Supporting someone with chronic pain can be difficult if you don’t live in pain. Chronic pain sufferers learn how to cope with their pain and often times because we don’t look like we are in pain so people assume we aren’t! Friday is my birthday and although it will probably be a pretty good day it will also be a very tough day for me because the only thing I really want no one can get give me. I want pain relief! My birthday is a constant reminder of all the times I wasn’t in pain and to be honest I crave that life and thinking about it can be depressing! Chronic pain can be very draining, mentally exhausting and if you don’t live with pain you may not know how to support someone who has pain. Today I thought I’d share some tips on how you can get through these feelings if you live with pain and how you can show support if you don’t.
Check-in- In my experience when people want to know more about my condition they usually go to my caregiver. If you want to know how someone with chronic pain is really doing going to their caregivers won’t necessarily give you the answer because the caregiver isn’t the one living with the pain. Our caregivers can give you a medication update or tell you about any new physicians we are seeing but as far as how well we are actually feeling the only person that knows that answer to that question is the person experiencing the pain. Check-in everyone once in a while even if it feels uncomfortable because it means the world to us! Talking about it helps us cope so please don’t try and avoid the subject.
Listen- People often times assume that because I’m unemployed I have bucket loads of free time. Yes, your right my schedule is pretty open but sometimes I don’t want to go out because I’m in too much pain. I don’t lie there and do nothing because I have nothing to do but more often than not it’s because I am in too much pain and don’t have the energy to do anything else. Before making reservations to go anywhere ask if I want to go and respect my answer. If I am having a bad pain day and you had planned to hang out with me change the original plan to something that is more accommodating of my pain levels. Forcing me to do go somewhere when I have high pain levels that is not completely necessary is very inconsiderate because that it will only make my pain levels worse and who knows how long it’ll take for me to recover. My pain is unpredictable and unreliable but I am not!
Practice self-care– When you live with chronic pain everything you do tends to be mentally draining and sometimes our self-care starts to lack. Take ten minutes every day to check in with yourself and seriously be honest with how you are really doing and if there are areas you think you can improve on figure out what they are and do whatever it takes to make happen. Whether it’s getting a massage, meditating or taking a yoga class make sure you are prioritizing your self-care because it’s so important!
Cry– I have a lot of emotions so I cry pretty regularly to get out these emotions. Some say crying is a sign or of weakness or attention-seeking but those are usually the people not living in pain. Crying is sometimes necessary for people living with pain because it takes too much energy to put on a brave face all the time and hold in those emotions.
Pain relief would be the ultimate gift for most chronic pain sufferers so although it may sound depressing that we will probably never get that relief it is the life we crave. Some people never get pain relief some people do that is just the harsh realities of life. We make the best of our situation and although we’d love to know what it feels like to be pain-free that is not our life right now so we make the best of the good days. As long as I can have a low pain day which I haven’t had a lot of( because my migraines get worse in the summer) I’d consider it a success. My friends and family may not be able to give me pain relief but they can get me some pretty cool things or throw me a pretty awesome party and as far as I’m concerned that is the next best thing! If you have any questions about the only thing I want for my birthday that no one can give me please leave them in the comments below.