Besties are… well… the best!
Lauren Smith just earned a Best of the Besties award for friendship by deciding to run in the Marathon de Paris 2017 on April 9, 2017 in honor of a friend who has complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
The McGill Pain Index ranks CRPS pain as THE most excruciating pain known today.
On a scale starting from zero, arthritis pain is ranked at approximately an 18. Chronic back pain at around 26. CRPS? Hold onto your hats, folks: CRPS pain is ranked at 42! One woman described the pain by saying it’s as if your veins are filled with lighter fluid and the flames never stop burning.
Watching someone you know and love experience a chronic illness is tough.
It’s frustrating to stand by and see a great person ravaged. Some people try to hide from those strong feelings of frustration by building a wall of denial and defensiveness.
A note to those people: GET OVER YOUR DARN SELF—THAT’S NOT HELPFUL!
Lauren obviously decided to channel that caring and frustration in a HUGE way—and it would be AWESOME if more people joined her (click here for more info!).
But there are other, smaller ways to be supportive to someone dealing with CRPS:
- DO be sensitive: Words spoken without thinking can embed themselves in the pain-riddled brain of a person with CRPS. So…
- Don’t make cracks like “Must be nice to stay home all day and get paid for it” to someone on paid disability because they’re in severe pain 24/7. People with CRPS would GLADLY, JOYFULLY, and ECSTATICALLY give up receiving disability if it meant not having CRPS…
- Don’t call us “druggies” or “junkies”—we’re not choking down upwards of 10 pills a day for fun or to avoid responsibility…
- DO take the time to learn about CRPS and how it affects quality of life (but don’t assume that you know better than we do about what we’re feeling)
- DO ask what we need today. With CRPS, our sensitivity to touch can vary. Trust us to know how we’re feeling. Ask how we’re doing and mean it—adjust your interactions with us based on our answers. On days when even the smallest nudge from a stranger can be excruciating, run interference for us. You can be a physical barrier of protection or just help us deal with people who refuse to understand that our symptoms are real.
- Remember: people living with chronic illnesses generally have to schedule their activities around the time of day when their symptoms are best controlled. Don’t take our schedules for granted—but also, don’t be offended if we have to cancel because our disease won’t let us function the way we want to.
- DO know that we appreciate and love everything you do for us more than you probably know. Your support means the world!
Finally, if you’re up for it, DO visit Lauren Smith’s Paris Marathon page and support her dedication to increasing awareness about CRPS!