Monday, May 11, 2009

Chronic Pain & Sympathizing

I thought for some time there that dealing with my own chronic pain made me more sympathetic to the pain that others were feeling.

Um, not so much.

Sometimes I feel like I can be more understanding because I know how much it sucks to be in so much pain.

But more often than not, I find myself getting easily frustrated when someone else mentions pain in their shoulder or pain in their leg, and I feel like saying "yeah well, just imagine if that pain was ALL over your body, 24/7, 365... you would feel MUCH worse than you do now, I'll bet ya!"

Now obviously that would be a totally unfair response. I don't know for sure how much pain they're experiencing, and they can't know exactly what I'm going through either. But I think with a syndrome like Fibro it's easy to think that whatever someone else is dealing with in just one area of their body, I must be dealing with a lot more because it's everywhere not just one place.

I get agitated when people try to sympathize with me "oh yeah, I've had chronic back pain for years".

I know that's a horribly selfish reaction, but it's hard to think back now and imagine what it was like to only feel pain in just one or two areas at a time. Wow, even if that pain is excruciating, I'd trade it any day for all-over excruciating body pain that never goes away.

I don't always have the same reaction with each person or circumstance. I love the people in my life dearly and I try to be as understanding as possible. I try to generally keep these selfish reactions to myself. I want to be sympathetic and tell people that I truly understand how difficult the pain is. I don't want to say it in anger or frustration.

But, I'm not perfect and don't always react the way that I should. Please forgive me if you're reading this and you're a person in my life that I've slighted in some way in this regard. I don't mean it personally.

Oh Lord, I pray that you will protect my heart from Satan's evil tactics. Please protect my heart from pride and entanglement, that I might glorify you in everything I do... that I might stand firm for you and not waiver in bringing you honor and glory for the rest of my days. I pray that I will be able to humble myself before you and others, that I may be more sympathetic and understanding to those around me dealing with pain themselves... that I might be able to use this Fibromyalgia in ways I never could have imagined. I trust you fully, God. I put my life completely in your hands.

Do those of you who deal with Fibro, Lyme's, Lupus, or other such chronic illnesses ever find yourselves feeling this way...??

Please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts,
or email me at

Side Note: I've been working on this post for dayssss (started on 5/4) and ended up deleting quite a bit of what I wrote. I tried really hard to get into this post but I've hit a deep fibro fog and cannot seem to finish this or make much sense even with what I have written. Quite frustrating! So alas, it is what it is. I have to just step away!


~~Deby said...

do I deal with this....I *think* those things all the time..and when someone says is easy for me to say "welcome to my world"....and someone says they are tired ??????...TIRED, I you know what it is like to live with chronic overwhelming fatigue...and not sleep at night for long because it hurts..I do have compassion for those with fibro etc...because they really know..but I do not have much when it comes to someone who says..."Oh I used to have it, but did such and such" belief is that they NEVER had it..
So you are right on..and sometimes, probably most times, I try hard to bite my is rough..I rarely blog about it..except here on your blog..I know you understand...LOL...

Rochelle said...

thanks Deby! yes, we do indeed understand each other! thanks for your comment! :)

Sarakastic said...

I always had the same reaction, especially hwen people mentioned migraines because I was like "my whole body is a migraine." Then I actually had a bona fide full out can't open my eyes hurts too much to vomit migraine and understood a little bit of what all the fuss was over. I usually just try to be supportive of people in pain & eventually they usually come back and say that they know a little bit better of what I go through everyday.