I understand what an impact this picture can have on each one of you reading this as I have the same reaction each time I go through the pictures saved to my computer. I am going to be repetitive about the following sentence and I apologize for writing it so many times but it needs to be drilled into each mind that reads this blog. The number one reason people with chronic pain die is by suicide. As I have written before I know two people who have committed suicide due to chronic pain: a caregiver to a person with chronic pain, and a fellow patient I had once known at the Mayo Clinic.
If anyone tells you they have chronic pain or any invisible illness, you must believe them! Again: The worst thing you can do to a person with an invisible illness is put them down. The most important three words a person with chronic pain can hear are: I believe you!” Even if you do not (which I promise you no one makes up an invisible illness….it is the hardest thing to admit as one knows they will most likely be looked at as ‘crazy’.) For people reading this who do not have chronic pain please try to imagine the worst migraine, knee injury, flu, any acute injury or illness that you have faced. I am sure you can all recall something as I can recall how awful having a stomach virus was for two days and I have chronic pain. Well, imagine that migraine or injury or root canal pain lasting twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. I am not asking you to truly understand what that would feel like as I cannot truly understand what it would feel like to have a life changing disease such as Cancer. However, I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to be faced with such a disease and even the thought of it sends me into a state of fear. Therefore, I know many of you can empathize or somewhat understand what having severe pain that never goes away must be like for an individual.
I have heard many people say that suicide is a total selfish act. I agree with that statement to an extent and only because as a mother I could never imagine under any circumstances leaving my daughter but I am in a very different place with chronic pain then I was years ago. There was a time that I truly wanted to die and the only thing that kept me from death was the thought of my dad losing his daughter. The memory of those dark hours literally bring tears to my eyes as I write this. The tears running down my face are the reason I write this blog. I never want anyone to feel as I did during my darkest hours of chronic pain before I learned how to manage it naturally and accepted it. I will not stop writing my story or reaching out to those with chronic pain ever. I had my yoga instructor who quickly became like a mother to me once tell me that I had many attributes of an empathy: a person who can literally feel the pain that other’s feel. I agree with her to some degree but especially when it comes to people who have chronic pain or people I love. Even when I am furious with a family member and just want to punch a wall, I see he or she cry and my heart hurts for them. This can be a good thing and at times a bad thing as I will put their well being before my own.
I have a mission. I want to reach as many people as possible to spread awareness regarding chronic pain and the importance of supporting those with this invisible illness. I never want anyone to commit suicide because of chronic pain because I am living proof that it does get better. I will answer any questions and pour my heart out about the things I am not proud of and the things I am if it means I can help and save as many people as possible.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!