Chronic pain is only obvious to the sufferer, which makes it a very lonely disease. When people look at you they see a regular person, they don’t see you are in pain, so they might and say thing which might easily offend you. Being in a relationship with someone who suffers from chronic pain or being their friend is often challenging, because you have no idea when they are hiding their pain behind a big smile. Here are things people with chronic pain want you to know.
If we don’t talk about it, it doesn’t mean it is not there
People who suffer from chronic pain don’t talk about it much. It is just part of life and they share their thoughts on it with their advanced pain management specialist and doctors. But if you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t mean it is not there. When your friend seems to be normal, they are probably in pain, but simply get on with their lives. Chronic pain patients are very strong and go to extreme lengths to carry on with their regular life, despite the pain.
However, when we do talk about our pain, it is unbearable, so do your best to support us.
We don’t cancel plans for fun
When we cancel plans we do it because the pain is too much to put up with and it prevents us from being there and having fun. No one wants to cancel plans two hours before the arrival and chronic pain patients don’t do it to tell people they don’t like their company. We simply cannot know how we are going to feel in the next hours, days or weeks. Many times we are simply ignoring the pain and go on as usual, but this is mentally exhausting and sometimes it is just too much, so we have to cancel.
We need sleep. A lot!
Sleep helps restore the body, but when you suffer from chronic pain, insomnia is always near-by. Pain prevents you from sleeping, so each time you manage to fall asleep, you enjoy it. After a good night’s sleep, pain is more bearable, so it is very important to get enough sleep. The all night long party life is not made for chronic pain patients, as the price they have to pay for the fun is just too high. This is why your friend spends their night sleeping, refusing to go out.
Don’t deny my pain
Because you can’t see it, you might be prone to deny that your friend is in pain or tell them that it is all in their head. While it is true that a person’s mental state can make chronic pain worse and that depression can lead to pain, what we feel is real. Studies revealed that people who are not believed by their friends and family experience even more pain, so do just take us seriously.
Just be there
The only thing you can do to help someone with chronic pain is being there for them. By offering emotional support you can actually make a chronic pain patient feel better and ease their daily burden. Chronic pain is one of the most misunderstood conditions, because it can’t be seen. Stop trying to understand it and start supporting your friend, as this is what they need most.