I've always been aware of the fact that I don't have many opportunities to meet new people and socialize, therefore I work on it. I volunteer when I can and don't miss anything unless I really have to. Coming from a background of social work I know the risks and signs of depression and avoid them at all cost.
Many of my friends in the early years spent time together skiing, walking and going to the gym. None of which I was able to take part in. We adjusted our social life to make the accommodation. We like to have people over for dinner, play games, or go out to a movie. During the long winter months it can feel especially isolating. In the summer however it is much easier to be out and about without the risk of falling, and there's so much more to do.
Last winter having had a recent surgery and facing another, I knew it was going to be a long one. My back didn't allow me to do much at that time, and my legs were so unreliable I was falling with frequency. I also knew the pain was at a peak and I needed some more tools to deal with it. That's when I saw information about a course called The Mindfulness Solution to Pain. It sounded interesting to me because I had meditated on and off in my life, and I did like it. I knew there wasn't enough pain medication to take away the nerve pain I was feeling without knocking me out, and I knew I had to get out of the house. With this in mind I registered for the course.
Those who know me, know I have taken part in programs, courses, etc for pain management. I was a little reluctant, based on my previous attempts. Some of my pain management programs had become group bitch sessions about people's lot in life. I didn't want or need that. Not that I'm not interested in other people's perspective and situations, I am. It just didn't help me to sit in a group and talk about how badly I felt. I always felt worse afterward.
I had high hopes that this wasn't going to be the case with this group. I had promised myself I would stay for two of the thirteen sessions no matter what, then I would make a judgement. I was pleasantly surprised, right at the first one. This course was about meditation and how it could help with pain, and not about everyone's problems. While there wasn't time to talk casually throughout the sessions we soon began seeking each other out on breaks, and more than once we had a good laugh or two in the classroom.
As the weeks went on, even in that structured setting, personalities emerged and a core group formed. A group of five of us became friends. We are a lighthearted, fun loving group of woman who happen to have pain. Pain does not define our friendship, our personalities do.
We have been meeting for coffee, lunches and dinner. Tonight my four new friends and I, will celebrate our one year anniversary with dinner at our house. It will be a good time, it always is when we are together.
We are a support for each other and we are genuine friends. We laugh a lot, talk and listen a lot.
It goes to show pushing yourself is the right thing sometimes. I found four new friends who are very special to me in the least likely place.