The Pain Is Not All In Our Heads
Most chronic pain conditions have a physical and very hard to treat basis. The pain suffered is very real, whether the cause of the pain is known or not. People with chronic pain are not insane.
You Cannot Know What This Pain Feels Like
Each person’s physical pain is unique. Do not try to help by saying that you experienced something similar and now the pain is gone. This does not help. What you had is not what your loved one with a chronic pain condition has.
People With Chronic Pain Do Not Have Character Flaws
People do not suffer from chronic pain because they are somehow lazier, weaker, or more deceitful than “normal” people. Just because you cannot see the symptoms clearly does not mean that people in constant pain are liars. When someone with chronic pain cannot make it to work, to a family get-together or meet with friends, they are not kidding around. They are in too much pain to do the things they used to love.
We Cannot Just “Learn To Live With It”
A Woman’s Health magazine article chronicled the life of Heather Grace. She was told to “just learn to live with it.” Fortunately, Heather ignored this advice. She was able to get some help and now has good days and bad days. Her condition cannot be cured, but at least she suffers less because she sought help rather than suffer needlessly 24/7 from ignoring her pain or trying to learn to live with it.
We Are Not Just Trying To Get Attention
According to New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery, people who do not suffer from chronic pain assume that people who do only want the attention or any special extra pampering that comes with being sick. This is a misconception. No one wants to live the rest of their lives with incurable, crippling pain. No one wants to spend most of their free time in doctor’s offices or hospitals. No one wants to pay the high medical costs associated with chronic pain diagnosis, treatment, or management.
Patients On Strong Painkillers Are Not Drug Addicts
Mainstream media is filled with mostly overblown stories about painkiller addiction. The US government recently placed stricter rules for doctors when prescribing painkillers that has made it more difficult for people in pain to get relief from their suffering. There is seemingly something American about “toughing it out” and not relying on painkillers like opiates. Would you deny anesthesia for someone needing surgery? Many chronic pain patients dislike their pain medications because of the side effects, but so far they have no choice to limit their pain except with these strong medications. Patients are not looking to get high or get stoned. They just want the pain to go away.
We Are Still Suffering Even If We Look Normal
People with chronic pain conditions try to live as normally as they can. They may even be able to hold down a job or raise a family. They may not have visible symptoms like wearing a cast. They may even look normal. This does not mean they are not suffering. For example, a migraineur (someone who suffers from migraines) will always be a migraineur whether they are experiencing a migraine or not.
Chronic Pain Sufferers Need to Talk About Their Pain
Trying to manage a chronic pain condition is a full-time job without any holidays. Naturally, patients suffering such pain will talk about it. It is an important part of their lives. Please listen sympathetically and do not try to change the subject. Remember all of the times your friend listened to you prattle on about relationships, dieting, or just about anything else. Time to return the favor.
Please Don’t Go Away Because I’m Not Fun Anymore
People with chronic pain tend to lose friends and lovers because of their pain, according to Health magazine. They cannot go out as often or be as cheerful. They may have to stop drinking or eating some kinds of foods because of the medications they are on. This does not mean that the person you know wants to stop being friends with you. It’s just hard to cope. Please be there.