Chronic pain: Group hopes to provide forum to share issues without judgment

November, 2018 Posted in Community, Your Health

By Mary Owen

Fibromyalgia sufferers know what it’s like to live with chronic pain, and the importance of sharing with others who have the disease.

“We want to be heard and know that we’re not alone,” said Teressa Brooks, who has fibromyalgia. “I have suffered from chronic pain, and I came across many groups on Facebook about fibro and chronic pain, where people all over the world got advice or felt better about their situation because they are not alone.”

To help those suffering with chronic pain of any kind, Brooks is starting a support group. The first meeting will be held at Nov. 7, 6 p.m. at Rising Star Studio, 220 Ida St., Stayton.

“If it’s a success, I’d like to meet weekly,” Brooks said. “I really encourage spouses, children and friends to attend. Sometimes they need better understanding of what that person is going through in order for them to give that support at home.

“People are tired of being judged,” she added. “I want them to have a place they come to without judgment, where they feel they are heard and know that they don’t have to suffer in silence.”

People living with  may endure muscle tenderness, full-body pain, restless sleep, depression/anxiety, trouble focusing or “brain fog,” making it harder for them to function. Other aspects of the chronic condition are more of a mystery – cause, diagnosis and treatment.

“We are not crazy,” Brooks said. “What we feel is real.”

What the medical field does know is that the disease affects mostly women, most commonly in those from ages 30 to 50 at on-start. Some who have the disease may also have suffered from trauma at some time in life.

Fibro, as it is more commonly known, may be connected to other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, sleep apnea, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis and more. And although not considered to be a genetic condition, fibro does cluster in families.

“Fibro is something that doesn’t have a face,” Brooks said. “It hides within our bodies, and we battle all kinds of issues, from headaches, muscle pain, leg cramps, brain fog – you name it.”

Brooks said people are interested ia the support group.

“Maybe they have helpful suggestions on how they deal with their pain or other issues that come with it,” she said. “Maybe they have an amazing doctor and someone in the group has been struggling to find a good doctor. The opportunities are endless.”

Topics discussed will include: social anxiety, depression, jobs, home life, and how to manage day-to-day with unrelenting pain cycles.

“How to be able to focus and go through the day feeling like we are on empty,” Brooks said.

“A lot of people have a hard time with social anxiety, so I’m trying to set up a closed Facebook page. That way people can be a part of the group without leaving their home.”

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