I am all too aware of the toll chronic pain and illness takes on my family members today. It would be very selfish of me if I were to think that I am the only one in my family suffering when I suffer. When I suffer badly, my children are sad. They are bored or seem to lack the normal sense of direction in their day that they are used to having when I have to spend the day resting. My husband’s mood is effected greatly by my physical status. The medical bills that we deal with alone are enough to cause stress in a marriage. It is an awful feeling to feel bad about something that is completely out of your control.
My chronic illness effects other relationships, too. I have lost friendships. I just can’t keep up with them at the pace that they “do life”. Every relationship in my life is altered to some extent by my chronic pain.
I have made new friends, too. I have had the opportunity to meet amazing and beautiful people who also share the challenge of chronic pain. Some of my relationships have been strengthened, especially my relationship with God. I turn to Him more now than I ever have in my life. It is not just in an effort to seek relief, but also because of the gifts I want to thank Him for, all of the amazing blessings He has given me that maybe I notice more because of the chronic pain. At any rate, that relationship has grown, and for that I can be nothing but grateful!
I think that anyone facing the challenges of a chronic illness or managing chronic pain is inevitably going to notice the effect it has on their relationships. It may be something that forces us to seek counsel, or possibly even result in the end of a relationship. No matter what, we can see all of the relationships and what we learn in them as a gift. . .and eventually that outlook can ease the pain!
written on 7.12.08