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This Woman's Powerful Illustrations Show What It's Like Living With Fibromyalgia

Friday 15 May 2020


From Cosmopolitan:


Fibromyalgia illustration by Mimi Butlin
(Cosmopolitan UK/Mimi Butlin)

This woman's powerful illustrations show what it's like living with fibromyalgia

Mimi Butlin of @cantgoout_imsick shares her experience.

By Jennifer Savin
May 12, 2020
©2020 Hearst UK. All rights reserved.

Living with an invisible illness, such as IBS, depression or fibromyalgia can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Not only may there physical pain to contend with, but it can be difficult getting the correct diagnosis and having it understood by friends and family. Sadly, the classic comparison between conditions that go unseen and something more physical and obvious, such as a broken leg, is still applicable for many.

In honour of Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (12 May), one talented illustrator, Mimi Butlin (who you may know better as @cantgoout_imsick on Instagram), has created a series of powerful drawings in an effort to show what life is really like for someone living with the long-term condition, that's thought to affect up to one in 25 people. "The world we live in is very inaccessible for so many, it can make you feel excluded and that life is small," she says, explaining that she developed fibromyalgia after falling ill with viral meningitis in 2013. "Sometimes fibro can be triggered by an illness, injury or traumatic event."

The condition is characterised by chronic generalised aches and pain, extreme fatigue and interrupted sleep. Other symptoms include headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, poor concentration and memory, and pins and needles in the hands and feet.

"I never really sleep well due to the pain and so it's a struggle trying to face the day sometimes," says Mimi. "The first image reflects most mornings when I have to force myself out of bed."


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