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My fiance and I have been together for about 3 years now. Earlier this year she had major back surgery and since then nothing has gone right for her. She was a little depressed before the surgery and since then suffers from Chronic Pain, severe depression and anxiety attacks. It has been really bad for the last three or four months now.

I have tried to be patient, supportive, compassionate and understanding. I have also really encouraged her to get some help for her depression and she asked her doctor for a referral about a month ago, but nothing has happened since then. She is being treated for the pain, but it doens't seem to really help to much. More doctoring coming up.

Most of the time she doesnt talk to me at all and if we are in the same room, we just sit in silence. If I try to talk to her about any subject she gets all bent out of shape and says I am criticizing and badgering her. I understand that maybe at times I am, but some of the things I bring to her attention are things that need to be talked about. She told me this morning that I need to back off and let her communicate when she feels she is ready.

There is also no intimacy in our relationship. I have expressed that I understand her situation and I would be content if she would hold my hand or hug me once in a while and I feel lucky if I do get a hug. Otherwise, there is nothing else.

I'm just so frustrated and feel so alone. I love her so much and want to be my best for her, but I get frustrated. It's been such a difficult time for both of us and our relationship is struggling.

Any thoughts?

Thank You
 

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Living with chronic pain can be a nightmare! Its very frustrating and depressing. You said she was being treated for pain? How? Is she one pain meds? If she has a regular doctor they too can prescribe depression meds if she feels she needs them. She doesn't have to really wait for a referral, unless she just wants to.

My wifes sister has MS, and is in chronic pain sometimes. She also had her second back surgery a few months ago. She is on pain meds. IMO she is becoming addicted to them, which is something that can happen and is common with some people who are in pain. Has she tried a pain clinic? Thats what they specialize in, if not get her to check one out. Her doctor should know of one.

I understand this can be frustrating for you as well. Maybe you need to seek out a counselor for yourself, its always good to have support and someone to talk to.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your thoughts. I am in therapy and it is helping very much, the only problem with that is I get no emotional support from her in any way, so I struggle with that.

She is being treated medically for depression and has anxiety pills for when she needs them. She also sees a pain doctor on a regular basis. She recently start the Fentynl Patch, which has helped some.

I kind of wonder sometimes if she wants to get well or not, there doesn't seem to much of desire in her to really make a change. It makes me so sad.
 

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the only problem with that is I get no emotional support from her in any way, so I struggle with that.
Unfortunately, you are not likely going to get emotional support from her. She is dealing with pain, physical and mental. Most depressed people find it hard to provide emotional strength and support for themselves, let alone show it to or provide it for other people.

Its good you are in counseling. I would stay there for awhile so you can get some better support and understanding of things.

As far as you wondering if she really wants to get better or not, well thats something to consider. I believe most people do want to get better. They don't want to live a life of pain, physical, mental etc. However, there are people who if they are constantly babied, tended to, felt sorry for etc, will grow to like this and feel they need it in order to find some happiness. They end up liking the attention.

There is nothing wrong with being sympathetic, and helping out etc, BUT as long as you don't feel you are being used or taking for granted. And that can happen when being a caretaker to someone. Also they get so dependent on another person, they no longer feel they need to help pull themselves out of their funk. Thats when its a real problem. Might be something you want to discuss with your counselor as well.
 

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This must be so very hard for you to deal with.

Should you ever feel frustrated that you are unable to effectively help her, coz of course you cannot wave a magic wand and rid her of her pain and depression, do take comfort in the fact that just you being there for her is an incredible support blanket for her, whether she currently recognises this or not.

I too agree you must keep getting support for yourself.

Thankfully, I have not experienced what you or your fiance are going through but I wonder if it might help your fiance if she were to read the following link which is about how a chronic pain sufferer "accepted" and coped with it.

