problems because chronic illnesses and disabilities only affect real people, and fat people are seen as sub-human, even by doctors.
When they tell you to lose weight, they’re really telling you to prove your humanity by conforming to the size a person is “supposed to be” and then maybe they’ll consider you worth tests, diagnosis, treatment, and basic human consideration. Until then, you’re not properly “person-sized” so you must not be a person.
And yes, it is also a feminist issue because it does affect women more than men. One of the terms used for an “imaginary” illness is a “hysterical” illness, which comes from the root word meaning “uterus.” In medical history, having a uterus was linked to mental illness. Hysterical in medical terms usually means imaginary or exaggerated. Because most doctors were men, so if a woman came in with a disease he didn’t understand or recognize, there’s no way he can admit that she might know something about medicine that he doesn’t know, so therefore, she’s making it all up.
TL;DR The medical field has a long history of believing that women are liars and fat people are not really people.
In the Kingdom of the Sick: A Social History of Chronic Illness in America
by Laurie Edwards(via rainbowrosepetals)
Earlier in her life, Meadow Jones saw a doctor for excruciating neck pain. After a normal x-ray, knowing she couldn’t afford an MRI, he dismissed her pain and assumed it had no physical cause. A decade later, she was able to afford an MRI. As she explains,
During the junior year of my undergraduate term, when I was already in my mid 30s, it became apparent from the MRI I finally received that I was being paralyzed by the crushed vertebrae from my car accident, and that lupus (also suffered by my father) and fibromyalgia (ditto, my mother) had advanced these injuries to the point of emergency. I remember that the doctor who finally read my MRI scans cried — she excused herself to the other room, and I watched her eyes tear as she left.