Talking About Pain

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!




7 thoughts on “Talking About Pain

  1. I’ve been experiencing this a lot lately. It seems that talking about my pain to colleagues who don’t experience chronic pain is unproductive and indeed, makes me feel gross! The pity and sad response I get isn’t worth it. I think that’s why a lot of people with chronic pain turn to blogs like yours or forums online to find support from fellow sufferers. It provides somewhat of a community and support group that is accessible without having to leave the home. Though I can imagine that there are more benefits to having that social interaction in person. Thanks for sharing. This is definitely a topic we need to be talking about!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I completely agree with what you say! I don’t even try to explain my pain to most people I work with or just random friend/acquaintances. They either completely don’t get it (and probably think I am a hypochondriac cry-baby), or they have the sorry look on their face that feels like being in a pity-party which I HATE. I talked about my thoughts on this some more in a previous blog post ( if you would like to read it. 🙂
    To answer your question, though, I don’t have a chronic pain support group (other than here in blog-space). I am not sure one would do me that much good though. While I recognize the need to be able to talk about pain, I like to keep my mind occupied elsewhere from the pain as much as possible so as not to drown in it completely. Also, I could see myself automatically shutting out my own needs amongst a group of people and jumping into the care-giver role. However, I wouldn’t mind a more *practical* support group where we get practical advice on day-to-day things.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, I need to keep my mind occupied elsewhere also…it is so easy for it to consume you. I also think that care-giver role would happen to me too…I hadn’t thought about that and could see it being counterproductive …thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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