First Steps To Living Successfully with Intractable Chronic Pain

See below re making contact with others in your position
I Live With a Spouse That Suffers From Chronic Pain | Group with Personal Stories, Forums and Chat

Please keep/be positive.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The sad part is I feel very taken advantage of and used at the moment. She rarely tells me how much she appreciates all I do.

We live together (along with her two children and my son) and since she hasn't been able to work because of all of this, I have also picked up the slack financially. She's gets a little disability but it doesn't go far. I have always helped around the house, but do so much more than I ever did just to try to make it easier on her.

If she would just show me some appreciation in any way, it would go a long ways. I am always doing something special for her -cards, flowers, a hair cut, little gifts, ect, just because I love her and have done this since we started dating. Nothing has changed there.

Just once in a while I wish she would acknowledge what I do, give me a card, hold my hand or just something to make it easier. It makes me so sad and alone and unappreciated.
 

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Before the current health issues started, what sort of person was she in terms of showing affection, verbalising her appreciation of what you do etc.

If she was never the type to show these things then she is not likely to change now. That is not to say that you must not feel sad at not being demonstrably appreciated - just that she's not likely to change IMHO.

On the other hand if she was formerly affectionate, and if she did previously give words of affirmation showing appreciation then I wonder if you might be able to confide in a relative or friend of hers about how you are feeling and they might be able to talk to her and let her know how you feel, rather than you telling herself (maybe you already did this?). Maybe she would take notice of someone else, if not you. Maybe the friend could ask her is she wants to be the type of person who takes people for granted. She may not have realised the extent to which she is doing this.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you have to let her know what you need as she is not a mindreader or she may be too preoccupied with her own health issues to have given your feelings a second thought.

You sound a wonderful guy in terms of attending to her feelings and needs and I hope you can get a little more feedback/get some kind of sign from her so that you don't end up feeling underloved and risk getting resentful.
 

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Talk with her, let her know how this makes you feel and whats important to you. Once you have made yourself clear, if things do not improve, then IMO you might need to think about how the rest of your life will play out. In other words is this how you want to spend your life? If you feel you deserve better, then you probably do. People who are depressed have a hard time expressing their love, appreciation, concern etc. They usually think low of themselves and don't feel certain ways towards themselves, so it would be hard for them to feel or show that to another person too. I know this is frustrating and unfair, but in the end it will come down to what you will and will not live with.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your thoughts. I have talked to her about those thiings and even explained that I understand that sex may not happen but anything she you give would be appreciated. It was like I never said a word.

Truthfully, I am already to the point of feeling unloved and do get resentful at times.
 

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Truthfully, I am already to the point of feeling unloved and do get resentful at times.
And this is where you need to start to think about how you want to spend your life. I can't say for sure how much of it a depressed person can or can not help how they feel. IMO,I think they can control some of it. Id o think it can become a choice to help pull yourself out of the dark hole in which they feel they are in. However, the main issue here is what are you going to do with your life? How long do you plan on hanging on in hopes things change? If you're seeking love, affection, appreciation etc, those are things most all people want, but you have to determine who you feel is able to help give that to you.
 

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I so appreciate you thoughts. I don't know how long I will want to hang around. I also have a 12 year old to think about and this affects him also.

I will be the first person to admit that I am far from perfect and at times have maybe said to much out of anger and frustration. I feel so bad that I responded that way to her. The worst part is when I have said something, she takes it so personal and makes me feel like I'm the bad person. It's gotten to the point where I don't say much. I get so tired of hearing "well you said I was this or that", when in truth I just may have pointed something our that needed attention.

One other thing that really bothers me is the fact that she will be perfectly fine and nice with her childen, but when it comes to my son and I she will be totally different, it seems like we bring the angry person out in her for some reason. Her own daughter told me that she notices how she treats us differently, but I will say there have been times when she has been a little mean to her daughter too, but not very much.

I know there are always two sides to every story and maybe I have done my share at times to make things difficult, but I do really try everyday to be my best in all I do and live a good respectable life.

Life can surely throw some curves at times.
 

