As I look back at my entire journey with chronic pain I notice more and more how much attention and energy I have given to what people think of me and how I manage my pain. When I look back to all the people I have met on my journey with chronic pain I see how much they allowed the thoughts of others to affect their pain management skills. It takes this reflection to honestly see how much energy that took away from me and the people I have known with chronic pain.
Bottom line: people without chronic pain are never going to understand what you are going through. That does not mean that you cannot educate them if they are people in your life that are extremely important. For example, once I learned how to manage my pain without medication or treatment I wanted to educate the person who was closest to me at the time: my dad. I needed that support system. Time has moved on and now one of the key people in my life I need to understand my journey with chronic pain is my husband. For me, at this point in my life I really do not feel the need to tell people why I do the things I do. And frankly, I have finally come to a point where I really do not need anyone’s understanding. I do not have the energy or time to explain my coping mechanisms with chronic pain. I’m doing what is best for me and that makes me a better wife, daughter, mother, and friend. Coping with chronic pain naturally takes most of the energy I have. I see a therapist who specializes in chronic pain and anxiety. That helps me. A lot of people give psychotherapy a stigma that is completely ridiculous and ignorant but you cannot change what people think. I am never embarrassed to tell someone I am going to my therapist appointment. If anyone judges you for how you manage your chronic pain, let them judge you all you want. However, my advice to you would be to truly look at who you are surrounding yourself with. Nobody ever has the right to judge anyone else. I saw a quote recently that said: “Do not judge someone because they sin differently then you.” Once again, everyone is fighting some kind of battle the world knows nothing about.
I have to do what is right for myself, my health, and my happiness. I need to keep moving forward and not give a sh*t about what anyone thinks. I will continue to do what is right for me and you need to do the same!