Living with Chronic Pain
Family & Friends
The family affected when someone is diagnosed with chronic pain is not just the immediate family, it includes the extended family as well. The immediate family unit is generally affected directly and often the hardest. Roles within the family change, as the individual with chronic pain cannot parent as well, or go to work, and provide for the family. These changes have an emotional impact on family members, those who have to do more can start to feel resentful, while the individual with chronic pain can start to feel helpless in their inability to help or contribute. Communication is important to help keep the family connected.
Extended family is often affected by a chronic pain individual’s inability to travel or attend family events as a result of their pain. These relatives can lose touch with the individual or possibly the entire family of the person with chronic pain. A lack of understanding about pain or the condition causing it, it can lead the individual experience pain to self-isolate from family. A supportive, understanding, extended family can help prevent isolation of an individual with chronic pain.
People who live with chronic pain may withdraw from friendships and self-isolate as a result of the pain and pain-related mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Individuals often find it hard to connect to friends when they have to cancel at the last minute because of pain. If they do get together with a friend, they may feel like they don’t know what to say, as their life seems to revolve around medical appointments or health issues. It’s discouraging for both parties. Social media can provide a helpful buffer to allow an individual with chronic pain to connect with friends. Keeping friends isn’t always easy but the support that can be gained from them is very helpful while living with chronic pain.