Old 05-05-2013, 07:17 PM #1 (permalink)
mariposa's Avatar
Member
Registered Member
 
Join Date: 2013
Posts: 460
mariposa is on a distinguished road
mariposa mariposa is offline
Member
Registered Member
mariposa's Avatar
Join Date: 2013
City: ???
State: PA
Country: USA
Interest: 1 close relative, 2 friends, I want to help them
Posts: 460
mariposa is on a distinguished road
Default Friend Losing Hope... How Can I Help?

My friend with chronic pain has been having some severely bad days... physically but also emotionally. I've always known her to keep positive no matter what was going on at the time but I see that weakening somewhat in her. It's a new thing and I'm not sure how to handle it.

In your experience, is it better for you when a friend or family member keeps saying the same things that may or may not be helpful (mostly because they really don't know what to say) or is it better for you if they just let you know they're there for when you need to talk/cry, etc.?

Bottom line is that she already knows I'm there for her, but does saying things like "I hope this soon lessens for you" or "maybe it will be better tomorrow" or any other number of things people say repeatedly actually help or make it worse? I'm leaning more toward "what can I do to help you?" and letting it in her court. Does that sound like a good plan to you or will it not help at all? I'm at a loss... it's so different seeing her hopeless.
mariposa is offline  
Old 05-06-2013, 01:43 PM #2 (permalink)
MercyL's Avatar
Member
Registered Member
 
Join Date: 2013
Posts: 120
MercyL is on a distinguished road
MercyL MercyL is offline
Member
Registered Member
MercyL's Avatar
Join Date: 2013
City: Cripple Creek
State: CO
Country: USA
Diagnosed: 01/1986
Interest: I've suffered with Chronic Pain Syndrome
Posts: 120
MercyL is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Friend Losing Hope... How Can I Help?

Just so you know, we who suffer with chronic pain really do appreciate the help friends offer. It is sometimes difficult to show that appreciation, but it is there. It takes a lot of energy to get through good days, because the pain's return is always bouncing around in the back of the mind. Pain medications control the intensity, but they do not get rid of the condition causing the pain.

The brain still works on the problem. I can only speak for myself but staying positive sometimes makes things worse. Staying positive meant I had to consciously deny my reality, which drains more energy from an already taxed psyche. When I stopped trying to be positive and started modifying my life to incorporate my circumstances, things got a little easier.

The change was difficult for well meaning friends, though. I finally had to have deep discussions like "humans are not naturally like those seen in commercials" with big smiles plastered on their faces all the time. I finally found a way to stop people saying "just ok?" when I answered their question "how are you today?".

I am not saying that wallowing in a negative attitude is the answer. I am saying that letting go of the positive attitude is like removing a mask. I now admit my being too tired. I explain my avoiding certain activities, because the aftermath is not worth the activity. It may be that your friend is at a point where she must rearrange her life with acceptance in mind and, on top of the pain she is experiencing, she mourns having to make this choice.

I could be wrong, but I want to present some options and possible explanations for what you are seeing.

Offers of help are often difficult, if not impossible, to process when pain gets much past 5 on a scale of 10, with 10 being the "take me out and shoot me, right now!" sort of pain. You have been wise to offer emotional support. How might your friend feel if you offer to cook a meal for her, do laundry for her, little things like that?

It is great that you are there for her, especially since she's going through a scary period. A lot of folk disappear after witnessing bad episodes. It sounds like your friend is having one of those episodes.

The toughest part is getting friends to understand that they cannot "handle" the situation because they cannot control or cure it. When you feel the creeping fear that you are feeling right now, for your friend, remind yourself that you have offered to help, you are there for her, and, most importantly, you will not judge her. This means that you will accept her lowest periods just as you accept her better days.
MercyL is offline  
Old 05-06-2013, 02:05 PM #3 (permalink)
mariposa's Avatar
Member
Registered Member
 
Join Date: 2013
Posts: 460
mariposa is on a distinguished road
mariposa mariposa is offline
Member
Registered Member
mariposa's Avatar
Join Date: 2013
City: ???
State: PA
Country: USA
Interest: 1 close relative, 2 friends, I want to help them
Posts: 460
mariposa is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Friend Losing Hope... How Can I Help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MercyL View Post
It is great that you are there for her, especially since she's going through a scary period. A lot of folk disappear after witnessing bad episodes. It sounds like your friend is having one of those episodes.
Thank you for this totally excellent answer, MercyL... very thorough and helpful. She's mentioned that "pain's return" always being in her mind, so I know about that and how it affects her. Even when there's a fairly good day, the thoughts are centered on the following day when it will most likely be back.

