Many people living with chronic pain have no visible scars, yet the scars inside their bodies may hurt more than any scars you see on the outside of someone. I am currently doing an instagram project that one of my favorite yoga studios puts out each year for the month of November. Each day of the month words are given such as: family, nature, pets, etc. For each word, one will post a picture on their instagram page of something related to the word. This year on the 12th of this month the word was health. Last year when I posted a picture for this word I felt it a way that I was telling a lie. I was back on pain medication and feeling pretty bad about myself. However, this year I posted a picture of myself hanging from the monkey bars with one of my best friends are our children. My explanation that came with the picture was: Day twelve, health, gratitude project. I am grateful to have beat brain surgery and live my life medicine free with chronic pain. I am grateful to feel young and be able to play with my daughter and friends. A couple people commented under my picture and explanation and said things like: “Wait, what about brain surgery??”
I forget how many people do not truly know my story and more importantly the struggles that have led me to where I am in life. The only visible scar I have is on my scalp which is covered by extremely thick, longish hair. I do not wear a shirt that says: Hey! What’s Up! FYI I have had brain surgery and suffer from chronic pain. So please be kind and don’t piss me off.” I work very hard to not even use the word pain much less talk about my struggles.
However, in the past I have been judged by other invisible scars chronic pain has left me with: anxiety, depression, grief, social anxiety, fear, and terrible coping mechanisms. I do not know what I posted last year in the month of November under health but I do remember feeling like a total fake. I was preaching something that I was no longer practicing. As hard as my journey is right now without medication I felt very proud to be able to post a picture and know that I am now practicing what I preach.
Chronic pain causes more suffering than people without chronic pain can imagine. Whether or not you are at the point I am at with my coping skills doesn’t really matter. If you have chronic pain and are not giving up and even just reading this blog, you are strong as hell! I know how hard it is to wake up and face another day in pain wondering what the hell will ever make it just go away! I get it. Its the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and its been for more than a third of my life. Every day you wake up and keep going shows how strong you are. You will one day come out of this, maybe not healed but with more strength then you ever thought possible.