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Your other thread about how badly she treats your son is apparently deleted now, but he still needs to be your priority. your GF will only get better if and when she decides it is her priority.
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You need to think of yourself and your son. How do you think she would act if you told her you thought you and your son need a little break or time away? Do you think she would care? Break down and cry, and beg you stay? Get mad and accuse you of not loving her?

Sometimes no matter how bad off another person is, you still have to look after yourself and do whats best.
 

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The other night I got angry and asked her how long she needed to move out. I felt bad, but it's how I feel. She told me that I was "A Horrible Person" for saying such a thing. I sat down with her a couple of days later at a more calmer time and told her I just don't how long I could be the support she needs as I am struggling too, but I would try to do my best. She thanked me for being honest. I also told her that I would make no guarantees, in which she said she could except that.

I do know that my son comes first and I have to decide whether or not this will work. I was so hoping to lite a fire under her, but nothing yet. It will be interesting to see if she responds or does nothing.

I guess time will tell.
 

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I so appreciate you thoughts. I don't know how long I will want to hang around. I also have a 12 year old to think about and this affects him also.

I will be the first person to admit that I am far from perfect and at times have maybe said to much out of anger and frustration. I feel so bad that I responded that way to her. The worst part is when I have said something, she takes it so personal and makes me feel like I'm the bad person. It's gotten to the point where I don't say much. I get so tired of hearing "well you said I was this or that", when in truth I just may have pointed something our that needed attention.

One other thing that really bothers me is the fact that she will be perfectly fine and nice with her childen, but when it comes to my son and I she will be totally different, it seems like we bring the angry person out in her for some reason. Her own daughter told me that she notices how she treats us differently, but I will say there have been times when she has been a little mean to her daughter too, but not very much.

I know there are always two sides to every story and maybe I have done my share at times to make things difficult, but I do really try everyday to be my best in all I do and live a good respectable life.

Life can surely throw some curves at times.
It occurs to me that maybe she thinks she is unworthy of you and is a burden and maybe on some level wants you to go away and live your life and be happy, but cannot say this to you and so is effectively pushing you away in other ways. But I don't her, so I could be totally wrong.
 

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I broke my neck 4 years ago. Ever since then I've had to deal with severe chronic pain. I've done the whole 9 yards 3 times(including 12-14 steroid injections) and surgery. My injury happened in my mid 30's also, so I'm fairly young to be physically disabled and housebound. I fully understand what your fiancée is going through. One thing you need to do is be supportive.

I could not ask for a better or more supportive husband. I have not once heard a complaint from him even with our major life change and him stepping up in helping me do my share of the work. I do not like to talk to my family about my pain. There are weeks where the pain is unbearable and I'm stuck in bed or on the couch. Before I broke my neck I was running 6 miles a day and racing in triathlons, this was the hardest to overcome. I can not walk more then a few hundred feet without resting or I need a wheelchair.:/ I'm judged by my family(parents/aunts/uncles/ect... I've been told some pretty nasty things these last 4 years right down to my mother telling me to stop "faking/milking it", calling me a hypochondriac and telling me I'm lazy.:/

One thing is I do have my bad days. I feel like a complete failure. I feel like I failed my husband and my children. If I look forward to what the future may hold or how long I've delt with this, I'll lock myself in my bedroom and bawl my eyes out for a day or two. However, I am not depressed, but when my pain is unmanageable for days/weeks I'll have full blown anxiety attacks. I've never had anxiety before my injury.

One thing I really hate is when someone tells me I need to see a doctor or what treatments I need to try. I've done everything under the sun several times and nothings work. Pain meds I'm very sensitive or allergic to, so there are not many I can take, they do not work well for my pain either. On my good days they only take the edge off the pain. I work very closely with my pain management clinic and my pain doctor is just as supportive as my husband.

The road ahead for me does not look pleasent. I'll have this severe pain and disability for the rest of my life. It took me 3 full years to accept the pain. Without my husband/children and pain clinic, life would NOT be worth living.

