By Judie Plumley.
This week’s Don’t Punish Pain Rallies Across the U.S. created attention. Judie Plumley writes an open letter to the chronic pain community.
To my Pain Sisters and Brothers,
We are faced with a very difficult problem of how to go about being heard by our government while taking care of ourselves as best we can.
On Facebook, we have the Pain Advocacy Group C-50 for every state and the Don’t Punish Pain Rally. We had our first Rally last week and now we are not sure how to best proceed from what I am reading in comments. We want to help, we want to share with others our pain, what works, what doesn’t and each of us has something near and dear to our hearts. We must stay focused on our common goal. That made me think of one of Al-Anon’s 12 Traditions.
Our common welfare should come first. Personal progress for the greatest number depends on unity.
When you join a group make sure you read their mission statement. C-50 stays on top of current events that affect our lives and directs us to call ‘t Congressmen and Senators, the FDA or whatever organization is voting at the time. Our sole purpose is to provide the most current information to you, so you can take the steps to change it if need be.
Don’t Punish Pain organizes people so we can demonstrate and bring our message to others. Their goal is to make sure it’s done correctly and safely, and to cheer us on! There are other groups who will help with support, groups that demand medical transparency, and groups that help with alternative pain relief. All are very much needed, and I belong to most of them. However, each group has its own message and that can’t be diluted. All these groups are for our common welfare.
We also need to remember principles above personalities. This is new to most of us, and we are faced with such an insurmountable task when we are already scared, broken tired, and discouraged. How do we fight for our rights? we must do it with one voice, so we cannot allow our differences to divide us. Because there are laws being passed like SISTA and the opiate laws, plus laws regarding the DEA, each group can only focus on one thing. Each of these things has merit and needs to be in our pain toolbox. We are ultimately fighting for the right to be American. We are fighting for the right to choose.
On a personal note:
Take a day at a time, a minute if you must. Don’t take on too much at once. There are only so many straws you can use today. Do not overdo.
Take a deep breath. It’s ok to cry. We are going to do this.
Remember to join the groups in your state so you stay informed, but only do what you are capable of.