Having Mercy {When Someone You Love is in Pain}

{This post is mainly for those who have someone in their life currently going through a chronic pain disorder such as arthritis. Having arthritis myself since the age of 15, and living with two siblings also effected by the disease, I've learned a few things along the way that I felt on my heart to share with you today.}

Accept their disease. Just as they have to learn to accept what is going on in their life, so do you. Stop trying to find a cure, stop telling them that they will grow out of it. Yes, being hopeful is healthy…but realistically arthritis rarely goes away. It's something that you have to learn to live with for a lifetime. And the sooner you accept their disease, the better things will be for your relationship.

Never stop being kind. In the first few months or even years, you might find yourself full of love and compassion, willing to step in at any time and offer a gesture of kindness. But after you have opened their water bottle a 1000 times, taken care of their chores more often than not, and heard them talk about their joints day after day….sometimes that kindness fades away. Never lose the compassion and sympathy in your heart. Watch out for your actions and words so that all you say and do is done in a matter of genuine kindness. 

It's not their fault. It's not yours either! You can sit around all day contemplating what could have happened in their life to have brought such a disease on. I'm sure they have spent a lot of time asking themselves the same question. And even though your intentions might be good, a lot of times asking them why and how is just going to make them feel ashamed and guilty.

It's okay that you can't fix it. As a natural loving instinct, we tend to want to fix whatever is wrong for the people we love most. But sometimes, especially in this case, you just can't fix it. And you know what? They will understand this better than you think. They don't need someone to fix it….they just need someone to be there.

Understand the emotional & mental difficulties they face. It's not easy being strong, day after day. Being in chronic pain every day of your life wears hard not only on your body, but on your mind too. If they are struggling with depression, anxiety, and mood swings, it's important for you to just understand. Don't criticize. Listen to what they have to say. Never take it personal. Be gentle. Understand.

Don't push. Believe it or not, they probably know their limits pretty good by now. If they say no, they have a reason. If they turn an activity down, or don't think something is a good idea….just let them listen to their body. Realize that some things will be just an occasional no, while other things will most likely always be a no. (For example, my occasion no's are; Diet related issues like eating citrus or caffeine. Always a no; Running.)

Remember that arthritis isn't their whole life, only a part. Don't always focus on their pain, symptoms and struggles. Celebrate the good in their life! Their unique personality, their talents, hobbies, passions. Help them see past their disease. Encourage them to have fun and enjoy life as much as possible. Never discourage laughter. Take advantage of their "good" days, i.e. drag them out to do something they love but usually aren't up for! Try to make them smile. Bring them sunshine when needed. Help them try to focus on and see hope in the life outside their disease.

For those of you living with arthritis, or around someone who is affected...do you have anything helpful to add to this list? Comments welcomed below!!


1 comment:

  1. What a powerful and practical list! I was definitely encouraged by several of your points, especially the one about never stopping in showing compassion.


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