I have to live day by day. I try not to look to far into the future. I've learned my physical limitations and I try not to push them or I pay the price of unbearable pain. I also took up 2 hobbies/passions. Which are cooking/baking and my flock of chickens. I try to stay as mobile as possible on a daily basis. I finally started biking again, but I can not move the upper half of my body.

The best thing you can to I'd be supportive. Don't push it. Once she's accepted the pain your sex life should improve. We went nearly a year without sex and it was very infrequent until I learned how to accept this new lifestyle. Like I stated before a few times, my husband and pain clinic are extremely supportive with me. Good luck! I wish your finance well! I'm so grateful my husband stuck with me. It literally saved my life. He did not sign up for me being this way either.
 

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I found this letter online and sent it to my family. It's a great letter.

LETTER TO PEOPLE WITHOUT CHRONIC PAIN:



Having chronic pain means many things change, and a lot of them are invisible. Unlike having cancer or being hurt in an accident, most people do not understand even a little about chronic pain and its effects, and of those that think they know, many are actually misinformed.


In the spirit of informing those who wish to understand ...

... These are the things that I would like you to understand about me before you judge me...

Please understand that being in severe pain doesn't mean I'm not still a human being. I have to spend most of my day in considerable pain and exhaustion, and if you visit, sometimes I probably don't seem like much fun to be with, but I'm still me-- stuck inside this body. I still worry about school, my family, my friends, and most of the time - I'd still like to hear you talk about yours, too.


Please understand the difference between "happy" and "healthy". When you've got the flu, you probably feel miserable with it, but I've been in pain for years. I can't be miserable all the time. In fact, I work hard at not being miserable. So, if you're talking to me and I sound happy, it means I'm happy. That's all. It doesn't mean that I'm not in a lot of pain, or extremely tired, or that I'm getting better, or any of those things. Please don't say, "Oh, you're sounding better!" or "But you look so healthy!¨ I am merely coping. I am sounding happy and trying to look normal. If you want to comment on that, you're welcome.


Please understand that being able to stand up for ten minutes doesn't necessarily mean that I can stand up for twenty minutes, or an hour. Just because I managed to stand up for thirty minutes yesterday doesn't mean that I can do the same today. With a lot of diseases you're either paralyzed, or you can move. With this one, it gets more confusing everyday. It can be like a yo-yo. I never know from day to day, how I am going to feel when I wake up. In most cases, I never know from minute to minute. That is one of the hardest and most frustrating components of chronic pain.


Please repeat the above paragraph substituting, "sitting", "walking", "thinking", "concentrating", "being sociable" and so on ... it applies to everything. That's what chronic pain does to you.


Please understand that chronic pain is variable. It's quite possible (for many, it's common) that one day I am able to walk to the park and back, while the next day I'll have trouble getting to the next room. Please don't attack me when I'm ill by saying, "But you did it before!" or Oh, come on, I know you can do this!" If you want me to do something, then ask if I can. In a similar vein, I may need to cancel a previous commitment at the last minute. If this happens, please do not take it personally. If you are able, please try to always remember how very lucky you are--to be physically able to do all of the things that you can do.


Please understand that "getting out and doing things" does not make me feel better, and can often make me seriously worse. You don't know what I go through or how I suffer in my own private time. Telling me that I need to exercise, or do some things to get my mind off of it¨ may frustrate me to tears, and is not correct if I was capable of doing some things any or all of the time, don't you know that I would? I am working with my doctor and I am doing what I am supposed to do. Another statement that hurts is, "You just need to push yourself more, try harder..." Obviously, chronic pain can deal with the whole body, or be localized to specific areas. Sometimes participating in a single activity for a short or a long period of time can cause more damage and physical pain than you could ever imagine. Not to mention the recovery time, which can be intense. You can't always read it on my face or in my body language. Also, chronic pain may cause secondary depression (wouldn't you get depressed and down if you were hurting constantly for months or years?), but it is not created by depression.


