chat-roomI remember that first time as if it was just yesterday. It has been nearly nine years since I entered my first online chat room. I had never used a chat room before and I was nervous I would not be able to figure it out.

The overwhelming kindness and friendship that I felt from everyone in the chat room — it had me in tears in just a few minutes of being in the chat room. They each went out of their way to make me feel welcome and wanted. They all truly understood my journey of pain. It only took one chat to get me hooked. After that, I planned my doctor appointments and other errands/activities around chat. I always made sure I was available at 11am each day. If I had to miss a chat, I would feel sad and lost.

Before I knew it, the people in the chat room become my friends. Within just a few short months, they became part of my extended family. We shared our ups and downs. We talked about our families, our children, our pets and we laughed a lot!

You see just because we live with pain that doesn’t mean that each chat has to be gloomy and depressing. In fact, the chats are always first and foremost a safe place to find the support and friendship of others who truly understand a life with pain. You can be offering support to a member who is having a difficult time and at the same time be chatting with someone else in the chat room about the weather or chocolate (one of our favorite topics –food).

No one chat is like another. We may start out helping someone who is going through a rough patch with family, friends or their healthcare provider. Once the serious conversation has ended, it is now the time to help that struggling member begin to smile, giggle or downright laugh out loud. It is so heartwarming. It makes me proud to know that I am a part of such a wonderful and important group of people.

As a person with pain (PWP), I know the importance of having support. It is and should always be at the top of the list for effective pain treatment. Going to chat where you are talking to others in real-time is so important for the connection, the support, the compassion, the understanding and the laughter. It makes a critical difference.

Think about this. When was the last time you sat in the privacy of your home and laughed out loud at the computer while online interacting with others? Reading silly jokes or watching funny videos are great yet just not the same. My fur-kids will look at me like I am a tad crazy when I am sitting on the couch laughing at my laptop. I often wonder what is going through their minds.

You see, TPC chats are an amazing, wonderful, caring, compassionate, thoughtful and family-oriented place that you cannot help but become attached to attending each and every chat possible. You meet new people with pain and talk to them not just once but over and over and over again. You learn their likes and dislikes, their favorite color, favorite food, favorite television shows. You learn their children’s names and grandchildren’s names. You learn about their fur-kids and all the quirky little things that they do: like my 60 lb. boxer/beagle mix who likes to sit on my lap during chat and help me type on my laptop. It looks something like this: sslgkghioeihfaojoe.

Like I said before, you may start out as friends and soon become family. You worry about them when one of them isn’t in chat for a day or two. You see the support doesn’t stop when the hour is over. It is so much more:

  • You make lifelong friends in chat.
  • You don’t just talk to them in the chat room.
  • You talk to them on Facebook and you even find some who you have so much in common that you talk on the phone and text one another. You may even visit each other.
  • You support each other through the hard times and celebrate the good times.
  • You remember spouse’s or significant other’s names, learn their quirks (am I busted?) and their dreams.
  • You learn about favorite hobbies, causes they are passionate about and special talents they have.
  • They learn all of these things about you, too.

The chat doesn’t take the place of your in-person support group or support conference calls, it is meant to be an extension of support. People with pain can never have too much support or too many friends. We all need to know that we are not alone on this journey of pain.

So, when was the last time you spent an hour in the morning drinking your coffee, tea or Mountain Dew while laughing so hard you cry? Wouldn’t you like to spend some quality time in a safe and secure place with other people who live with pain? Can you imagine how it would feel if you could be among family who understand and who will always be there for you? Does this peak your interest?

TPC can be your new online home and community where everyone understands and listens. All you have to do is join and stop by. You can be anonymous by using an alias or nickname when you sign up as a TPC member. All TPC members can participate — we have people with pain, caregivers and even healthcare professionals. All are welcomed. Join us in the The Pain Community chat room, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11am Eastern Time. I promise you will not regret it. You will savor that hour because you will quickly find it is a special place made just for you; you will be surrounded by special people who care about you from the first moment you enter the chat room and say, “Hello.”

Remember the television show, Cheers? Are you ready to “go where everybody knows your name” and they’re always glad you came?

See you in chat!

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