Up to this point, it's been her choice to stay positive no matter what. I've wished at times that she wouldn't do that, but I ended up concluding that she'd do what seemed best for her at the time. She's not even 30 yet and can rarely leave her bed so I think it's all catching up to her now and I'll roll with it and let her set the tone. She's not married and I am, so I'm not free often enough to be doing as much as I like for her, but I try.

Unfortunately I know that some of her other friends "stay away" when she's having her worse days and some never come back. I won't even get into how upset that makes me... there's an old song you may recognize with the lyrics "You left me.... just when I needed you most." Randy VanWarmer if I'm not mistaken. Those words are so fitting to this, aren't they?
mariposa is offline  
Old 05-07-2013, 09:46 AM #4 (permalink)
Member
Registered Member
 
Join Date: 2013
Posts: 200
katydid is on a distinguished road
katydid katydid is offline
Member
Registered Member
Join Date: 2013
City: ........
State: Somewhere
Country: US
Interest: Other
Posts: 200
katydid is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Friend Losing Hope... How Can I Help?

Boy I can relate to your friend. I was in two bad car accident ts over the past few years... I can't tell you how many friends ive lost si ce then. They get bored of not being able to do ccertain things. They get tired of what they think are excuses. It is true you find out who your real friends are when something such as a major life change happens....

For me, I have two amazing girlfriend, and my mom who is my best friend. I'm very lucky to have a very caring, patient, understanding boyfriend as well. It's the small things I appreciate the most. They all know that I have my limits.... A d they all know that sometimes you just have to get it out; the frustration, crying, anger. Personally, it frustrates me more when I'm told "it will get better" or "don't let it get to you" etc.... The reason why is because I feel like whomever is saying such phrases is annoyed or tired of me being how I am. It makes me feel like they don't want to bother to understand. Or they're tired of what they think is complaining...
Don't me wrong, there is a time and place for those sayings, but they can get old..... Esp when you're in pain and know it doesn't get better.....

I also can relate to you feeling frustrated because you can't seem to lift her spirit.... My mother was diagnosed with RSD many years ago after a drunk driver hit her head on... I have struggled for years trying to it her spirits. There are good and bad times.. Last summer she was in another car accident and had to have neck surgery and her RSD is spreading because of the trauma. She has been so down wondering why this is happening in all over again....

The two of us need each other for reality checks. Honestly I don't think I could deal with any of my pain issues with out her by my side. She is the only person who knows exact what I'm going through and I for her as well......

you sticking by her means a lot. More than you know. Watching a movie or talking to her. Letting her cry on your shoulder. Something as small as texting her a smiley face can brighten her day even a tiny bit....
katydid is offline  
Old 05-08-2013, 09:32 AM #5 (permalink)
mariposa's Avatar
Member
Registered Member
 
Join Date: 2013
Posts: 460
mariposa is on a distinguished road
mariposa mariposa is offline
Member
Registered Member
mariposa's Avatar
Join Date: 2013
City: ???
State: PA
Country: USA
Interest: 1 close relative, 2 friends, I want to help them
Posts: 460
mariposa is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Friend Losing Hope... How Can I Help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by katie-opny View Post
Personally, it frustrates me more when I'm told "it will get better" or "don't let it get to you" etc.... The reason why is because I feel like whomever is saying such phrases is annoyed or tired of me being how I am. It makes me feel like they don't want to bother to understand. Or they're tired of what they think is complaining... Don't me wrong, there is a time and place for those sayings, but they can get old..... Esp when you're in pain and know it doesn't get better.....
Thank you so much for your reply, katie-opny. It sounds as if you have a good support system with your mom, girlfriends, and boyfriend. I know that means a lot!

About that part I quoted above. I actually had this conversation with someone some time ago (not the same friend I was talking about in this thread.) It came out that she was feeling as you mentioned, that when people do that, they're tired of her "complaints" or are annoyed with her or something.

