For those of us who are faced with chronic pain this holiday season, perhaps the best gift we can give each other is compassion.
Compassion comes from the Latin words meaning "to suffer together." How do we meaningfully invite - or offer to someone - to "suffer together"? Here are some ideas...
Look depression in the eye
Depression and chronic back pain are constant companions. This is more than a little issue. The combination of serious pain and depression is big, gut wrenching, and lonely. Look it in the eye – read and get smart about it and/or send your trusted someone an article about it and ask to talk.
Rely on someone else's words
It can be hard to advocate for yourself when you are dealing with pain. Share this open letter from a person suffering from chronic pain - identify which of these powerful messages reflect you and discuss them with someone you trust.
- Create natural, painkilling, "feel good" endorphins together with stretching, aerobic walks around the block, or buying a yoga video with each other.
- Massage: A gift certificate for massage therapy shows you are thinking about and honoring the person's unique needs. And don't be afraid to add this to your wish list if you need it.
- Empower yourself or your loved one by learning about and practicing coping techniques together – all possible with little or no financial commitment or medical risks.
Try something new together
Whether you are in pain or supporting someone you care about, working together to find solutions will create a sense of "we're in this together."
Join the group
If you're feeling alone, join others who are in similar situations on our Forums. Hearing from other people who are already walking in your shoes can be a tremendous support, and helping others with your experience and support is truly compassionate and healing in its own way.
This holiday season, if you notice a loved one withdrawing because of pain and depression, reach out to that person and share that you are willing to walk with them in their pain.
If you are feeling alone or misunderstood in your own pain, we encourage you to do what you can to reach out to someone you trust for support. Indeed, compassion can sometimes make a bigger difference than all the medicines and therapies in the world.