Maybe you have chronic pain or know someone with chronic pain. I understand both sides. I understand how frustrating both sides can be. Obviously I know the feelings people with chronic pain feel more so than caregivers or loved ones of people with chronic pain. This post intended for both sides of this invisible illness.
No one chooses to have chronic pain. I did not wake up when I was a young teen thinking “Gosh, I really hope my bike crashes into a stone wall and I end up with brain surgery! Oh the attention I will get!!!” Nor throughout my battle did I say to myself: “This is awesome. My family understands why I can’t do certain things. I can get out of some social engagements I do not want to attend and blame it on my chronic pain. Wahoooo I get to lay in bed at night and cry! Man I love this !” Not once did I want attention for chronic pain. There is a huge difference between understanding and attention. I wanted to be like everyone else. The main reason why I drank with my college friends was to keep my friends. When I drank with them I did not feel the pain, or at least I could ignore it and it was numbed. I pretended all the time I was fine. I think the worst part of living with chronic pain is the negative emotions that come with the disease. There are no words to express the sadness/grief/depression and anxiety that comes with chronic pain. Imagine waking up every day in pain until your head hit the pillow at night. Imagine wishing every day of your life away because it was one less day with pain. That is what people with chronic pain feel. It is not made up. It is real even if it is not visible. And I do not believe anyone with chronic pain wants sympathy. They just want understanding, patience, and trust. Aside from those three words “I Believe You” people with chronic pain also want to hear: “I honestly can’t imagine what you are going through but I am here and promise to stand by you.”
There were certain people in my chronic pain group at the Mayo Clinic that had chronic pain that even drove me crazy. So, I understand how frustrating it can be to be with someone or friends with someone who suffers from chronic pain. It was so hard for me to get into the Mayo Clinic and I was there to fight. I knew I wanted to be happy. It frustrated me to see people there who no matter what were not willing to give the program a try. They never wanted to get off their medicine and spent most of their three weeks there complaining about the program and their pain. I wanted to shake certain people and say: “If I can do this. YOU can!” It is frustrating to see someone who is given a chance to have a happy life with chronic pain and does not even give it a chance.
There are so many facets to chronic pain that I hope to one day write a book to help people cope with chronic pain. I want to help people who suffer with chronic pain and also help caregivers of people with chronic pain. That is my goal. I know the ins and outs of chronic pain from a personal stand point and a professional stand point. Keep reading!