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Why It Is Important to Connect With Others When Living With Chronic Pain

You know you’ve heard that saying ‚Äúmisery loves company.” It’s¬†typically thought of with somewhat negative connotations and isn’t always¬†quoted with the utmost positivity, but in the chronic illness community, it’s a¬†little different.

Throughout my entire life with chronic illness and anxiety,¬†I always had an extremely hard time believing anyone could understand me.¬†Living with diseases that aren’t often talked about or taught to people on a¬†large scale can cause feelings of extreme loneliness and isolation. There is so often paranoia, depression, and guilt that can accompany a life with chronic¬†illness, especially when we are young and just learning our place in this¬†world.

As chronic illness survivors, it is often a beautiful thing¬†to connect with other human beings who feel our struggle. Since the birth of¬†Facebook and other social media platforms, it has become easier to join a¬†network of other people all over the world who share the same struggles,¬†ideals, or interests. You can have a dialogue in the comfort of your own home¬†with someone going through the same thing you are all the way over in Europe or¬†even as close as down the street in your own city. The convenience of logging on¬†and reaching out can be a source of support that is so critically imperative¬†for chronic illness warriors, and one that should be utilized as often as possible. Of course, most friendships are grown on happiness, joy, and laughter¬†(after all, what are friends for?!), but in the chronic illness community, the¬†most lovely and powerful connections are sometimes cultivated through pain and¬†sorrow. To be understood and accepted by others who, quite simply put, ‚Äújust get¬†it,‚ÄĚ is just an immeasurably wonderful thing.

On the flip side, what’s awesome about self-growth and self-love¬†is that you don’t always have to shout from the rooftops that you are a sick person. Just the feeling of being around like-minded people who all strive¬†for that same light can be so uplifting and not only give mental clarity to the¬†chronically ill but can help in physical ways too. Taking a yoga class,¬†spending the day walking around a museum, going to see a concert or live¬†theatre; these are all activities that help us feel connected to others while¬†we awaken our own spirit. Cashing in on these moments when you are physically¬†able to can manifest joy in powerful and long-term ways that can be so beneficial to your health.

For me, the significance and importance of chronic illness¬†support groups and online networks have been so helpful in my personal journey¬†towards better health. I’ve become more educated, enlightened and strong¬†knowing that these other strong humans exist and fight the same good fight¬†almost daily. At the same time, when I am on my mat in my neighborhood yoga¬†studio, I often wonder if the other people in down dog even know how much they’re¬†helping me. I can’t stress the importance of the human connection when you are¬†living with¬†chronic pain. Whether you want the world to know or only those¬†chosen few, there is so much comfort in realizing that we are all really just trying¬†to live our best life.

Getty Image by Patpitchaya