Romans 15:1 - We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
There comes a time when you need to inform your family and friends about the difficulties of living with someone who has chronic pain or an illness, and how it will affect their lives as well as yours.
Pain can be seen at different levels according to the amount of time you spend with an individual:
Observable levels of pain
With each level of pain, there are also levels that then become apparent to those around you.
It’s important to educate your family and friends about your pain. Though at some times when your family will be able to detect what you’re feeling, at others, they won’t always be able to do so. Be aware:
When you say you have pain, it sets off an alarm in those around you. Because they care about you it hurts them to see you hurt. They want to do something about it to fix you.
When I’m in pain, my family often gets frustrated because they don’t know how to help me so they don’t really want to hear about my pain.
The result >> I keep it to myself, because I don’t want to be a burden.
However, passive personalities, like mine, can make other people resentful and frustrated because they don’t know what I want. I may be afraid to tell them, but they still need to know what I need and want.
Another thing you need to realize is:
They also need to know that it’s not a matter of motivation that you don’t do certain things that you used to. It’s a reality that you can’t control.
One thing you can do is have a written plan. It is:
Wikihow.com has some great suggestions on how you can help someone with chronic pain in their article, "How to Understand Someone With Chronic Pain," such as knowing that chronic pain is real and practicing empathy.
Here's another idea: Write out a list of things that you would want your family and friends to do for you. This way they won’t become so frustrated and will understand what you’re going through a little better.
You can see in the Bible verse above that those who are strong should bear with those who are weak. Living with chronic pain or illness can seem difficult to bear with, but finding tangle ways to educate those around you will have a significant positive effect on the quality of life for the suffering.
Do you know someone in your circle of friends who suffers from chronic pain or illness, or perhaps are the one suffering? If you’ve found something that’s helping you I’d love to hear from you.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.