My approach to helping those with chronic illness and pain begins with an apparently modest question: “what’s it like for you?” People who suffer, often with what are “invisible illnesses,” know the meaning of and the welcome relief this question provides; they are often asked, “how are you feeling?” For a sufferer of chronic illness this is a closed-ended question, since the answer is invariably, “I’m ok.” You work really hard not to burden others with the details. You convince yourself they wouldn’t understand anyway.
Truthfully, most of us cannot fully understand the experiences of others unless we’ve had the same or similar experience. Hence, the significance of an invitation to give voice to your experience of chronic illness: “what’s it like for you?”
Being heard, and maybe even understood, is a powerful and invaluable experience for those who suffer chronically! In the telling of your story, and the validation it is met with in counseling, persons who suffer can begin to realize both the ways that their experience has shaped them, as well as discovering new ways of forming empowered, healthy responses that can transform how they live with illness and pain.
I’m genuinely interested in what the journey has been like for you and am willing to help you create optimal conditions for living your best life in the face of chronic illness.
For helpful resources, please see themighty.com, and invisibledisabilities.org.