“Intertwining her moving personal journey with the stories of other women living with chronic pain, Grossman sheds light on the stigma our culture places on pain and offers insight into the sense of connection, community, and, yes, hope, that may emerge when those who suffer share their stories—and are heard.”

-Meg Donohue, bestselling author of You, Me, and the Sea

Not Weakness: Navigating the Culture of Chronic Pain

After thyroid cancer, Crohn’s disease, and a slew of other autoimmune conditions ransacked her body in her twenties and thirties, Francesca was left feeling completely alone in her chronic pain. Constant, relentless, often indescribable, and always exhausting, it affected her whole life—intimacy, motherhood, friendship, work, and mental health. Yet it was also fairly invisible—and because of that, Francesca felt stuck by herself in the centrifuge of her own pain. But after twenty-plus years of living isolated in this way, she started to wonder: if she lived in pain, others must too—so why couldn’t she name one person in her community who suffered like she did?

About the Author

Francesca Grossman is a writer and writing instructor. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Brain, Child Magazine, The Manifest Station, Ed Week, Drunken Boat, and Word Riot, among others. She runs writing retreats and workshops internationally and leads an annual intensive workshop at The Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has a BA and MA from Stanford University and a doctorate from Harvard University in education. Her acclaimed instructional manual Writing Workshop; How to Create a Culture of Useful Feedback is used in universities and workshops all over the world. Francesca lives in Newton, MA, with her husband and two children.