By: Mary Beth Lewis
As a person with chronic pain, it’s hard to find other people who understand my life. My daily challenges include pacing my activities, managing medical appointments, trying to find the energy to make a meal, as well as many others. My healthy friends don’t live in this world. Chronic pain is a very foreign idea to those who don’t experience it.
In contrast, when I am in a chronic pain support group meeting, I immediately feel understood. There’s no need to explain or justify anything. People there just “get it.” We listen to each other and see a lot of heads nodding in the Zoom groups as we share our stories. There is empathy and kindness as we relate to each other’s experiences.
If you have never tried a support group, here’s what to expect. After a brief welcome, we start with everyone introducing themselves. Then we discuss a chronic pain topic. Past themes have included sleep, medical appointments, grief and loss, and coping with isolation. Members share their challenges on the subject and what has helped them. Individuals can elect to pass if they do not wish to speak.
At the end of our discussion, the leader does a relaxing, guided meditation. This creates a sense of calm. Then, we wrap up by checking in with each individual.
If you are interested, we have national, state, and specialized groups, including groups to support veterans, the LGBTQ+ community, and caregivers/care partners. The national groups are open to everyone and are held five times each month. Due to COVID-19, all of the support groups are on the Zoom platform.
About Mary Beth Lewis
Mary Beth Lewis leads one national chronic pain support group and one Ohio pain support group each month via Zoom. She developed complex regional pain syndrome 18 years ago after an ankle surgery. Mary Beth is married with two sons in college and has a goofy little dog at home.