Suffering with chronic pain of any kind is challenging in itself, but when our loved ones fail to understand and show compassion, challenging can easier turn into devastation. My husband is in great health, plus he is as tough as nails. When we were first married he struggled to understand how I could possible have a headache everyday. My pain got in the way of a lot of our plans and as a man he wanted to fix my problem. It was frustrating to him that there was nothing he could do about it and my constant complaints about it only added to our misery. I often felt as if he lacked compassion and he often felt helpless. Therefore, we fought and we fought some more until we figured out how to cope.
Maybe I can help save you from some unnecessary drama! Here are three ways we learned to deal with my chronic pain:
- Keep Complaints to a Minimum: When we are suffering, complaining about it is natural. We become crabby, anxious, and even depressed. But, complaining never made me feel better and it brought negativity to my life and those around me. Venting once in a while, however, is imperative and if we keep venting to a minimum, our loved ones are more apt to pay attention and show compassion when we need it most.
- Have Fun on your Better Days: There was a time in my life that I rarely left the couch and good days were non-existent; but, I did have better days where I could at least transition from the couch to a comfortable seat at the movie theater. Having fun with your loved ones is a must and sometimes we just have to force ourselves even when we don’t feel good. Believe it or not, our loved ones need to see us enjoying life with them to some degree. I am as genuine as they come, but if you must, “Fake it until you make it.”
- Work towards a Team Approach: We cannot control how others respond to our pain, but we can try to lovingly help them to understand how they can take care of us. Instead of crying and yelling, I decided to sit down and have a mature conversation with my husband. I told him that he cannot magically take away my pain, but he can help alleviate the emotional stress by simply trying to show empathy. When he understood that there was something he could do to help fix the problem, he took the necessary steps and my pain soon became our pain. When I felt I was no longer alone in the fight, I started to work harder towards getting better.
Chronic pain is tough on marriages and families, but it does make our relationships stronger. If we can get through chronic pain, we can get through anything!
Are there any steps you can add to this list? How have you and your family learned to cope with the stress of chronic pain? Please let us know in the comments.