Warning: Long, personal muse and request for advice to follow! This is an issue I struggle with and know that some of my BB friends also have chronic illness and pain, so I'm looking for some advice on how you manage the day-to-day of living with chronic pain. What probably bothers me most is that during a flare, I feel pretty useless. I have an extreme amount of inflammation that meds aren't able to keep in control and loss of blood, which my body is replacing so that's good, but when it's bad, I sleep a LOT, as in all night and a good portion of the day, then struggle to stay focused when I absolutely must stay up. This gives my husband extra work at home and affects me being able to do very much work outside the home. It really hit hard when I had to leave work unexpectedly (first time at this job) the other day to go to the hospital. It means not being able to make commitments at church because I don't know if I'll be in a flare. There's stuff I feel like I could be doing to help my family, help the church, help the kids in the classroom. You know...LIVE! This doesn't feel like living, like contributing in the way a person should be able to both in the Christian world or simply as a human being in society. How do you deal with those feelings? Have you found things you can do as a believer to still be a witness and share your faith or help out your church/community that do not require you to disappoint people? For example, there was a need for a cook for a camp and I agreed to do it, then couldn't because I ended up in a flare when the time came. I'd been very excited and the pastor had been very grateful as nobody else was available. I felt completely horrible and simply no longer agree to stuff for fear I'll have to back out. It makes for a very lonely existence, just staying in the background, living in fear of when the next flare hits, etc.. I don't struggle much with depression, but do get upset when people mistake my lack of involvement and need for sleep for depression and suggest I get therapy or something. I do get depressed sometimes, but don't feel it is anything abnormal and I still WANT to do stuff, I'm just limited and that frustrates me more than depresses me. There's some fear involved as my inflammation levels put me at imminent risk of a heart attack or stroke, so the doctor told me to avoid stress (HA!) and that means any kind of stress, even the good kind so I tend to try to be more flat emotionally as even getting very joyful, such as really enjoying watching kids perform a play, getting exciting over an opportunity one of my kids has, or even just laughing a lot usually sets my heart off (part of the inflammation includes an enlarged heart) and it could take days to get back to normal. Spiritually? I'm starting to get back on track, but do admit that for a while, the spiritual side of things went backwards and I lost my zest for studying theology and praying, talking to God on a regular basis. It stopped being a habit and just felt pointless, but that's starting to go away. Still, it's a shameful place compared to where I used to be, still trying to climb back up. My pastor advised to just keep doing things like before even when I don't want to until it ends, and that advice was really good and seems as if things are at the beginning of returning to normal. Still, it isn't easy and it is to the point the realization that this may not be something that gets resolved anytime soon, if ever, is really setting in so now I need to figure out how to live with it, around it, through it instead of waiting for it to go away and don't quite know how to start. The realization really stinks, but having to leave work the other day and sleeping more than I ever have really was a wake up call to quit waiting for it to magically go away and start dealing with it.