Regardless of the cause, people who suffer from chronic pain often feel misunderstood by their friends and family. Typically during the initial phases of an illness pain sufferers receive sympathy and understanding . After a long period of prolonged pain, however, it is common for loved ones to appear uncaring and "tired of" the patient's persistent complaints of pain, particularly in the midst of decreased functioning. Unable to help with household chores, attend social functions, or participate in recreation activities formerly shared with others, chronic pain patients begin to feel like a burden. It is not unusual to feel blamed for the persistence of their condition. Losing the support of loved ones is one of the most emotionally distressing aspects of chronic pain.
Given the importance of feeling understood, I am sharing the following letter written to help enlighten people close to the person suffering from chronic pain. The letter was previously posted on the HOPE website (Health Organization for Pudendal Education).
LETTER TO PEOPLE WITHOUT CHRONIC PAIN: