THE IMPORTANCE OF A SUPPORT GROUPLack of support and socialization leaves many of us suffering with chronic pain in isolation. This way of life can rob us of one of life’s basic needs, the sense of belonging. Yes, there are people that do like to be alone. But, for the most part, many of us like to have others to talk with, share with and laugh with. We want to be understood and feel as if someone can understand what we are dealing with. This gives us a feeling of, “OH! I am not alone in this!” “Wow! There are others going through the same feelings, problems, etc.”
One of the things I just hate to see in the groups I am involved in are the lonely, suffering people out there! This makes me very sad indeed. Having an illness that leaves you with chronic pain, making working challenging, causing one to be unable to go to work, socialize or prevent you from getting out of the house to do things you use to enjoy definitely can leave you feeling isolated and alone.
Of course, support groups may not be for everyone, talking with family and friends can fill that need for some. But, for others that are left feeling isolated or needing to talk more, belonging to a support group helps one to have others with similar problems to share experiences with.
And yet, some may need a more in-depth outlet such as seeing a psychologist or other type of behavioral specialist. If you have overwhelming feelings of grief or depression or thoughts of harming yourself please seek help. There is a lot out there! There is no shame in asking for help! Many living with moderate to severe chronic pain have wanted to have it stop. It is extremely hard to learn to live with!
Jut know there are many out there that have learned how to live this way and understand every single thing it brings into ones life. You are not alone!
We understand the many aspects of living with chronic pain! It can lead to feeling judged, misunderstood, lonely, isolated, lost, hopeless, helpless, confused, low self esteem and self worth, depressed and feeling as if we have no purpose! That's seriously a lot to carry around in our hearts all alone!
Some support groups may be of help with some of the above emotions! They may be a wonderful place to help you cope. They can be an outlet for openly and honestly sharing your feelings with those that really understand what you're going through because they are living with the same issues. They GET IT!
Support groups can be full of valuable resources. You can actually find a lot of good information, understanding of what to expect with different types of treatment options, share and compare similar experiences, and alternative options. You may learn of things you may not have heard about.
Do be aware that sometimes people in a support group like to share medical advice and they are not a medical specialist! Although many of us have similar issues, all are different and a particular treatment or medication that works for one may not work for others. Only you and your physician, or other health care provider, that specifically know you, should give you medical advice! Please do not take any medical advice from anyone else!
You want to make sure the group you are in is a good fit for you. You might want to look around for one for a bit to make sure it isn't full of negativity, they aren't offering medical advice about exercises, medication, surgeries, "cure all" treatments, selling products or judging you for your treatment decisions that should be left up to you and your physician.
Don't let all this stop you from seeking support in a group though! There are many great ones out there!
For me the number one thing was learning that I was not alone in living with this horrendous chronic pain!!! I was really feeling isolated and alone and when I had seen there were so many support groups on line I started checking them out. At first, I would just sit back and see how the interaction went among the members. I actually found them depressing at first and left the group! But, I then started looking again and found some that were more to my liking. There is something out there for everyone.
There are various ways to find a support group. You can talk with your doctor or other health care providers. Search the Internet, go to an organization's website that is for your diagnosis and see if they have any suggestions. There are many held at various areas, as well as some on Facebook.
Just be careful with sharing personal information online. Also, as my doctor reminded me, I still needed to get out of the house as able! Don't isolate yourself!
Not only am I involved in an online group, after three years of wanting to attend a local chronic pain support group in my area I finally forced myself to go. (Yes, it took me three days to recover from just sitting there for a couple hours!) But I tell you, I can hardly put into words to describe how awesome it was to be there among others that "get it!" It was so encouraging, upbeat, heartfelt and loving that I felt at home among friends I didn't know I had waiting for me!!!
Please, do yourself a huge favor!!! FIND A SUPPORT GROUP THAT FITS YOUR PERSONALITY!! Don't go it alone! There's just no need!
*Just remember that support groups aren't a substitute for regular medical care. Let your doctor know that you're participating in a support group. If you don't think a support group is appropriate for you, but you need help coping with your condition or situation, talk to your doctor about counseling or other types of therapy.