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Hi All, This is my first time posting, so I'm not sure if

Hi All,

This is my first time posting, so I'm not sure if this is the right place, but I'm desperately hoping that those suffering with Chronic Pain might be able to help someone who is a partner of someone with Chronic Pain.

A bit of back story - my girlfriend suffers from severe facial pain. As yet, the Neurologists have been unable to diagnose it effectively, although she and they are leaning towards A-Typical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN). For those who don't know, ATN pain can be described as heavy, aching, stabbing, and burning. It can be like a slow lightning bolt through the facial nerves. It varies between a numbing, aching sensation and a severe pain that can cause her to yell out in pain.

For a couple of years, she's been trying every avenue to get rid of the pain. With this is only being a theory, she's currently trialling some medication called Lyrica the neurologist prescribed, and that has brought a whole host things with it, some good and some bad. The feedback on the drug online is not great but the pain *seems* to have lessened, which IS great. I'm concerned about the side effects she feels and have told her I'm concerned, but I know ultimately the decision rests with her.

I've read over many stories this morning of those suffering with Chronic Pain, and to say I feel guilty about needing help would be an understatement. The things that she, and everyone I've read, goes through, the pain felt, is something do not understand. Never in my life have I known someone with Chronic Pain, nor anyone who has undergone a serious health issue. I have no idea if what I'm doing to help is actually helping, and I have no way of knowing how I could help if what I'm doing is not enough.

I've read countless articles on The Mighty, but I feel like when I put it into practice it's shot down, for example, as being uncaring because of how I phrased it or how I acted.

This morning she woke up feeling quite sick, and the discussion turned to her not going into work or going to her plans tonight. I said to her, "why don't you work from home and see how you feel later this afternoon and decide on tonight from there?". Evidently, that came out to mean that that was me saying that "have you considered this option for your problem?". What I've been told I should have said is, "I think you should stay home because of X reason", showing that I knew what her pain was and that I was thinking about her. At that point, I just broke down into tears. It's occurred before where the words I use have a very different meaning to her and they're taken as unempathetic or uncaring or unkind, however they're never meant in such a way. I have 0 experience with Chronic Pain or someone suffering in such a way and I feel like I'm groping around in the dark.

The issue seems to stem from the fact that she thinks there's a barrier between her pain and I. That I have the idea that "that's your thing, but if I can help let me know" instead of it being something that we both face head on. I have no idea how I can best break this barrier down, outside of what I'm already doing.

I'm trying to keep my head above water and to be the strong person needed in the relationship. I try to take care of the financial burdens because I've got a well-paying job. I try to take care of the household chores, both just in case she's having a rough day and the pain is higher than usual, and so she never has to worry about doing it. I try to take care of the cooking so that she's always got a good meal and the nutrients needed because she doesn't get much rest. She's moving back to part-time work so that she can focus on rest and recovery, a decision we both agreed to and one I thought it would be fantastic for her.

I'm at my wits end and in no way do I think it compares to the struggle that is felt by anyone who suffers with Chronic Pain, I just don't know what to do and consistently feel like I'm doing the wrong thing.

Has there been something that your partners have done that alleviated some of the burden of living in Chronic Pain? Every situation will be different, and every situation will need different things, but I'm at the point where I feel like I've tried everything and I still feel so useless.

Sorry for the novel and if anything came across offensive to anyone, know that I'm deeply sorry and that's not what I meant to do.

A partner of someone with Chronic Pain just needs some help and I'm not sure where else to turn to.

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May 19, 2017

Welcome and we are all here for you. Have they tried a nerve block on her at all? I know with this kind of pain it can be awful but I do know some of my friends have had nerve blocks for this type of pain and have done well with it. It's very hard for a partner to see there loved one in so much pain. I think you just need to listen to her and be supportive there is not much else you can do at this point. Also try to go to all her dr. appts. so that you know what is going on with her. You are not doing anything wrong and there is not much you can do but help and support her at this point she is going to have days were she will be very cranky and not want you to be around and it's because she doesn't want others to see her like this I know it's hard for you and you feel badly that your not doing enough but you are just being there for her. Hang in there and sending hugs your way. xo

MarWin's picture
May 19, 2017

Having suffered sciatica for over two years, I can tell you that chronic pain is not only physically painful, but mentally exhausting as well. Take that with meds and people can become different, irrational to state a few. Just realize that it may not be her intent to lash out, but the altered state of mind due to sleep deprivation, effects of meds, dehydration all can come into play.

I feel you're taking the right steps, first by joining a forum such as this. Even if you don't get perfect advice, at least you can learn from what you read. Don't think that every part of you needs to change all at once to make this work. Start with small adjustments and see what works. Then as you become better add other things to your process.

Not sure if that's what you want to hear, but just keep that in mind as well. Don't go looking for the answers that you've already set yourself up for as being what you want. Be open-minded and give all advice some thought.

Your girlfriend clearly has some nerve impingement going on. Since it's in the face I would think to look first in her cervical (neck) area for any impingements. Also look for any neck misalignments of the vertebrae, ie: forward head posture, forward rounded shoulders, high shoulder, cervical hyperextension.

Hope to stay in touch! Good luck.

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May 23, 2017

All you can do is be there with her it will not take away her pain but it will make her feel better knowing your their even if it does not seem like it! You seem like a great partner for her and you take great care of her something that she needs! Also if you do not see a therapist try one it will really help you get through it alot better mentally! My prayers are with the both of yoy God Bless!


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