Being a Good Friend to Someone with Chronic Pain
Many individuals experience acute or chronic pain at some point in their life. Many that suffer from chronic pain can go years without finding the appropriate relief which leads to extended discomfort, depression, and a sense of loneliness.
Chronic pain affects everyone surrounding the actual sufferer. Frustration and exhaustion can consume the sufferer making it difficult to even get through the day. Many suffers don’t see how their emotions and attitude are being inflicted on others around them. Lifestyle changes alter the relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. If you have no direct experience with chronic pain, you might not able to relate adding additional stress and anxiety to their life.
Listed below are a few tips to help someone with chronic pain:
- Ask to attend their appointments or therapy sessions. You will be able to relate and discuss their pain.
- Educate yourself. With medical research and their history of chronic pain.
- Don’t feel sorry for yourself. The sufferer doesn’t want to burden you or be in a constant foul mood. Try putting yourself in their shoes. Treasure your relationship!
- Offer a lending hand. Help clean their house, drive them to the grocery store, or any other chore.
- Listen. At times they just want to be heard!
- Accept Cancellations. Sufferers like to be included even if they regularly cancel.
- Limit talking about their pain. Distract yourselves with hobbies that interest you both.
- Be supportive. Learn and teach them how to be mentally and physically independent.
- Be sensitive and positive. Criticism, stress, and conflict increases pain. Avoid questioning the sufferer’s pain this can hurt them and your relationship.
- Remember to take care of yourself. Take time out to recharge. Research indicates spouses of those dealing with chronic pain show increased weakened immune system, withdrawal, discouragement, loneliness, and deteriorating physical health.
It can be helpful to better understand how to care for your loved one while always remembering to take care of yourself.