I know, I have heard it before: “I feel bad enough already. Why would I go somewhere just to sit and listen to other people complain about their pain?” A few years ago, I would have asked the same question. Now, fortunately for me, I belong to a support group for people with chronic pain and I can list reasons why I am grateful for the blessing of belonging.
First of all, after 8 monthly meetings I have attended, I have found a group where I do not feel like an outsider. When I have sat in a chair as long as I can, I just stand up and move around. Everyone understands, and some of them do the same thing. If I am ever too overwhelmed with living a life in pain and don’t feel like going out, I am understood and comforted by my group friends.
No one tells me “You don’t look sick/pained” or suggests that I am just looking for attention. In fact, if I do need attention in a meeting, all I have to do is ask for it and explain. No one complains that I took a handicapped parking space when I “obviously” don’t need it. No one tells me to “just get over it, move on with your life.” No one rolls their eyes when I groan, getting out of my chair. You know what I am talking about. In fact, several other insults to your efforts to live something akin to a normal life probably roll right off your tongue as you read this.
Other reasons to belong to a Chronic Pain Support Group include:
*Sharing experiences of successful and unsuccessful methods to manage pain.
*Sharing new pain management techniques and medications, and information about pain management physicians when someone has lost their pain doc.
*Sharing resources like who to follow on social media for the best information regarding debates in pain management, etc., and articles that help us keep up with and understand this controversial and complicated field of medicine.
*Learning from physicians, psychologists and other professionals in pain care about new legislation, new research, and alternative pain management methods, in detail. (At special meetings, not every meeting)
*Having a group of people I can ask for information or prayer or good thoughts when something difficult for me comes up between meetings.
*Hearing about advocacy groups that members may also belong to, and what successes they are having, or special drives they are conducting.
*Being able to bring a friend or caretaker along to share the experience and knowledge with me, or to assist me.
*Knowing that confidentiality is observed faithfully, and what is said in meetings stays in the meeting.
*Knowing that I will not be expected to do what I can’t or don’t wish to do, without losing the respect and support of the group.
*I am doing something positive for myself, and working to break the chains of pain in my life. And I am not alone.
I am sure that with the passing of time and our growing together in caring and in knowledge, more reasons will be added to this list. Meanwhile, no discussion of reasons to join a support group would be complete without access to the article written about our group by our recent speaker and supporter, Dr. James P. Murphy:
BTW, our next meeting will be Wednesday, September 12th. 4:00 to 5:30 pm. Dr. Murphy’s article has further details on where, etc. Please join us!