Today’s excerpt is a personal account of someone who deals with their own chronic pain by investing time with others.

One of my biggest coping techniques for living with chronic pain is distraction. I like to stay so busy that I don’t have time to notice how badly I feel. Volunteering accomplishes this task and so much more.

Volunteering takes us out of ourselves, out of the house, out of our solitary environment and into opportunities to see that we’re not alone. Even if you can’t get out of the house, there are many opportunities to volunteer right from your own home.

Pain tends to isolate us from friends and family. We may feel “trapped” in our homes or our own bodies. Spending time (whether outside the home or volunteering online) outside of ourselves gives us an opportunity to develop/re-establish relationships.

Whether it’s helping people who are living with pain as well — or anyone in need – from elderly people just in need of a companion to children in need of homework help, volunteering can introduce you to wonderful people you never would have met otherwise

I have always volunteered. As a child and teenager, it was at church. As a Marine, I volunteered to serve my country. And later in life, I found a whole community of people living with pain and found that when I help them, I’m actually helping myself. Spending time with such wonderful people in TPC’s chat room or discussion forums gives me perspective. I see people who are dealing with so much more than I am and I’m able to pull myself out of the cocoon of pain and my own personal pity party and get back into the world. I’ve met so many amazing people who give me hope and encouragement and the time I spend volunteering comes back to me ten-fold in renewed strength and motivation.

Source: “Volunteering in Pain.” By Carolyn  Noel.