Coping with chronic pain, a team effort!
Book 1: ‘For You and Your Partner’
Do you suffer from invisible chronic pain and does it cause you to have a hard time maintaining a healthy and strong relationship with your significant other? Does your partner not understand what you go through and what you really need? Do you act tough, trying not to come across as whiny, leading to more pain and you not getting sufficient help and support?
Read and learn how to turn your spouse into a ‘Strong Helper’ and get the attention, support and help that you need.
Are you the spouse of someone suffering from invisible pain? Do you find it difficult to understand the anxiety and fear, and tough knowing how to lend support and adequate help? Are you overwhelmed by all the extra work, and do you miss the relationship you once had?
Read and learn how you can become a ‘Strong Helper’, and save your own health ánd your relationship at the same time.
Be beware: this is a self-help/work book!
If you don’t want to come out of your comfort zone, then don’t read it!
If you don’t want to save the relationship with your significant other, or make him/her understand your needs in order to give you the support and help you require, don’t read it either!
Living with chronic pain places a strain on all the important relationships in the life of the patient, as well as their spouse, children, family & friends. In these books you will find hundreds of ‘dos & don’ts’; practical, instantly applicable tips and advice that will benefit everybody suffering from pain, as well as those in their inner and outer social circles. A stronger social network for the chronic pain patient increases activity and can help to reduce the pain, as well as the need for medication and therapy.
More Coping with Chronic Pain, a Team Effort!:
Book 2. For You and Your Kids
Book 3. For You and Your Family & Friends
Here is the Introduction of the book ‘For You and Your Partner’ :
Introduction by Anna
Spring 2012, my body and mentality became a wreck. I spent eight months on the couch writhing in pain, barely able to sit upright for longer than five minutes. The most difficult part was not knowing what my future would be like. I was afraid that I would spend the rest of my life lying on that couch from dusk till dawn.
Had I known back then that there would be light at the end of the tunnel, that I would start seeing improvements a year later, it would have been a lot easier to get through it. I wouldn’t have been in any less physical pain, but it would certainly have helped my mental condition. I felt awful, but the worst thing about it all was the disappointment and frustration I experienced about what amounted to, in my eyes, minimal attention and support that I got from people outside of my direct family. When I looked further into this subject, I discovered that I’d fallen into the exact same pitfall that so many chronic pain patients fall into.
What is that pitfall?
The pitfall into which I am referring is covering up your pain and sorrow for as long as possible, while secretly aching for that arm around your shoulder and becoming disappointed when it never shows up. Expecting at least a few compliments because you’re being so tough, but even those never seem to materialize. Keeping yourself ‘strong’, pushing your tears away every time, desperate to show your strength, until that single last drop finally causes the bucket to overflow. A slight irritation or annoyance at your weakest moment can be the drop in the bucket that makes it overflow and cause you to blow up on your bewildered family and friends. It shocks them, but most of all, it shocks you.
‘I’m sorry, just leave me alone for a while. I’ll get over it.’ Quickly put that overflowed bucket back up! Nobody, not even you, will dare bring the problem up again and soon enough, everyone falls back into making the same mistakes all over again.
That is exactly what I did. My autobiography (‘Limiet gehaald’, (Tr.: ‘Limit reached, a very special year in the life of a chronic pain patient’), 2013) even starts with a way too emotional and accusatory email that I sent to my friends at my weakest moment. I can tell you right now that it never helped me, nor was it well received. A bad idea, and so stupid.
I looked for books on this specific subject in every library and bookstore I could find, but to no avail. I searched the Internet, but became none the wiser. The therapist, who treated me for my depression, didn’t know what to do either. Despite being a professional as well as a prominent psychologist, she too was unaware of the social problems that many people suffering from invisible pain have to deal with.
As a result, I believed I was the only one who had such a hard time keeping my relationships strong. I further believed that only I didn’t know how to get attention, help and support from loved ones without complaining or whining too much about the pain. To add to that, I assumed that only I got annoyed when people never got closer than “did they figure out what it is yet?” and “just stay optimistic!” (Buzz off with your optimism! I’m writhing in pain here. How am I supposed to be optimistic about that?)
