Living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) can be lonely. With only 15,000 people in the UK getting diagnosed every year, your friends and family had probably never even heard of this rare disease until it struck you. You might feel like you’re fighting a tough and invisible battle with chronic pain that no one else understands. Telling loved ones about your troubles may not seem like an option – perhaps you’re worried you’ll become a burden to them or you fear they won’t fully grasp the extent of your suffering.
But keeping all of your feelings bottled up can impair your own mental and physical health, especially in the middle of a global pandemic that has cut our key lines of contact with others. In fact here at Burning Nights CRPS Support have seen emails and calls related to suicide jump by 38% since the coronavirus pandemic took hold. In addition, 74% of the CRPS patients involved in a recent study were found to be at high risk of considering suicide. That’s why Burning Nights CRPS Support is now offering a counselling service – so that CRPS patients no longer have to suffer in silence.
We hope that by becoming the first charity in the UK that offers dedicated CRPS counselling, we can tackle some of the mental health problems that the seemingly endless months of lockdown have exacerbated.
Counselling gives you the chance to talk about your worries, problems and feelings in a safe space. You may find it easier to talk about your struggles with a professional rather than with loved ones. And discussing those troubles can help you to better understand your feelings, grapple with them and move forward. Our professional counsellors won’t judge you and they’ll keep what you tell them confidential. They’re offering their services free of charge and all of their one-on-one sessions will be tailored specifically to your needs.
Victoria Abbott-Fleming, the founder and Chair of Burning Nights CRPS Support, says counselling has helped her deal with CRPS, from which she has been suffering since she fell down some slippery steps on a rainy day at work in 2003.
“It was fairly emotional at times as I worked through some of my issues. But it was important for me to talk to someone other than a family member because I felt I wasn’t burdening them,” she says.
“I wasn’t worrying them with what I was saying – unlike talking through things with my husband or a member of my family. I could talk about things that I may not mention to my husband because he deals with enough of my problems.”
Patients will be offered an initial round of ten one-hour counselling sessions via Zoom or on the phone. Our counsellor will then assess the progress patients have made and propose an additional ten sessions if necessary. After that, patients will have a four-week period to put what they’ve learned into practice and, in exceptional cases, can then receive a further ten hours of counselling.
The counselling service will be available to CRPS patients living in the UK who are aged 18 or over. If you fit those requirements and think counselling could help you cope with your CRPS battle, fill out our form here and one of our counsellors will get in touch to set up an appointment. Our counsellor will ask you some questions in order to understand your needs and then assess whether this service would be suitable for you.
And if you’re a professional counsellor who wants to make a huge difference to the lives of people suffering with a little-known condition, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our form for people interested in volunteering here.