Maintaining Relationships

​​When you can, it is often helpful to try to spend time with friends and family. Having fun with other people can help you feel normal and forget about some of your worries, even for a short time. Your friendships may change through your experience with chronic pain. Some friends will be amazing and supportive and others may become more distant. Some people have difficulty knowing how to help someone who is suffering and then avoid conversations and interactions with that person.

If you feel that someone in your life is keeping their distance, try to have an open conversation with them. Tell them what you are seeing and how you are feeling and how you can work together to build your friendship. At the same time, remember that your friends still have their own needs. They may be lonely when you are unable to hang out with them regularly. They may also want to discuss their problems with you but feel that they cannot because they might not seem as important. However, your friends’ problems are important to them and they need support from you as well.

You might also make new friends with other people who are going through similar experiences. At this time in your life, try to stay connected to those people who offer you support and help you feel good. Chronic pain is too much for one person to deal with alone. Remember that the more you can be open with your friends, the more chance they have to understand and to be supportive and accepting.

Check out any support groups or resources that your community may provide. If you are interested, these can help you to make friends with people who have direct experience with what you’re going through. At times, there will probably be things that you used to do with your friends, family or partner that you feel unable to do. This can be really difficult to accept. Talk to your healthcare team about activity options. With some adjustments, you may be able to do more than you think.

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