What It Sounds Like When People Support You Through Your Chronic Pain
When I was first diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome (RSD/CRPS), I went to my friends. I explained to them I had a rare neurological disease with no cure and no real treatment. I told them it would be a long-term commitment to stay in relationship with me as their friend with the challenges I would be facing. I shared that I needed to know up front if they would be willing to hang with me for the long haul and that it would be OK with me if they didn’t think they could stay the course, but I wanted to know. By God’s grace, they all agreed to stay the course with me and it has truly been a blessing. Each one of my friends has been sensitive to my needs. They have known when to hold back and when to speak up. They have been kind, gentle, and loving. I’d like to share some of the kind words that have been said to me over the past four years.
1) I care about you and will support you in any way I can.
2) I’m praying for you every day.
3) I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I want to help you in any way I can.
4) You look great today. How are you feeling?
5) I’m so proud of you for pressing through the day even though you are having so much pain.
6) I don’t know how you do it. You’re an encouragement to so many.
7) I’m going to the grocery store today. Can I get anything for you?
8) I wish I knew how to help you more.
9) It takes courage to share your story.
10) Let me take you to your appointment.
11) Would you be willing to talk to a friend of mine? I think you could bless her by sharing what you’re going through.
12) Just checking on you today. Do you have any plans?
13) Haven’t heard from you in awhile. Are you in your pain cave?
14) I can’t imagine how you get through the day.
15) Don’t worry if you have to cancel today. I understand.
16) You still have a purpose, even in the midst of your adversity.
17) I would be happy to come over and play Scrabble with you (my favorite game).
I share this with you in contrast to my “Hard Words to Hear” piece to help you understand what those who struggle with pain need, and don’t need conversationally. Words have power, and they can wound or heal. I have been on the receiving end of both for a reason; it helps me learn how to relate to others in circumstances similar to my own.
I’m surrounded by the dearest friends anyone could hope for. They are all vastly different and that’s what I love about them. I have been able to stay the course with the support and encouragement of my husband, family, and friends for which I’m thankful. I’m at the beginning of year five with RSD/CRPS, and if you’re a part of my life, I want you to remember that you’re my friend, and you’re dearly loved and appreciated.