I’m Evan Smith and I’m got Fibromyalgia. I don’t look like a normal person, I don’t really want a chronic pain disorder. I grew up in soccer, riding dirt bikes, hunting , fishing and stacking hay balls. I was really grown up and loved to push physical limitations with worn-out bottlenecks. I could always lift and throw anything I needed, and when people needed help with physical labor I was always going to people. I’ve always been happier than lending a strong arm.
Then I joined the US Army and was driven by even more testosterone than ever before. I returned from the boot camp slightly leaner and stronger than ever and knew I could conquer it, whether it was a challenge physically or mentally. After three successful surgeries, I was retired at the end of my military career at the age of 27 because of the left knee and left hip injury. I learned to deal with the chronic pain I thought.
One day, like any other day, my wife and I took the road through an intersection, with our then four-month – old son passing a red light and T-boned us; this is truly the moment that has been so long in my head. I was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury ( TBI) following the accident and ambulance, had an operation on the neck fusion and had to undergo shoulder surgery to restore my shoulder after it had been so hard forced to proceed from the van. Since that time, I have had extreme muscle and articular pain, as well as widespread chronic pain diagnosed as fibromyalgia and inflammatory arthritis.
Literally, I had physical therapy, appointments to doctors , medical procedures , and operations for more than $300,000. My whole life felt like it was turned upside down for some days. I was my strongest man, superman of two boys, and a big barbed outdoor person who was able to fight bears and make fire with his bare hands. One of the most difficult things I have had to deal with is that men suffer from a non-traditional fibromyalgia and try to deal with the negative stigma that tells us that men should be solid and that they should never admit that if they are weakI’m here to tell you, people who are suffering from my fibromyalgia and who continue to fight or just warriors.
When I enter a room, it seems like people notice me at 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a beard almost 250 pounds that can keep the grizzled bear warm. But what you won’t normally see me do is work an hour, remain awake at a time for more than eight hours or sit in my recliner without a hot pad and a handful of medicine. This trip was very difficult, and I think that part of it was very difficult, because as a strong looking man I hate to admit when I feel painful and definitely I won’t complain and make myself weak.
I think this is something many men suffer from which fibromyalgia is diagnosed. I am also confident that any woman with fibromyalgia would also have difficulty complaining because of the instinct of nature in their motherly strength, after seeing how hard my wife has worked in the home and how difficult it is to take care of two boys. I don’t think that’s simple for anyone, but it may be very difficult for a man to reach out and say he needs help just as a person can’t stop and ask for direction.
I are totally invested in the outside and normally you ‘d find me on a walk or take photos of songbirds in the woods that are scouting my favorite wildlife. I like camping and in the beautiful countryside I like to be outdoors. You will probably see 99% of my images from outside if you go to my Instagram page. One thing I am doing to keep my mind up is that I take a lot of photos on the days that I can spend outdoors so that I can share them on the six of seven days that I can not be in the woods because of my pain.
I think I can also conceal the fact that I am 24 hours a day in extreme pain and if I can pretend I’m in forest or post photos of today’s events that make me more comfortable and make me feel more normalized. I know everyone has struggles and everyone has a different way of handling these struggles, and I believe that while you do something, it is just your path.
For me, my way of finding pain relief usually causes me more pain and is sometimes very difficult in understanding for others. I want to walk or spend time yardwork when I can. When I like to go outdoors. These releases seem to put me in a much better mood with endorphins and to give me some relief from my struggles even if I know I will hurt worse later.
I used my passion for the open air to bring numerous veterans and disabled people into the forests and outdoors to understand what nature can offer to you. I choose to go away to have fresh air, and to enjoy the natural endorphins that I can loose within me rather than to take another pain pill or look at another Netflix season. This is one of the only ways I’ve truly felt that I felt better and is one of my biggest passions. I want people to know it’s fine to hurt, and even if you’re a grizzly man 7 feet tall, you can still hurt.
The strength to achieve this pain-staking disease is in an extent that many others can not understand. But you know, and still are here, and you continue to move forward. Find yourself a passion, find a place to go, and get into the wild and outdoors, in the middle of the mountains or in the city. When I feel I should have 100 percent of work and she should be zero it can be so difficult to see my wife take up 80% of housework. I truly want to be the man who is chevalery, who can take care of his wife, who will be able to pick up his children at the end of the day and cast them around.
This is what I want and I want it without any pain in my daily life. I have worked hard to communicate well with my wife and to express the pain I suffer and the honesty I have to have with her. Every day I don’t want to complain to her, as she feels to me, but she always asks us how I feel, and she digs into the soul of this man, so that we do what we don’t like in talking. Do your best to open yourself to others who are important, be your best supporter in the doctor, find something you love, and do all you can to protect your mind from this dreadful, constant chronic pain.