Fibromyalgia: “I am 41 years old and live in the body of an old man”

Patrick spent most of the day in the bed because he was often exhausted.


He’s always tired, and all the time he hurts. Patrick Schutz from Neuchâtel has fibromyalgia – an invisible condition that is not recognized by disability insurance.

Pain, pain, nothing but pain: Patrick Schuts (41) from Neuchâtel has always the feeling that he has a flu – without fever, but with an enormous, leaden fatigue. He would like to stay in bed all day and spend the time there. “Every part of my body hurts, fortunately not everyone at the same time,” he told a magazine “L’illustré.”

Patrick Schutz and his partner have three-year-old daughter Naya. Even if he plays with her only 20 minutes, it takes away the energy for the whole day. “When I’ve slept, and then awake, I’m just as tired as I have never slept.” He has lost many friends who believe he pretends. In the evening he cannot go out with them as he used to, go to bed at 7 pm to relax.

The diagnosis of his suffering a year ago revealed: Fibromyalgia. It is estimated that 400,000 people are affected in Switzerland. The problem: Fibromyalgia is not recognized by disability insurance (IV). There is no scientific evidence: there is no evidence to be found in the blood and on radiographs. Hundreds of symptoms characterize fibromyalgia. It is determined by the exclusion of other diseases and by means of a test: Usually tender points are used.

If eleven or more of 18 (tender points) have an increased pain, the suspicion of fibromyalgia is present. These diagnosis points lie close to the tendon-muscle approach. The cause of the disease is unclear and can only be limited by medical measures. Patrick’s protection must take many medications: painkillers, antidepressants, vitamins, medications to protect the stomach and drops against the sensitive, dry eyes. “It is an invisible suffering,” says Schutz. He wants as many people as possible to know about it, has set up a Facebook site, so that fibromyalgia reaches the consciousness of the population.

Patrick has been unemployed for two years and lives from social assistance. If the IV would at least partly acknowledge the suffering, he would have already been helped. So he hopes for financial support because of his depression and chronic fatigue. His greatest hope is a popular initiative that has just been launched and calls for recognition of fibromyalgia as a disease.

He plays with his daughter Naya, but after 20 minutes his energy is exhausted.
Patrick is lying on a pain-relieving mat.

Patrick’s relationship with partner Sylvie has also become difficult. There are no common TV tunes because he is sleeping early. Naya is surprised that Daddy goes to bed at the same time as her. Patrick Schutz does not know how long he can stand his condition: “I am only 41 years old and live in an old man’s body!” 
Patrick suspects that even traumatic experiences could be triggered in the past. At the age of 17 he was present when his father beat a man with a stone before his eyes. Patrick has no contact with him anymore. The birth of his daughter was also bad: almost the mother and child had died. Patrick: “These events have deeply shaken me.” 
He would like to do something with his wife and daughter, but his suffering and the little money he receives do not make this wish come true.

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