Coping, Friends & Family

Chronic Pain’s Impact on Families

Not helping around the house, canceling plans, burdening loved ones. … Guilt may be the most frequently recurring topic on The Daily Headache. For both readers and me, the guilt nearly always revolves around letting other people down.

The impact of chronic pain — or any other chronic illness — on our family and friends is undeniable. Episodic migraines or other disabling headaches also affect relationships significantly.

So you’d think there would be a wealth of information about helping families and loved ones cope with your illness. Not so much. Fortunately, New York Times columnist Jane Brody explores the topic in Chronic Pain: A Burden Often Shared. She writes:

Healthy family members are often overworked from assuming the duties of the person in pain. They have little time and energy for friends and other diversions, and they may fret over how to make ends meet when expenses rise and family incomes shrink.

It is easy to see how tempers can flare at the slightest provocation. The combination of unrelieved suffering on the one hand and constant stress and fatigue on the other can be highly volatile, even among the most loving couples — whose burdens are often worsened by a decline of intimacy.

The American Chronic Pain Association‘s Family Manual, which Brody references in the article, is $25. I also recommend Chronic Pain and the Family. The websites for the Well Spouse Association and the National Family Caregivers Association are also helpful. I also provide resources in Friends, Family & Illness.

[via In Sickness In Health]