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7 Things to Expect When You Are Dating a Girl With CRPS

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Complex regional pain syndrome is a complex neurological disorder that does not only affect the patient, but affects their family and friends. Some of the main symptoms include chronic, severe pain, skin color and temperature changes, insomnia, and sensitivity to touch. With that may come various bouts of anxiety and depression.

This is a lot for anyone to understand and can make relationships very difficult. CRPS is a very misunderstood disease and nobody knows what it is like unless they are the one living with it, but watching someone go through it can give you an idea. Here is a list of what to expect when you are dating a girl with CRPS:

1. We tend to hide our symptoms.

People living with CRPS may try to hide their symptoms from everyone and can be very good at it. Many don’t like to talk about their symptoms because they don’t want to make others feel bad. With that being said, if I’m asked how I am, I will usually say I am fine because it’s easier than explaining the situation. I will try to remember to tell you when I’m having a day but until that happens, if you can sense something is off, tell me so because it will make me feel comfortable to tell you. Ask me how I am feeling and if there is anything you can do to help.

2. We will have good days and bad days.

Although a day doesn’t go by that I am not in pain, some days are better than others. Some days, I can do just about anything I want and other days, I cannot leave the house or even the bed. Please try to understand and don’t get mad if we have to cancel plans due to a bad day. Instead, you can change the plans to make it more pain-friendly or you can simply come over and watch TV shows or movies instead.

3. Some days we cannot be touched.

Some days, the sensitivity to touch and allodynia is worse than others. On particularly bad days, I will not let anything touch a certain body part. If that is the case, I will walk around with only one sock on, I might wear shorts even though it’s cold or I will only wear soft clothes such as leggings instead of jeans.

4. There will be a lot of frustration.

I will be frustrated that I am not healthy and you may get frustrated that you cannot make me better. You may wish for the pain to be taken away but we both know it’s not that easy. However, we cannot let the frustration get between us.

5. We will spend a lot of time in doctors’ offices, hospitals, testing and treatments.

A lot of my life is spent going from doctor to doctor in the hopes of finding someone who can help. There will be times when I cannot handle the symptoms and I will end up in the emergency room or admitted into the hospital. There will be test after test in order to confirm or deny a diagnosis. I will be given treatment after treatment to try, most of which will not work. Some of these treatments will be brutal. You will see me at my worst and having you by my side will definitely help, but at the same time, I don’t want you to see me like that.

6. Just listen. 

Just the act of talking and having someone to listen is sometimes all I need. I am not looking for advice, I am just looking to vent about something that happened that day.

7. There may be days when the pain, anxiety and depression get the most of me. 

There are going to be days when I feel like quitting and I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. This is when I am going to need your support the most, to remind me that I will get through this and that you will be there for me through it all.

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Photo via Robert Daly on Getty Images

Originally published: November 28, 2017
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