Suffering from chronic pain and chronic illness now for 20 years, there is many times I have felt alone. Suffering from invisible illnesses and pain that can’t be seen, usually makes it difficult for me to find people who can relate to me. For the longest time, I never wanted to talk about how hard it was and how much pain that I am really in. But the big questions today is, how do we not feel so isolated?
Chronic pain is so lonely!
Living with chronic pain can be lonely for whomever suffers from it. Most of the time, pain is invisible and unless you are the one suffering from it, it is hard to detect. I have people in my life tell me that it can’t be that bad, I get out of bed most days. Or that most of it is in my head and if I didn’t think about it, I would feel better,
Most people don’t realize that just because you look “normal” that doesn’t meant that you aren’t suffering from pain. I’ve learned over the years to keep my pain to myself and not let many people know that is what I am suffering with. You learn to begin to suffer in silence and not talk about how you are truelove feeling. People ask me if I am ok, and most the time I will answer yes. For those that are closer to me, I allow them to know what is really going on. But even then I choose my words carefully and not give a lot of details. Why is that? I don’t want to come across as I am whining or making things up.
What make it so lonely?
Even though there are about 100 million people in America suffering with invisible pain and illnesses, it’s still not something that is commonly talked about. I have often wondered why. Until I began to have more and more issues with chronic pain, was I able to know what made it so isolating. People would ask me how I was feeling or how my pain was doing. I really thought that they wanted to know, but I would begin my long journey of telling them everything that was going on, and until I started to notice the glazed eyes, I would keep talking. It was when I noticed the glazed eyes, I realized that I was boring them to death. Most people ask out of being polite, but they don’t have time to listen to my problems or really cared.
I am sure that there are many people out there that do really care but people have their own life going on and can’t be bothered with other people’s problems. It’s not so much that we are isolated from others, as it is that everyone has their own lives to live, and their own problems to handle.
Do they really care?
I have now started to feel people out more when someone asks me how I am doing. Are they someone who is truly caring about how I am feeling or someone who is just being polite? Is this a person that really cares about you or someone who is just making conversation? Once you start to read the person, you can adjust how much information you allow that person to know. Remember, this is your life, and not everyone wants to know all the details of your most recent colonoscopy!
There are times, though, when I need someone to talk to and listen to how I am feeling. When that situation happens, I choose to tell those that have been there for me before. I start with vague details, and if there isnt glazing of the eyes, I share more. Those that really want to know how you are feeling or doing, will ask those questions to have you talk more.
When the times happen that I really need to talk, I turn to my therapist. She is paid to listen to me and I can talk for an hour without seeing the glazing of the eyes. Anytime that I spend with my therapist, I feel better. I’m able to open up about I am really feeling and feel better about how I feel.
Those of us that do have chronic pain and illnesses, should have someone like a therapist to talk too. Having chronic pain and illness is difficult enough. But not having that someone to talk to you, makes it hard. We need to get things off our chest and not dwell on things. And sometimes, we feel better afterwards.
Feeling isolated, is one of the worse feelings in the world. Suffering alone is not the way we should live our life. It makes it harder to live with chronic pain and illnesses. Sharing how we feels helps us deal with the chronic isolation. Whether that is sharing with someone who is a paid therapist, or our best friend that has been there with us. Find some way to talk about it all and its ok to let others in your life.
Let me know in the comments below who you feel more comfortable talking with. Or answer the poll questions for tonight’s post.