Please understand that if I say I have to sit down/lie down/stay in bed/or take these pills now, that probably means that I do have to do it right now - it can't be put off or forgotten just because I'm somewhere, or am right in the middle of doing something. Chronic pain does not forgive, nor does it wait for anyone.


If you want to suggest a cure to me, please don't. It's not because I don't appreciate the thought, and it's not because I don't want to get well. Lord knows that isn't true. In all likelihood, if you've heard of it or tried it, so have I. In some cases, I have been made sicker, not better. This can involve side effects or allergic reactions. It also includes failure, which in and of itself can make me feel even lower. If there were something that cured, or even helped people with my form of chronic pain, then we'd know about it. There is worldwide networking (both on and off the Internet) between people with chronic pain. If something worked, we would KNOW. It's definitely not for lack of trying. If, after reading this, you still feel the need to suggest a cure, then so be it. I may take what you said and discuss it with my doctor.


If I seem touchy, it's probably because I am. It's not how I try to be. As a matter of fact, I try very hard to be normal. I hope you will try to understand. I have been, and am still, going through a lot. Chronic pain is hard for you to understand unless you have had it. It wreaks havoc on the body and the mind. It is exhausting and exasperating. Almost all the time, I know that I am doing my best to cope with this, and live my life to the best of my ability. I ask you to bear with me, and accept me as I am. I know that you cannot literally understand my situation unless you have been in my shoes, but as much as is possible, I am asking you to try to be understanding in general.


In many ways I depend on you - people who are not in pain. I need you to visit me when I am in too much pain to go out... Sometimes I need you help me with the shopping, cooking or cleaning. I may need you to take me to the doctor, or to the store. You are my link to the normalcy of life. You can help me to keep in touch with the parts of life that I miss and fully intend to undertake again, just as soon as I am able.

I know that I have asked a lot from you, and I do thank you for listening. It really does mean a lot.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

**********************************


TIPS FOR DEALING WITH PEOPLE IN PAIN

1. People with chronic pain seem unreliable (we can't count on ourselves). When feeling better we promise things (and mean it); when in serious pain, we may not even show up.

2. An action or situation may result in pain several hours later, or even the next day. Delayed pain is confusing to people who have never experienced it.

3. Pain can inhibit listening and other communication skills. It's like having someone shouting at you, or trying to talk with a fire alarm going off in the room. The effect of pain on the mind can seem like attention deficit disorder. So you may have to repeat a request, or write things down for a person with chronic pain. Don't take it personally, or think that they are stupid.

4. The senses can overload while in pain. For example, noises that wouldn't normally bother you, seem too much.

5. Patience may seem short. We can't wait in a long line; can't wait for a long drawn out conversation.

6. Don't always ask "how are you" unless you are genuinely prepared to listen it just points attention inward.

7. Pain can sometimes trigger psychological disabilities (usually very temporary). When in pain, a small task, like hanging out the laundry, can seem like a huge wall, too high to climb over. An hour later the same job may be quite OK. It is sane to be depressed occasionally when you hurt.

8. Pain can come on fairly quickly and unexpectedly. Pain sometimes abates after a short rest. Chronic pain people appear to arrive and fade unpredictably to others.

9. Knowing where a refuge is, such as a couch, a bed, or comfortable chair, is as important as knowing where a bathroom is. A visit is much more enjoyable if the chronic pain person knows there is a refuge if needed. A person with chronic pain may not want to go anywhere that has no refuge (e.g.no place to sit or lie down).

10. Small acts of kindness can seem like huge acts of mercy to a person in pain. Your offer of a pillow or a cup of tea can be a really big thing to a person who is feeling temporarily helpless in the face of encroaching pain.

11. Not all pain is easy to locate or describe. Sometimes there is a body-wide feeling of discomfort, with hard to describe pains in the entire back, or in both legs, but not in one particular spot you can point to. Our vocabulary for pain is very limited, compared to the body's ability to feel varieties of discomfort.

