During my intense journey with chronic pain I had many teachers explain that the loss one feels once one accepts their diagnosis with chronic pain is a lot like the feelings one feels when they lose a loved one: anger, grief, sadness, fear, emptiness, “why me?”, depression, anxiety, and mental agony. Here are just a few of the losses I had written down years ago once I had accepted I had chronic pain and was done looking for my cure.
I felt that I had lost any chance of being in good health. Chronic pain is something that if you manage it naturally, you must attend to every day for the rest of your life. Having a diagnosis of: chronic pain made me feel that I was “sick.” When in reality, chronic pain has actually done the opposite for me. Once I learned how to manage chronic pain naturally, I became an extremely healthy person. I honestly do not know if I would be this “health nut” as people call me if I had not been diagnosed with chronic pain.
I had also felt a complete loss in my faith in doctors. Many chronic pain patients feel that most doctors think: “Oh, another chronic pain patient. It is all in their head.” I have learned over the years that this is not true. Many doctors do not feel this way at all. They do, however feel helpless as there is often times no cure for chronic pain. For a long time I felt a complete loss of trust in all doctors. I had unneeded surgeries, unneeded medications, and unneeded procedures that in actuality may have increased my chronic pain instead of helping it. After seeing over a hundred doctors and specialists with more pain and less relief, it is quite natural to lose faith in the medical field. However, since my acceptance I see that although I didn’t always get the best treatment, I did see a lot of caring doctors who were truly trying to help me.
One of the biggest losses I felt back then was my loss in social contacts with friends and family. Yes, I did lose multiple friends. At the time it hurt a lot but with age and wisdom I am now okay with those losses. I knew that managing my pain naturally would completely change my lifestyle and chronic pain changed me a lot. My life has never been the same since I have accepted my diagnosis of chronic pain. However much chronic pain sucks, since my acceptance and lifestyle changes I am a healthier, happier person. I may have less friends but it is quality and not quantity. Remember that all you teen readers!!!! Trust me!
A huge loss I felt was family. I was petrified that I would always be a downer. I would look (and still do at times) into the future and worry so much how my pain would impact Christmas day or my father’s birthday. Who wants to be the girl who seems down and depressed during a fun time. I always wanted my family to be proud of me (almost to a fault) and I was petrified chronic pain would completely ruin any chance of my family being proud of me. I still feel that at times because I am still difficult to understand. If you do not have chronic pain and the anxiety and depression that comes with it, it is impossible to understand. I cry easy and can be easily disappointed and worry way too often that people are angry with me.
The final loss I had written years ago once I had accepted my diagnosis was a loss of recreation and fun. I never thought that I would be able to enjoy the things I had once enjoyed. The funny thing about this is that my hobbies and passions completely changed once I accepted chronic pain and decided to manage it naturally. I no longer wanted to go out with my friends drinking. I wanted to be in bed early reading so I could wake up for a five am spin or yoga class. All the recreation and fun things I was scared of losing, I lost. Thank God! What I considered recreation and fun prior to managing chronic pain naturally really wasn’t so fun.
It does suck when I have to pretend I am okay just because no one will truly understand my pain. However, pretending I am ok truly proves what strong person I am. Not only that but pretending to be okay when I am in pain helps me forget the pain. A lot of losses do come with chronic pain. I was petrified of those losses. The irony is that those losses were some of the best things to ever happen to me.