Studying the problem
Although my physical condition became a little bit better during the year that followed, the subject never ceased to intrigue me. I started to import and read studies and books from different countries, and use numerous international results of my Internet searches. It soon became clear to me that worsening relationships were a significant problem for all people suffering from invisible pain. It is often said to be even worse than the pain itself.
When the autobiographic book about a very special year in my life was released in the Netherlands, in February 2013, I got a lot of response from other people suffering from similar ailments to mine that recognized themselves in my story. It became more and more clear to me that I didn’t stand alone in this. My studies had taught me that I hadn’t been able to show my pain to those who surrounded me, so they never knew how badly I was doing, nor that I was desperate for some genuine interest, attention and support.
Just like they had no idea how to deal with me in my darkest hour, I realized that I myself hadn’t dealt with things adequately either. If everyone had known what I know now, everything would have been completely different.
Where it went wrong, and what could have been done better
There are many books written by experts, such as doctors and psychologists, on the subject of chronic pain. I am neither of those. I’m a retired physiotherapist; as well as a partner, daughter, mother, friend and neighbor. On top of that, I myself am a patient of chronic pain, the unfortunate host to chronic back pains, migraine and Crohn disease.
While ��interviewing almost a hundred people suffering from pain, and reading the many studies and publications I’d found, I experienced so many ‘aha!’ moments, and recognized so many things, that every time I found myself thinking: “I wish I had known about this a few years ago” as well as: “I wish I’d been able to show this to my partner, my children and my friends.” I believe that I now know what’s what, what went wrong and how I could have dealt with things in a better way. Because so many people run into these problems when they’re suffering from an invisible ailment or pain, I decided to write a series of self-help books. They were released in the Netherlands march 2014, and three months later in Belgium. They were met with praise right away. Many patients have written me since then, telling me that they’ve learned a lot and that the relationships between them and their loved ones have seen definite improvement. They said that they wished a book like this had existed earlier. Pain-specialists and psychologists who read the books also approved of them and use them to help their patients.
Obviously pain patients all over the world go through the same problems and many find it difficult to maintain a good relationship with their family and friends. That’s why I had the books translated to English. I sought to help more CPP’s and teach them, as well as the people around them, how to deal with chronic pain as a team.
This is the first book of three, about the relationship between you and your partner. In this book, I will tell you everything I’ve learned from the many studies, publications, websites and books I’ve dug through. What I’ve been told by the different chronic pain patients and their spouses I’ve talked to, and what I’ve been told by the psychologists who specialize in the treatment of chronic pain patients. In this book, you won’t find endless amounts of theories and explanation, but simple, clear and practical advice and tips aimed at both the person suffering from pain as well as those who care about them. In the end, these became the books I myself had been wishing to read for years. It would certainly have made my life a lot easier.
I interviewed almost a hundred chronic pain patients, as well as many of their loved ones. That way I got a clear idea of the most important barriers in the relationships. On top of that, these people shared their most valuable tips and advice with me. I wish to thank all of these participants for their contributions. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the thirty test-readers before, and the many, many readers after the release of the book in the Netherlands, who gave me valuable feedback for use in this English version.
The table of contents of the book ‘For You and Your Partner’
What you need to know before reading
What you may find, and can expect
PART 1: TO THE PERSON SUFFERING FROM PAIN
What are the consequences?
How to get attention from your partner
How to get help from your partner
How to get support from your partner
How can you help your partner?
What about your own contribution?
What about intimacy and sex?
PART 2: TO THE PARTNER
What is the impact on your relationship
Taking care of yourself means taking care of each other
How are you not helping your partner at all
How can you show understanding?
How can you offer your partner help?
How can you cope together?