12. We may not have a good "reason" for the pain. Medical science is still limited in its understanding of pain. Many people have pain that is not yet classified by doctors as an officially recognized "disease". That does not reduce the pain, - it only reduces our ability to give it a label, and to have you believe us.

Author unknown
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I found this letter online and sent it to my family. It's a great letter.

LETTER TO PEOPLE WITHOUT CHRONIC PAIN:



Having chronic pain means many things change, and a lot of them are invisible. Unlike having cancer or being hurt in an accident, most people do not understand even a little about chronic pain and its effects, and of those that think they know, many are actually misinformed.


In the spirit of informing those who wish to understand ...

... These are the things that I would like you to understand about me before you judge me...

Please understand that being in severe pain doesn't mean I'm not still a human being. I have to spend most of my day in considerable pain and exhaustion, and if you visit, sometimes I probably don't seem like much fun to be with, but I'm still me-- stuck inside this body. I still worry about school, my family, my friends, and most of the time - I'd still like to hear you talk about yours, too.


Please understand the difference between "happy" and "healthy". When you've got the flu, you probably feel miserable with it, but I've been in pain for years. I can't be miserable all the time. In fact, I work hard at not being miserable. So, if you're talking to me and I sound happy, it means I'm happy. That's all. It doesn't mean that I'm not in a lot of pain, or extremely tired, or that I'm getting better, or any of those things. Please don't say, "Oh, you're sounding better!" or "But you look so healthy!¨ I am merely coping. I am sounding happy and trying to look normal. If you want to comment on that, you're welcome.


Please understand that being able to stand up for ten minutes doesn't necessarily mean that I can stand up for twenty minutes, or an hour. Just because I managed to stand up for thirty minutes yesterday doesn't mean that I can do the same today. With a lot of diseases you're either paralyzed, or you can move. With this one, it gets more confusing everyday. It can be like a yo-yo. I never know from day to day, how I am going to feel when I wake up. In most cases, I never know from minute to minute. That is one of the hardest and most frustrating components of chronic pain.


Please repeat the above paragraph substituting, "sitting", "walking", "thinking", "concentrating", "being sociable" and so on ... it applies to everything. That's what chronic pain does to you.


Please understand that chronic pain is variable. It's quite possible (for many, it's common) that one day I am able to walk to the park and back, while the next day I'll have trouble getting to the next room. Please don't attack me when I'm ill by saying, "But you did it before!" or Oh, come on, I know you can do this!" If you want me to do something, then ask if I can. In a similar vein, I may need to cancel a previous commitment at the last minute. If this happens, please do not take it personally. If you are able, please try to always remember how very lucky you are--to be physically able to do all of the things that you can do.


Please understand that "getting out and doing things" does not make me feel better, and can often make me seriously worse. You don't know what I go through or how I suffer in my own private time. Telling me that I need to exercise, or do some things to get my mind off of it¨ may frustrate me to tears, and is not correct if I was capable of doing some things any or all of the time, don't you know that I would? I am working with my doctor and I am doing what I am supposed to do. Another statement that hurts is, "You just need to push yourself more, try harder..." Obviously, chronic pain can deal with the whole body, or be localized to specific areas. Sometimes participating in a single activity for a short or a long period of time can cause more damage and physical pain than you could ever imagine. Not to mention the recovery time, which can be intense. You can't always read it on my face or in my body language. Also, chronic pain may cause secondary depression (wouldn't you get depressed and down if you were hurting constantly for months or years?), but it is not created by depression.


Please understand that if I say I have to sit down/lie down/stay in bed/or take these pills now, that probably means that I do have to do it right now - it can't be put off or forgotten just because I'm somewhere, or am right in the middle of doing something. Chronic pain does not forgive, nor does it wait for anyone.


