This month’s Stitch Member Spotlight features Stitch member Marcia from Dallas, who shares her inspiring journey of battling chronic pain and how forming social connections has positively contributed to her healing. While Marcia’s journey is unique, we believe her story is universally applicable, especially about how our social circles shrink as we age and how we often find ourselves in situations we never expected.
Watch the video below for the full interview with Marcia:
Living with chronic pain
“I always had a rich, vibrant social life,” says Marcia, “but that began to change in the late 1990s when I developed some health issues. Little by little, over the years, things got chipped away. For a while, I was still working but was limited in my ability to get out and do things with people; meet new people. Eventually, I had to cut my work hours; I had to retire early.”
I couldn’t get out because of chronic pain. By the time the pandemic hit, by the time I joined Stitch about 16 months ago, I was in a bad place mentally; very isolated and in tremendous pain.
Marcia also had to deal with many friends moving away from Dallas and even had to experience the death of two (out of three) of her closest friends.
By 2015, Marcia was living as a shut-in.
“I couldn’t get out because of chronic pain. By the time the pandemic hit, by the time I joined Stitch about 16 months ago, I was in a bad place mentally; very isolated and in tremendous pain.”
Participating in the Stitch community
It wasn’t an easy road from joining Stitch to making friends.
Marcia shares, “The first few Stitch meetings were very tough for me because I would hear people talk about the things that people do; going to the grocery store, taking a walk, working remotely during the pandemic… I have no sense of normal so when I went to Kim’s mid-week check-ins I didn’t have much to say, if anything.”
Marcia also had to attend her first virtual Stitch get-togethers lying down, as her chronic pain prevented her from sitting upright.
However, things started to change.
“I started to notice that the same people turned up to these meetings, which gave me the sense that this is a real community.
There is so much research out there about how important human connection is. It’s just critical to our wellbeing, and I really believe it triggered a shift.
Then one week, I said something funny and the whole room roared with laughter. Through this illness and isolation, I had forgotten that one of my good qualities is I can pretty easily make other people laugh. And so I told myself, Marcia, just keep showing up, if nothing else you can make other people laugh. That’s something. Maybe that’s all you can contribute just now.”
Inspiringly, Marcia discovered that developing social connections and forming friendships with other Stitch members positively affected her chronic pain.
“Every week as I got to know people better and got together for an hour or so just to laugh or talk, I started to notice some shifts in my pain. I still have very severe limitations, but I’ve got some functioning now. I can go out to eat, go to the grocery store.
There is so much research out there about how important human connection is. It’s just critical to our wellbeing, and I really believe it triggered a shift.”
Marcia believes you should put yourself outside your comfort zone. It won’t be easy, but stick with it. As she says, “Stick with it. Allow the emotional discomfort. It took me many [Stitch] meetings before I was emotionally comfortable. You have to stick with it.”
Stitch has been a real game-changer for me.
If you stick with it, you too could reap the rewards of joining Stitch and its rich, vibrant community. For Marcia, “Stitch allowed me to have a way to live, when at that point, I didn’t otherwise have one… Stitch has been a real game-changer for me.”
Be sure to say hi to Marcia if you come across her at a Stitch Event, and feel free to share how her story has impacted you!
Want more interviews?
If you liked Marcia’s story, be sure to catch up on some of our other Stitch Member Spotlights:
If you’re interested in sharing your story and would be willing to be interviewed, please Contact Stitch and let us know!