Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A letter to those who love a chronic pain sufferer...

Chronic pain is very real. Ask anyone with a chronic pain syndrome and they will all tell you similar factors that they experience, not only day to day, but during flare-ups as well. Many will also tell you the frustration of people around them making light of it, sometimes offering up useless sometimes cruel advice ( i.e. exercise more, shake it off, toughen up...), or acting as though they are making up the pain they are experiencing.
Sometimes, unless we have experienced things personally, we fail to be able to empathize with what our loved ones are telling us is going on. Then there are those of us who can empathize deeply and we understand it intellectually. If you are the former, then I beg you to learn more and provide support for what your loved one is experiencing. They need you to understand. The cycle with pain syndromes is exacerbated by stress, which leads to depression, which leads to further compromising of the immune system and, more pain. It is a vicious circle and one that is hard to break.
Sometimes, part of love is making the concession for patience, kindness, and understanding when we don't necessarily understand what is going on. If you do have someone in your life that is suffering chronic pain, then please, take time to educate yourself and be the support they need. Become one of the positive factors that will help outweigh the negative ones that keep pulling them down. It all starts with our environment and our relationships are a part of that.
Do not underestimate the power you have to make a positive difference in the life or lives of the people that are the most important to you. Please be willing to be that difference and be the beautiful shining light that they need, the balm to feelings that are often invalidated by a world that expects to see outward symptoms of illness to justify being ill. This is your chance to truly shine bright and make a difference!
Namaste, my friend.

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