Feeling Safe and Supported/Additions to What NOT to Say
I wanted to do a post in response to so many of the wonderful comments that were posted in the last post “What NOT to Say to Someone in Chronic Pain.” I was unable to respond to each comment individually but I was both sad and happy at the overwhelming response to this article.
It made me sad to read so many stories similar to mine regarding how difficult it is to live with chronic pain. Some of the stories honestly brought tears to my eyes, but at the same time I was so thrilled to hear that the writing resonated with you and that the comments, for the most part, were very supportive. It made me happy that we are coming together as a community to support and help each other.
When you live with a condition that isolates you, it is so important to have a safe place to express yourself. I have said it before and will say it many times over: Chronic pain sucks! A lot of what we are going through sucks, but it takes courage to say that. As people in chronic pain we live a lot of our lives behind a mask, a mask of strength, a smile to hide the pain, but in reality, we want to shout at the top of our lungs- this is not fair! I saw many comments that showed how strong we are as a group and I wanted to say that you, we, are all very courageous for being honest and for fighting for normalcy.
It is true, most people do not mean to be hurtful and really just don’t know what to say, but it doesn’t take away from our frustrations at some of the comments we hear all too often. Thank you for your additions. I saw many comments that resonated with me and others including:
1- “Don’t stop talking to me and being my friend just because you can’t fix me, it will only make things worse.”
2- “Be careful not to get addicted to pain medicine”/being made to feel like a criminal because we need to take pain medication.
3- “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”
4- “See a psychiatrist /therapist.” Although both can be very helpful, to pass off pain as something that is simply the result of depression or anxiety is insensitive and incorrect.
5- “I wish I could stay at home all the time like you.”
6- “You can do x why can’t you do y?” Or “You were able to do that last week, why can’t you do it now?”
7- “You should feel reassured that they can’t find something wrong.”
You are not alone. I think the multitude of comments proved that we are not alone in this and I am happy that the comments were helpful and supportive to each other. It is so important to feel like there are people who understand what we are going through because, although it doesn’t alleviate the physical pain, it helps with the emotional pain. In regards to comments, please know that I approve almost every comment that is made, with the exceptions of comments that antagonize or offend others. This is a safe place, including for those who wish to express anger at their situation, but comments that attack others will not be posted.
I am working on a list of helpful things to say because I do not like to focus solely on the negative aspects of life with chronic pain. The post is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Thank you all for commenting and helping each other! Together we will raise awareness and help one another through the difficulty of living with chronic pain.
Rydzy MSW, T. (2013). Feeling Safe and Supported/Additions to What NOT to Say. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 27, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/chronic-pain/2013/04/feeling-safe-and-supportedadditions-to-what-not-to-say/