What about intimacy and sex
PART 3: HELP FOR AN INCREASED UNDERSTANDING
Letter to a friend
The spoon Theory
PART 4: EXTRA
About the author
The reviews for the book ‘For You and Your Partner’
Few books touch me the way this one did. This is truly an amazing book for any one of the millions of people who suffer from chronic pain or who live with someone who suffers.
I had a family member who suffered terribly from pain for many years and I know that emotional pain is no less destructive. This book will also be a godsend to those sufferers as well. As I read this book I kept thinking over and over “If only we’d known” “If only we’d had this book then”
The book itself is so well structured and so well written that taking in its messages, ideas, recommended actions as well as all the things one should not do and say make it a perfect manual, handbook and guide for living in these circumstances. I intentionally use those three terms because it really is a complete manual and guide. It is also, by dipping into the Chapter summaries, a ready-to-use handbook.
The book is divided into sections – one for the sufferer, one for the sufferer’s spouse (and friends) as well as list after list of web sites and organizations – all over the world – where support and help can be found.
I wholeheartedly recommend this marvelous work to anyone and everyone of the millions of people who who are living with physical, emotional and mental pain in some way. As I said earlier – if only I’d had this book then.
First off, after reading this book, it is apparent that Anna Raymann knows what she is talking about, for is for sure. A well thought out book in offering excellent advice in dealing with chronic pain, especially when dealing with our love one, family, or friends. Very useful as I found several ideas that will be beneficial in the future. And yes, it is a team effort, whether it’s at home, work or in public. There is a lot here and I recommend giving it a few reads to fully get the immense wealth of information within.
I am so grateful to the author for sharing her experience, her research, her empathy for the subject of chronic pain. This is one in a series and I have purchased them all. When a loved one is dealing with chronic pain, those in their circle are also affected. Misunderstandings, depression, hurt feelings, loss… are just some of the emotions which come to the surface. Raymann helps to adjust our perspective and to face the issue with empathy, reason, valuable coping skills and much greater understanding.
This is a wonderful book that can help the people around you, loved one and friends understand a clear path with dealing with chronic pain. The book defines wonderfully the scenarios that couples go through in this journey….and it is just that, a journey. Most chronic pain is not a short episode and can have long lasting effects. We all need to be educated more on how to improve our behavior with others that are effected by this. Well done and a must read!
When I first read what I now know to be book two in the series about the kids on the team, I was struck about how much insight and practical information the book contained. The world of chronic pain has never come knocking at my door, but I have known people for whom it is a reality. In reading this first book in the series, not only did I see even more insight and immediately useful information, I saw afresh the realities faced by those that are in chronic pain. The author’s first hand experience explanation was outstanding! The tips about what to do and what not to do were also excellent. And the detail about what partners need to communicate about all the way down to intimacy was truly an awakening for me. I found ways to use these tips on how one looks at life to be useful, and I do not have chronic pain! Definitely worth the read for anyone having to relate on a personal level to this subject.
Dr. Mark A. Smith
I have a serious back problem and have read many of the “exercise and how to treat your back” books. Anna takes a totally different approach and deals with the people issues (friends,partner, family) when a person is in severe pain She offers wise suggestions of do’s and don’t’s on a wide variety of topics. These suggestions are from her own as well as other people’s experiences and cover many topics ranging from when/how to tell people your are in pain to how you deal with your own and your partner’s sex life. I found the advice well thought out and very valuable. Anyone who has severe pain issues (including people incapacitated by bad backs) should read and internalize these suggestions!
The reader gets additional benefits when the author of a book is an authority on the subject or a patient, when it deals with a health problem. Anna Raymann is both. The reader gets insights, only a patient can give. The author tells you what you need to know before you read the book and what to expect, so that you get the best from the information. What is also very helpful is the summary after every chapter.
When reading this book, someone with chronic pain will find herself saying, very often, “That’s exactly how I feel. That is exactly what happens to me.” The fact that you will be able to say that will help to bring some comfort, or even some relief, because you will know that you are not alone. Someone understands. This writer understands.
N. Roystone Neverston