So here's my list of "side-effects":
1. Unexpected outbursts of frustrations - you're not really mad at your family member, you just are frustrated with all your pain & your tolerance is shorter than normal people. I find myself snapping at the kids or at Hubby. I think I hate this the most. I don't want to snap at them! I need to figure out how to handle the frustration better.
2. Less sympathy for others - I find that since I'm hurting so much that I find it hard to be sympathetic to my Hubby & kids when they get hurt. I just want them to "buck-up" and handle it because I do. I forget that what seems like a little pain to me may be major pain for them.
3. Sudden cancellation of activities - This is really hard on the kids. We plan some fun outing & then I get hit with a flare-up & we have to cancel that outing. Major disappointment on their parts. I find that I tend to keep activities a secret from them in case I get feeling bad & have to cancel.
4. "Are you feeling okay mom?" - A child should never have to be worried about how mom is feeling. It breaks my heart to hear them say this when I know that many times my answer is "no, I'm not." It thrills me when I can say "yes, lets go do ________."
5. Hubby gets the shaft! - many times, Hubby has to pick up the slack left by my not feeling good. He has to cook, clean & take care of kids. On top of all that, his needs go unmet because I can barely function so there's no way I can do my wifely duties! (I hate this as much as he does!) Plus he often can't even vent to me about his day because I'm in no mood to handle his blowing off steam.
6. Appearing aloof or non-caring to friends - many times I'm in no mood to talk when my pain levels are up so I'm very quiet or avoid people giving them the illusion that I'm not interested in them. I also have trouble focusing when my pain levels are up so the conversations I do have may be disconnected & nonsensical. Also, the more people in the area talking the worse my focus becomes.
7. Loneliness - for me & my kids - Many times it's easier to stay home, not have people over, not engage. I find I don't want to let others down by having to cancel or not being totally there. So it's often easier to just isolate myself. Of course, I end up isolating the kids some times.
8. Being tight lipped about how I am feeling or not seeking help from others - This kind of goes along with 6 & 7. I've been around people who constantly complain about their pain, who seem to think they are the only ones that hurt or think that everyone else should help them & do stuff for them. I so do not want to be this person! Because of that, I end up going the other way. I struggle with telling others exactly how I'm feeling. I also struggle with asking for help. Part of it is pride, part of it is not wanting to be a burden.
These are only a few of the "side-effects" of fibromyalgia. But as you can see, it's a lot more than just pain. And it affects more than just the person who has fibromyalgia. It affects their spouse, their kids & their other family & friends.