By Krystina –
Forget motivational quotes — sometimes the best motivation you can get is from those around you.
When living with chronic pain it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel; that’s why those around you supporting you through your journey are so important.
I decided to ask my friends and family what they would like a person living with chronic pain to know (i.e. me) from their perspectives and there were four distinct themes that everyone agreed on…
1. Just Talk.
Even if you think you sound like a whiny broken record, they really don’t think that. Your friends and family really want to know how you’re feeling so they can figure out how they can best help you.
Though you may enjoy flying under the radar whilst you cope with a flare up, it really is healthy and helpful all around if you tell the ones you love how you are coping. That way they won’t be left thinking the worst, and you won’t be left feeling resentful. Suck up that pride and have an honest talk!
2. They Understand That Sometimes, You Don’t Want to Talk.
Talking is great and all, but if you’ve practiced number one well enough, and told the ones around you where you stand with your illness, they will begin to “see” your illness and understand that sometimes you just need to have some solitude.
Whether that means being alone or in quiet company, your loved ones want you to know: they are there for you.
3. Your Pain Doesn’t Define Who You Are.
Your friends and family can be guilty of making statements that you don’t understand. When you’re feeling bad, and the nerves are raw, you can often misconstrue well-meaning sentiments from those around you.
Often, when we hear suggestions and opinions from friends and family it can become stressful. Chronic pain can be all-consuming and it can be difficult for you to separate who you are from the pain you consistently feel.
Your friends and family want you know that your pain doesn’t define who you are — they see the full spectrum of you, even when you have forgotten what you are like on “a good day.” They want you to know that your chronic pain is like a “spare body part” that you didn’t want, and that you can live your life in spite of it.
4. They Have A Unique Take On Pain.
Although family and friends may never fully understand or “get” exactly how it feels to be in your shoes, they can give you a fresh perspective on your day-to-day struggle.
My mum had a good analogy for living with chronic pain:
“It’s like carrying a heavy load and trying to work out the best way to carry it through the day ahead, around the obstacles and things that need doing so that you can look back and say to yourself, “well at least I tried my best and that’s what matters.”
Whether we believe it or not, loved ones can have some excellent words of wisdom if only we give them a chance to express them.
It surprised me how much I learned by asking my friends and family what they want me to know. Sometimes when you can’t help yourself you have to lean on the support of those around you.