If you have a chronic disease like me (CRPS) then you will no doubt me on numerous tablets, pills, creams and potions to try and get you through the day. But I have found something much better: Camaraderie.
Talking to someone who has the same condition as you, or another chronic pain condition is the best remedy. It won’t cure you, it may not even make the pain go away, but it will help you feel mentally better. Having CRPS can often feel very lonely, especially as there doesn’t “look like” there is anything wrong with you. People will say “It’s in your head” or “you can’t be in that much pain!” all of which can make you feel deserted in a crowded room. So talking to someone who is going through the same thing (or similar) helps alleviate the stress of talking to non sufferers.
I’m lucky enough to have a great supportive family in my very supportive and selfless wife and understanding children. My in laws and parents understand, and my Aunt is always easy to speak to. But none of them have chronic pain. So they can never understand what I am really going through (which is by no means a criticism of them). For example, if you are a man, you don’t have a clue what child birth is like. Even if you were there in the delivery room, you can’t have a hope of knowing what it actually feels like to have a foetus move through your birth canal and become a person. You could probably guess it’s painful by the fact the lady next to you is screaming at the top of her voice, or the enraged fist she throws at your face, but you don’t really know. This is the same for a Chronic pain person and a non Chronic Pain Person. They can only imagine (and hopefully empathise) the pain fighters go through putting on a shoe, or a shirt, or spreading butter on toast.
The reason I bring this up is because yesterday I met someone who I have befriended on Twitter. I have never done this before, mainly because of my work background I am very weary of asking people to meet me. Not because I don’t trust them, but because I don’t want to come across as a creep, luring lonely girls out of their comfort. As it happens, Lynsey’s boyfriend had the same concerns and made sure she met me in a public place (always wise).
Still, I met Lynsey in our local Starbucks and we had a great chat. We exchanged war wounds, tablets and doses, which doctors we were under and which treatments we had tried. It was great that we had so much in common, as she lives in the same town as me and therefore sees the same pain consultant as me. Lynsey has had CRPS considerably longer than me as well as other health problems. She has been writing about them on her blog, which has a total of 16,500 followers. What I wouldn’t give to reach that kind of audience! I strongly suggest you go and visit her blog to see how others cope with CRPS.
To conclude, I strongly suggest that if you are a CRPS sufferer, or any Chronic Pain Sufferer, that you get yourself online and ‘meet’ other fighters online. I have a great support network on Twitter where we talk everyday and help each other through the highs and lows. If you do suffer from ANY chronic illness, follow me, and we will support you too.