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"Fascinating" Stephen S. Hall. writer, N.Y.Times magazine. "Hard to put down." A.C.P.A., American Chronic Pain Association.

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Friday, March 29, 2013


I pretty much hate the holidays.  I hate being alone.  I have been invited 2x over the past few years to someone's house, not family, and that was lovely.  I was so happy to feel "a part of" if only for the few hours we spent together.

I think about holidays from years ago.  When I was invited by my sister to her home where the whole family met.  (I have not been invited by family for probably at least 14 years.)

It was years after the pain started and years after they had effectively abandoned me.  What do you do though?  If  you have no one and you do not want to be thought of as the person they tell people you are, you go, thinking maybe this time it will  be different.

But it is not.

No one asks "How are you doing?"  They ask the perfunctory, "How are you?" but they do not want to hear more then "Fine."  The bright lights hurt my eye.  Asking if they could not have the candles lit is met with an eye roll and "Really?  I mean they can't bother your eye that much."  What do you say?  To persist in asking for what you need is interpreted as argumentative and hypochondriacal.

They do not want to know.  They do not want to hear.  They do not want, at the end of the day, to help.

So many of us write in the support groups about the nastiness, the refusal of belief, the withholding of help or caring that is encountered when we deal with our families.  When we go to the dinners and holiday festivities.

It is a hard decision.  It comes down to the question: What hurts less?

Is it more painful to be there and increase the pain so I can be with these people?   Or is it more painful to be alone and reminded by TV and the internet and your own thoughts that others are with their families, celebrating.  (Of course it is easy to forget about all the "well" people who have the same dysfunctional holidays and emotional pain.)

Is it more painful to increase the level of physical pain so we can be with these people because there is no one else; or is it better to stay by ourselves and not feel the emotional pain, and the physical increase of pain that is a part of being with and doing?

What do you do for the holidays when you have these issues?  If you are lucky you have friends who invite you over but sometimes that is not possible, or available.  How have you come to grips with it? Has your decision been helpful or painful?


  1. I do what I want if my body allows me to. If I need to stay home and not participate, that is what I do. I no longer try to please anyone, I have become selfish that way, when you suffer from chronic pain, you have to become selfish, since others do not see your ailment as a real one, so I took it upon myself to take care of me.

  2. That is the sad thing, that we think of it as selfish if we attend to what we need.
    Good for you that you have come to have been able to get to that point and realize your needs come first.
    And truly, we are going to be better company, family, etc if we have addressed our needs first so we can then attend to others (if we are in a position to do so.)
    Thanks Millie.