#3: Join a community for support
There are a plethora of online communities that work hard to raise awareness for and illustrate that youth does not shield anyone from chronic pain. As you’re facing the dawn of a new school day, know that going back to campus isn’t something you must face alone.
It’s quite possible to manage a brand new school year with chronic pain. Current research shows that collaborative efforts between students, teachers, the healthcare community and education leaders are key in ensuring students have the support they need. Colleges and universities are looking at how to better support students with chronic pain, especially as it relates to student development. And community support projects are seeking collaborations and ideas from schools across the country.
Today campuses offer support systems for students including disability services for students living with long terms chronic illness and conditions. These programs are often designed to ease anxiety, prevent serious depressive episodes and provide personalized support.
#4: Remember that everyone has a story
A chilling, yet beautiful story out of the University of Pennsylvania illustrates the seriousness of mental wellness in young adults. Madison Holleran was an aspiring athlete and all-around beloved college student who committed suicide in 2014. She was only 19 years old.
Madison’s story is particularly relevant to the discussion of going back to school with chronic pain. It explores the juxtaposition between life on social media and what’s really happening. She projected a life through her Instagram that “was filled with shots that seemed to confirm everyone’s expectations: Of course she was loving her first year of college.”
The truth is that Meghan was overwhelmed at school and was suffering from depression. She had seen a therapist. Her family tried to help. Her friends tried to help. She had a dedicated support system. She was talented, beautiful, smart and loved by everyone who knew her. She was not in physical pain, but her emotional pain was unbearable. And she ended her young life as a result.
Her story could be the story of the student sitting next to you in your next class. Or it could be the story of your locker mate or your best friend from middle school. As school starts this year, remember that you are not alone in your chronic pain and that others are seeking support as well. You may find like Tabitha McDuffee that a way to help manage your pain is to help others. You may also find it’s much easier to face your chronic health conditions and school work when you let others know how to best support you.
What are your best tips for others who are going back to school with chronic pain?
Tell us about your experience in the comments below!
What topics related to managing chronic pain in day-to-day like would you like to see us explore?
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