If you want to suggest a cure to me, please don't. It's not because I don't appreciate the thought, and it's not because I don't want to get well. Lord knows that isn't true. In all likelihood, if you've heard of it or tried it, so have I. In some cases, I have been made sicker, not better. This can involve side effects or allergic reactions. It also includes failure, which in and of itself can make me feel even lower. If there were something that cured, or even helped people with my form of chronic pain, then we'd know about it. There is worldwide networking (both on and off the Internet) between people with chronic pain. If something worked, we would KNOW. It's definitely not for lack of trying. If, after reading this, you still feel the need to suggest a cure, then so be it. I may take what you said and discuss it with my doctor.


If I seem touchy, it's probably because I am. It's not how I try to be. As a matter of fact, I try very hard to be normal. I hope you will try to understand. I have been, and am still, going through a lot. Chronic pain is hard for you to understand unless you have had it. It wreaks havoc on the body and the mind. It is exhausting and exasperating. Almost all the time, I know that I am doing my best to cope with this, and live my life to the best of my ability. I ask you to bear with me, and accept me as I am. I know that you cannot literally understand my situation unless you have been in my shoes, but as much as is possible, I am asking you to try to be understanding in general.


In many ways I depend on you - people who are not in pain. I need you to visit me when I am in too much pain to go out... Sometimes I need you help me with the shopping, cooking or cleaning. I may need you to take me to the doctor, or to the store. You are my link to the normalcy of life. You can help me to keep in touch with the parts of life that I miss and fully intend to undertake again, just as soon as I am able.

I know that I have asked a lot from you, and I do thank you for listening. It really does mean a lot.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

**********************************


TIPS FOR DEALING WITH PEOPLE IN PAIN

1. People with chronic pain seem unreliable (we can't count on ourselves). When feeling better we promise things (and mean it); when in serious pain, we may not even show up.

2. An action or situation may result in pain several hours later, or even the next day. Delayed pain is confusing to people who have never experienced it.

3. Pain can inhibit listening and other communication skills. It's like having someone shouting at you, or trying to talk with a fire alarm going off in the room. The effect of pain on the mind can seem like attention deficit disorder. So you may have to repeat a request, or write things down for a person with chronic pain. Don't take it personally, or think that they are stupid.

4. The senses can overload while in pain. For example, noises that wouldn't normally bother you, seem too much.

5. Patience may seem short. We can't wait in a long line; can't wait for a long drawn out conversation.

6. Don't always ask "how are you" unless you are genuinely prepared to listen it just points attention inward.

7. Pain can sometimes trigger psychological disabilities (usually very temporary). When in pain, a small task, like hanging out the laundry, can seem like a huge wall, too high to climb over. An hour later the same job may be quite OK. It is sane to be depressed occasionally when you hurt.

8. Pain can come on fairly quickly and unexpectedly. Pain sometimes abates after a short rest. Chronic pain people appear to arrive and fade unpredictably to others.

9. Knowing where a refuge is, such as a couch, a bed, or comfortable chair, is as important as knowing where a bathroom is. A visit is much more enjoyable if the chronic pain person knows there is a refuge if needed. A person with chronic pain may not want to go anywhere that has no refuge (e.g.no place to sit or lie down).

10. Small acts of kindness can seem like huge acts of mercy to a person in pain. Your offer of a pillow or a cup of tea can be a really big thing to a person who is feeling temporarily helpless in the face of encroaching pain.

11. Not all pain is easy to locate or describe. Sometimes there is a body-wide feeling of discomfort, with hard to describe pains in the entire back, or in both legs, but not in one particular spot you can point to. Our vocabulary for pain is very limited, compared to the body's ability to feel varieties of discomfort.

12. We may not have a good "reason" for the pain. Medical science is still limited in its understanding of pain. Many people have pain that is not yet classified by doctors as an officially recognized "disease". That does not reduce the pain, - it only reduces our ability to give it a label, and to have you believe us.

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you for you kind thoughts. It does point out a different perspective to look at. I have so much to think about.
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