“The worst thing you can do to a person with an invisible illness is making them feel they have to prove how sick they are.”
This summer has been one of the most difficult summers of my lifetime. I started this blog over a year ago to spread awareness of chronic pain but also to show people that they can live a good, fulfilling life despite chronic pain. Yesterday was one of the most “difficult days” (aka pain so awful was difficult to function) I have had in years. Only people with chronic pain can possibly understand the feeling of being trapped in your own body with the inability to get comfortable, move, and feel like your body is truly broken. What is even worse is that the pain is invisible and people may think you are being: dramatic or seeking attention when in fact you would do close to anything to make the physical pain decrease. I forgot how horrible it can feel to believe you have to prove your pain as it is impossible to see on the outside.
This morning I awoke around four am and could not fall back asleep. I did a light yoga DVD which got me thinking about the need to prove pain and not just physical pain: emotional pain as well. Most of the bad decisions I have made in my thirty three years has been the result of trying to prove I had chronic pain and needed help. Once the world forgot I had overcome brain surgery and the visible scars were gone the invisible pain got worse. I never wanted attention or pity from anyone; I only wanted my chronic pain validated and well cured. I did get one of my wishes: my chronic pain was definitely validated by my closest loved ones but it has never been cured. If you follow my blog you know that I have accepted chronic pain and rarely let it interfere with a positive, happy life. As I finished my yoga sequence this morning I began thinking about bad decisions I have made in my life that had nothing to do with chronic pain but emotional pain. One of the worst feelings in the entire world is expressing how much pain you are feeling and it being ignored by the people you love most. You go every day trying to express your feelings, begging for help and validation and your feelings are swept under the rug and you come to a breaking point. I will never excuse myself or justify the bad decisions I have made in my lifetime whether they were the result of chronic pain or emotional as I know better than most how much awful decisions affect everyone you love.
If someone tells you they are in pain whether that be physical or emotional believe them. You must believe them and validate their pain and feelings. Just because you cannot see a person’s pain does not mean the pain is not real. Invisible pain is the cruelest, most frustrating pain a person can feel. Nobody with an invisible illness is seeking attention or being dramatic: they just want so much for their pain to be believed and validated.