Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Summer 2013, Issue 9 - Page 28

Support for the Supporter • Burden of taking on additional household duties, employment, and other tasks; • Stress from the “supporter” role, particularly when it seems to permeate your life or relationship; • Unmet needs of you own (and challenges to ask for or receive help); Skepticism over what you cannot see, and emotions you may experience from not knowing how it really is; • Isolation, because others may not comprehend what you are going through; • Feeling underappreciated for your contributions, sacrifices, and loss; • Risk being on the receiving end of anger, frustration, or ungentle responses on high pain days; and • Compassion fatigue. If you see your own struggles on this list (or can add a few of your own), this column may help you. Supporters—like pain sufferers—can develop tools to reduce their own suffering. A first step in this process is determining how the pain affects you. This series was created to recognize the challenges you face and offer advice. Each issue will provide suggestions to improve your situation, such as • how to broach difficult topics effectively; • how to increase your comfort focusing on your own needs; and • how to join with the other without losing yourself or developing resentment, guilt, or assuming the role of martyr. Everyone needs a break from pain. This column is not just about how to sustain yourself in your role as supporter. It is also about you, your experience, and the importance of attending to your own experience and quality of life. We invite you to request topics or submit questions that you would like to see addressed. Click here or send email to 28  Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Life Summer 2013