When I first started experiencing chronic pain, I had no idea what was going on, nor did the people around me. It was very confusing for everyone and definitely a learning experience for us all. If you know someone that suffers from a chronic illness, these things may help you in supporting them emotionally and/or physically.
- Get to know the illness - Try to take this time to learn about the illness together. Learn what it is, things that trigger it, coping skills, and pain management techniques.
- Understand that it is real - Even though the pain is not visible, it is there and it hurts. Just knowing that the people around me understand that it is real, makes me feel less alone.
- Be a good listener - I feel so much better when I have someone to talk to about how I feel, things I'm going through, and my stresses. One of my triggers is stress, so having someone to talk to really helps.
- Help out - Offer to help around the house, cook meals, clean, shop, etc. Anything to help the person feel that you are there for them, when they are not physically able to take on everything for themselves.
- Have patience - Try to understand that the person suffering with a chronic illness could be going through many emotions, such as anger, sadness, depression, etc. In result, these emotions could sometimes cause the person to feel or act different. I tend to become more irritable and upset when I am hurting the most. During these times, it helps when someone lets me know or feel like they are there for me.
- What are some things that help you feel supported by a loved one or friend, when suffering from a chronic illness?