It opened my eyes when I realized that sometimes I do the same *but* whenever I said something like "let's hope it will be better tomorrow" I *really* meant it and it was said with a whisper of a prayer that it *would* be better. There was never once that it was about being annoyed or thinking she was "complaining." So... I just want to make the point that our perception of what a friend may say when they don't know the right words, isn't necessarily what they meant at all.
mariposa is offline  
Old 05-12-2013, 05:30 PM #6 (permalink)
New Member (Say Hi)
Registered Member
 
Join Date: 2013
Posts: 20
TheMagician007 is on a distinguished road
TheMagician007 TheMagician007 is offline
New Member (Say Hi)
Registered Member
Join Date: 2013
City: Newport News
State: VA
Country: US
Interest: I am in the process of being diagnosed with FIBRO/CFS/PAIN
Posts: 20
TheMagician007 is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Friend Losing Hope... How Can I Help?

In general, having someone there that is supportive helps so much. For me, some of the worst times are when I feel isolated. I think what helps depends on each individual. I'm already a pessimistic, glass half-empty type of person. So, overly optimistic, fantasy-world type of stuff annoys me to my core. Of course, I'm never mean or rude about that stuff. Some people just have their own ways of supporting others, and I would rather hear that than to be stuck in isolation or silence. Personally, I'd rather hear "I understand" or "I can imagine," rather than that blank look people give like you just grew three heads and a tail right before their eyes.
TheMagician007 is offline  
Old 05-14-2013, 11:03 AM #7 (permalink)
New Member (Say Hi)
Registered Member
 
Join Date: 2013
Posts: 26
glacier is on a distinguished road
glacier glacier is offline
New Member (Say Hi)
Registered Member
Join Date: 2013
City: san cristobal
State: san cristobal
Country: SP
Interest: I am a relative of someone with FIBRO/CFS/PAIN
Posts: 26
glacier is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Friend Losing Hope... How Can I Help?

Actually, just keeping her company helps a lot. You do not need to talk to assure her that you will be there for her. Just your presence and your actions are enough to give her hope. Believe me, even if you do not express in words, she knows. She is definitely lucky to have found a true friend in you. It is really upsetting when you know she has other friends but it seems that it is only you who is there for her. But some people have attitude and some do not know the deep meaning of what friendship is all about. Just always make her feel she is important.
glacier is offline  
Old 05-14-2013, 12:08 PM #8 (permalink)
mariposa's Avatar
Member
Registered Member
 
Join Date: 2013
Posts: 460
mariposa is on a distinguished road
mariposa mariposa is offline
Member
Registered Member
mariposa's Avatar
Join Date: 2013
City: ???
State: PA
Country: USA
Interest: 1 close relative, 2 friends, I want to help them
Posts: 460
mariposa is on a distinguished road
Default Re: Friend Losing Hope... How Can I Help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMagician007 View Post
Some people just have their own ways of supporting others, and I would rather hear that than to be stuck in isolation or silence. Personally, I'd rather hear "I understand" or "I can imagine," rather than that blank look people give like you just grew three heads and a tail right before their eyes.
Thank you for the response, TheMagician007. I found your answer very interesting because I've only heard people getting offended (not a personal experience here, but from hearing things from others) when someone says they understand. It so often ends with hard feelings because the person with the pain knows there's no possible way the other person can understand what it's like so it becomes nothing more than lip service to them. So I find it interesting that you don't mind hearing that.

Now "I can imagine" is different because it's not such a firm statement as "knowing' what it's like. I know what you mean about that "blank look"... I've seen people give it to my friends with chronic pain and I never know what to do about it. It's like they don't realize it's even visible to others.
mariposa is offline  
Closed Thread

Tags
chronic, chronic pain, cry, family, family member, friend, good, helpful, hope, how to, pain


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
I am losing all my hair schizophreniatype Tea Time and Pub 7 08-14-2013 09:06 PM
losing job Libragirl67 Moan, Complain and Vent 14 04-29-2013 02:22 AM
Currently being looked at for MS, but friend suggested fibro Geekerbell General Discussions About Fibromyalgia 7 03-11-2013 10:41 PM
No Depression, But Filled With Hope 1sweed General Discussions About Fibromyalgia 1 03-02-2013 12:10 AM

 
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:58 AM.
Copyright © 2017