Thursday, March 1, 2012


What is fibrobotics, you ask?

To answer that, we must first assess how the term “fibrobot” came to be.

It is a long standing joke in my family that I lack emotions and am reminiscent of a “robot.” You see, I am quite difficult to anger. Even when I am angry, it often goes undetected due to my uncanny ability to be facetious. I believe feeling anger and acting angry are two very separate things. You can’t always help how you feel – but you can control how you express it and act about it. So, when angry, I act and speak in jest in order to make others and (especially) myself laugh and more comfortable. And it works, every time.

It’s the same with being sad or nervous. In fact, the only time others have ever seen me cry has been due to death of loved ones. But by and large, to those around me, it seems as if I never experience emotions considering my lack of their expression. My feelings, positive or negative, are extremely private to me.

As you may have deduced from previous posts, it takes a lot to alarm me, even with my body. I (wrongly) assume most symptoms are normal and not a big deal and I don’t want to make a fuss out of them. I adapt extremely well, and silently and privately accept things as they are and make adjustments accordingly. This, too, has lead to speculations of my secret life as an android.

I am also very logically driven and lean toward science, evidence, and other analytical processes. I am inquisitive, calculating, and perspicacious, and none of this helps my cause to culminate comparisons to an automation.

Thus, references to my being a cybernetic organism is a frequent occurrence among my circle of family and friends.

Alas, Cyborg I am not.

I just am - I happy, laid back, and possess an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about the wonders of the world; but I digress.

Upon my diagnosis and becoming more involved in the fibromyalgia community, I noticed all of the charming little nicknames used for those with fibro, such as fibromites, fibromyalgics, spoonies – you catch my drift. However, none of these seemed fitting for me.

Then one day, an odd conversation with my cousin lead to the use of the words “Fibromyalgia” and “robot” in the same sentence. Instead, I inadvertently blurted out “fibrobot”. It’s simple accidental portmanteau really, but with fibromyalgia, I believe such speech blunders as involuntary portmanteau, spoonerism, malapropism, and metathesis occur more frequently - so I like to blame this on my fibro fog.

“That’s what you should call yourself – a fibrobot,” my cousin said.

After some discussion, we decided the term to be quite fitting due to my “robot tendencies,” not only for me, but perhaps anyone with fibromyalgia.

For example, with FM, you feel everything – everything - from every drop of water dispensed from the shower faucet or pouring from a rain cloud, to every sensation of the wind, to every hair movement and beyond – our bodies feel everything.

A robot, on the other hand, feels nothing.

With fibromyalgia, you lack much, if any, control. There is no control of when your flares occur, of good days or bad. No control of the severity of your pain, what kind of pain, or where it hurts. There is no control as to what medications will work for you. There is no control of what symptoms you experience and those which you do not. There is no control over your energy or how many spoons you possess for the day. There is no control of what plans you will be able to keep, and those which you will be forced to cancel last minute. There is no control in discovering a cure. Okay, maybe no control is too strong, but it is minimal.

Bottom line: There is very little control over a life with fibromyalgia.

Ahh, but a robot is very much in control. It is programmed to be productive and efficient and is equipped with the intricate processes to work accordingly (in theory).

Plus, robots are just plain cool.

Ergo, fibrobotics, to Fiona and company, is a way of taking on the ways of the humanoid. Less negative emotion and feeling. More control.

Now that’s not to say the objective is to adopt all of the ways of the bionic person. Even if that were plausible, the purpose is not to be completely devoid of emotion or feeling – it’s about finding a balance. Again, less negative emotion and feeling, more control.

 Fibrobotics is about the steps along the way to achieving these goals, and Fibrobot is my label of anyone suffering from this debilitating illness who is striving to overcome it, accomplish these objectives, and reclaim their life.

And I like to think everyone with fibromyalgia is a fibrobot. :)

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