Chronic Pain Brings Losses That Need Grieving

. at . 14 comments

956734_desolationThose with chronic pain/illness have much to grieve. Often this is a topic that is not discussed very often.

What is grief all about? Grieving is a disorderly process, unpredictable in appearance and manifestations. It is hard work and the steps to and the time it takes to processing it are individual for each woman. It differs in expression, intensity, and time.

Because our society hasn’t (as a whole) taught us about the grief process . . .

  • its wide array of feelings,
  • its impact on our behaviors and body,
  • and the fact that grieving is normal . . .

 . . . many women struggle needlessly and far longer than necessary.

People are also afraid of the intense feelings of others. So they change the subject, minimize the feelings and intellectualize the situation. This is done by saying something that appeals to the intellect instead of the emotions.

To grieve well, a woman in pain needs to first acknowledge those losses. Some of these losses could include . . .

  • The changed nature of relationships – roles (at home, work, social settings) are now different for the woman in pain. “I think I alienated a lot of people at work … because I was out sick so much …. and others [had to] cover for me” (LS).  Sometimes friendships are lost.
  • Loss of present income and/or loss of future earning potential.
  • Loss of youth, healthy body functions and physical abilities, including clear thinking and use of intellect.
  • Spontaneity – Living with chronic pain is hard work and typically everything needs to be planned out in order to manage the symptoms.
  • Loss of independence.
  • Retirement dreams often must be changed, put on hold or deleted.
  • Pleasure – Available time and effort are spent on coping so that fun is often neglected.
  • Satisfying Sexual life – Low energy level and interest contribute to this loss. Also the fear of pain can contribute to lack of sexual intimacy.
  • Positive future plans – often these are viewed with fear, when time is even given to thinking about the future.
  • Self esteem.
  • Identity.

Action Steps:

  1. What is a loss you need to acknowledge?
  2. How can this information help you be a better griever?
  3. What is one thing you can do to help a woman in chronic pain grieve a little bit better? 
  4. Use the above loss list as a prayer guide.

“Without question [there have been losses associated with my chronic pain]. I am not the woman I once was, I lack the stamina & strength I once had….check that…it is a DIFFERENT strength & stamina.” CS

Related Articles

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  • Words to Say/Not Say to Someone with Chronic Pain 
  • One Reason Why People Ignore Those with Chronic Pain
  • 1 out of 3 People Suffer from Chronic Pain
  • 4 Differences Between Acute & Chronic Pain   
  • Looking Fine & Still in Chronic Distress
  • Feelings & Thoughts Affected by Chronic Pain
  • 4 Ways Grief Has Changed My Beliefs
  • Loss Leads to Depression
  • This Grief Attitude Annoys Me
  • Dozen Ideas to Move Past the Blah’s
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    Entry filed under: chronic pain, Grief, Learning, Main. Tags: , .

    Things to Do/Not Do for a Woman in Chronic Pain Winner of CNC Jelly Bean Count Contest

    14 Comments Add your own

    • 1. Elizabeth Kaylene  |  . at .

      I’m not religious, so prayer is kind of out for me, but I do try to stay as positive as possible and crack jokes. However, it’s getting harder and harder to keep smiling.

      I have definitely lost some of my independence and ability to do certain things. Some days I can barely or can’t do my hair. Some days I can’t even open a jar of peanut butter or play with my little cousin or my godchildren. I barely play video games anymore, out of fear of the pain. Sometimes I spend a long time sitting and doing nothing at work because it gets so bad.

      I know all of these things, and yet I have no idea how to be a better griever. Most of the time, I’m so depressed about it I just see no way out.

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    • 2. susan2009  |  . at .

      Hello Elizabeth, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      My chronic pain only lasted about 18 months and I knew the cause (an accident). Most of the time I am pain-free. And when I’m not I know what to do to relieve it (get back to healthy living).

      Wow – you do have a lot of losses in your life. I can’t imagine living with pain so debilitating and constant. It sure has been a thief of your independence. With such losses, physical pain, lack of medical support and a diagnosis, and depression, I can see why it would be hard to keep smiling.

      My heart is sad for the difficult time you are going through and the lack of validation and help you’ve received from the medical community. ((((Hugs))))

      I went to your blog. It seems like your first visit with Kitty was helpful and maybe a little bit hopeful. In addition to helping you with pain management, maybe she could help you with grief issues.

