We are living in the Age of Information. That is irrefutable. However, we are also living in a reality in which it is not easy to discern fact from opinion. If you have Fibro, you might be wondering if the information you have is fact or fiction. One way to tackle that question is to look at the source.
Let’s take a look at social media. I belong to 10 Facebook groups for people with Fibro and other chronic illnesses. Every day I spend some time looking over the feed, because that helps me keep my finger on the pulse of what people want and need in this space. What I find most days is that people ask the same questions, and receive a variety of answers on all the groups, every day. For example, someone asks, “Anyone take Gabapentin? Does it help? Do you have side effects?” Then there are 475 responses, some yes, some no, some “I gained 65 pounds” and some “I’ve been taking it for 10 years, no problem.” These are all true for these people.
My point is that these are not universal facts, and should not be confused for such. Does this medication – very commonly prescribed for people with Fibro – help everyone who takes it? No. Does it cause side effects? Definitely. Does everyone experience these side effects? No. So, while social media is a good place to glean a large survey of opinion and experience, none of it can be considered fact. No answer posted on Facebook is the answer as it applies to YOU.
With that in mind, should you be getting information from social media? Well, yes and no. It is helpful to see the range of experience from such a large sample of people. But the 200,000 people you survey on Facebook do not know your personal medical history or situation. They can’t speak for you. So, take the opinions you gather and value them, but don’t stop there. Speak to your doctor, your therapist, your pain specialist and the people who love you and care most about your well-being.