This post could be better worded in the first person because it represents what I want my loved ones (family and close friends) to know about me. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to these folks for everything they’ve done for me. I just want them to understand a couple things about how I’m feeling.
I feel confident speaking for all of us here after spending more than a decade online with other chronically sick folks. One size does not fit all when it comes to chronic pain, disease, and loved ones (as it does with everything else in life), but here are the top three things I believe most individuals with chronic pain want their loved ones to know about us:
1. Our sadness for the life we lost may resurface from time to time… forever.
Serious sickness is one life event that occurs on all types of “life stress scales.” It’s seen as a grief-inducing occurrence, similar to other severe life losses like the end of a relationship due to divorce or death. I had no concept that the folks I knew who had long-term health issues were mourning until I became chronically ill. Now I realize there’s a lot to be sad about: the loss of our capacity to be as productive as we once were, the loss of friends, the inability to participate in favorite activities, and our independence.
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