      If it’s alright with you, Elizabeth, I’d like to pray about your circumstances.

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    • 3. lynette  |  . at .

      Elizabeth.. my heart goes out to you. My I join Susan in praying for you?

      Susan, it was good to go last night & get out amongst women. Lovely ladies & a good Bible study. Much to ponder over.

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    • Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting. I will certainly be subscribing to your posts.

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    • 5. susan2009  |  . at .

      I agree with you, Lynette.
      Thanks, Joan. If you have any questions let me know.

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    • 6. Elizabeth Kaylene  |  . at .

      @Susan: I had a good session with Kitty today. We talked about my pain and the activities it stops me from doing. I actually hadn’t realized how debilitating it is until today. We also discussed the therapy technique she is going to try with me next week. She wants me to find the center of my pain and get in touch with my inner self to see if we can figure out where the pain is coming from and why it is at all. Have you ever heard of this? My mom is a psych tech and has heard of it and would like to learn to use it. I tried Googling it on my BlackBerry earlier but didn’t have much luck. I’m planning on trying again now that I have the laptop and won’t have to scroll through so much! Heh.

      I don’t mind if you pray for me at all. Any and all positive thoughts couldn’t hurt. Thank you for your support. It really helps to have someone acknowledge how I am feeling. I mean, my mom, boyfriend, and friends are pretty supportive but they really don’t understand. It helps so much to have that support from someone who seems to understand, so thank you again. (:

      @Lynette: Like I said to Susan, any positive thoughts and energy definitely couldn’t hurt. Thank you so very much. (:

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    • 7. Elizabeth Kaylene  |  . at .

      Just wanted to let you know that I have awarded you with some Bloggy Love. You can read the post I wrote about you and Fruitful Words here, and you can claim your prize (and find out how to pass the award on) here.

      Thank you for everything. (:

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    • 8. susan2009  |  . at .

      Elizabeth – I am soooo happy for you. Sounds like Kitty is a therapist who is wise and gentle and in touch with your needs.

      I haven’t heard of that technique before, but it sounds like it can yeild some valuable information for you.

      Wahoo – sounds like lots of steps forward. . . Forward into a life of peace, answers and happiness. 🙂

      As I said before I only understand a bit of what you are going through, but I do undersatnd and recognize courage when I see it. You are courageous, Elizabeth. I am glad that I’ve been able to be supportive. That’s the purpose of this blog and a purpose of my life.

      I’m praying that strength and peace will be your constant companions and that joy will run deep in your veins. May truth unlock your body’s secrets and lead you into Health.

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    • 9. susan2009  |  . at .

      Elizabeth, Thanks for the bloggy love. You are very kind. I like the idea of bloggy love linking on Sundays. Thanks for the idea and push.

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    • 10. lynette  |  . at .

      Hi Elizabeth-I don’t know about chronic pain & can only imagine how diffcult it is to have constant pain. But I do know about depression. I am challenged with that. It really sounds like you are on the right track. Good for you! It takes a strong woman like yourself to go to cousneling & get guidance (I have done cousneling also), I stop too soon & really should go back again.

      I did stop in at your blog to get to know you a little more. Will be back again.

      I know you said you don’t pray, maybe this will help a wee bit. I think of prayer in this manner. It’s an opportunity to spend time with a really good friend who accept me as I am & loves me unconditionally. A friend who will cry with me, laugh with me & hold me. Someone I can spill my guts to. Someone I can be totally honest with & I know they will listen & not judge me for what I believe or don’t believe.

      It’s the same with God. I can spill my guts, be honest with Him, tell Him my my inner most fears, longings & heartaches. I can ask Him questions. I can say alot or very little anytime day or night. In the Bible it says ” I can endure all things through Christ who strengthens me” Wahoo! I hang onto that when I ride the waves of depression.

      Thanks for letting me chat with God on your behalf. He really does care for you.

      Stop by my blog anytime!

      Take care,
      Lynette

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    • 11. Elizabeth Kaylene  |  . at .

      @Lynette: I’m not really a big fan of counseling, but it’s pretty much a last resort at this point. At this point, I’ll try — almost — anything. Thanks for stopping by Letters of Love. I’ll be sure to check out your blog!

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    • […] Major Health Changes (including chronic illness) […]

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    • […] Chronic Pain Brings Losses to Grieve […]

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    • […] Chronic Pain Brings Losses to Grieve […]

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