If you've never suffered through prolonging and agonizing chronic pain, it can be difficult to understand just how enveloping it is. As healthy people we sometimes try to sympathize with chronic pain sufferers, wanting to show support and understanding. But there are some things that outsiders may be unaware of that make a big difference in the lives of those who are plagued by pain. When meeting a chronic pain sufferer, or helping an unwell loved one, take these points into consideration.
They often hide how much pain they are in
Chronic pain sufferers often disguise just how much pain they really are in. There are several reasons for this but it often comes down to: they don't want pity, and they sometimes have been dealing with the pain for so long that it has become their new normal. In either case, you shouldn't think just because someone downplays their pain that they aren't actually suffering inside. If they are able to join for a social interaction, they may go home and be unable to move for days. Just because you cannot always see an expression of their pain, doesn't mean it isn't there.
They may not know what is causing their pain
Sometimes it takes chronic pain sufferers months or even years to discover the source of their pain. In some instances, such as in the case of endometriosis, diagnosis is difficult, and patients may see many doctors and specialists before properly identifying the cause of the chronic pain. Not knowing what the source of their pain is, how severe it is, or if they will ever be able to find relief, can take a massive emotional and psychological toll on already vulnerable people. All chronic pain sufferers deserve compassion, but be especially kind to those who don't know where their pain comes from since it affects so much more than just their physical body.
Their pain may be amplified during the holidays
Pain can be very debilitating and therefore isolating. Often pain can prevent chronic sufferers from socializing, going out to enjoy seasonal festivities, or entertaining others at home. This is amplified during the holidays when others are spending time with family and loved ones and enjoying their time together. Often when the physical pain prevents people from going gift shopping, partaking in a cup of mulled wine at a Christmas market, or enjoying evening revelries, they tend to feel even more burdened by their condition and may despair over their situation.
They just want a normal life
Besides participating in holiday related activities, more than anything chronic pain sufferers simply want a normal life. Most often something that they long for is the ability to be fully independent, and do the day-to-day tasks that we take for granted such as food shopping or driving a car. It's often these simple things that take an enormous amount of energy for someone with chronic pain, and can leave them feeling drained and defeated.
This holiday season, we should all strive to think about those who are unable to enjoy themselves as we are. There are millions of chronic pain sufferers around the world, some without diagnosis, some without a healing method that works, but all with the desire to live a normal, pain free life.
Join the community of healers working together to better the lives of chronic pain sufferers. Consider making a donation to help fund the holistic research for curing pain, and to help those living with pain access the treatments they need.
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