I ran across this article over the weekend: Talking About Pain: Why We Don’t and Why We Should
Of course I agree with many points in the article, but I am not sure how possible or probable it is to find someone in your circle who you would be able to talk about your pain productively. This is not a slight against people who want to help and support their loved ones. And talking about your feelings, your experience with your illness, etc, is a good thing. But even the best listeners and most compassionate people who don’t experience chronic pain, can not fully comprehend chronic pain. It is just not something the human brain can truly wrap its head around unless it is experienced.
Talking with others is wonderful, helpful and prevents isolation. But I also think talking about your chronic pain can also make you feel isolated in and of itself. No matter how good the conversation goes, there is misunderstanding and misinterpretation by default. It makes me not want to talk about.
Then there is the facade that you have to drop in order to talk about your pain. The one that makes you feel like you have to have some dignity and not be a crybaby. That is a hard one for me because I don’t think people really want to hear about it and I don’t like to be viewed as weak. If you are honest and say you are struggling, they are genuinely sad for you and the pity makes you feel gross. Again, isolation through conversation.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. I think it goes back to the issue about needing a support group. In order to have productive conversations about your pain, ones that don’t leave you feeling like an island, you might need to talk to others who experience chronic pain.
I have an appointment with my rheumatologist tomorrow to talk about the more extreme muscle spasms in my neck and the anxiety. Maybe she can help me find a support group this time. If she can’t, I might just have to start one myself.
Do you participate in a support group in your area for your chronic pain? Do you find it helpful?
I hope you all have a great week!