“Chronic pain can make you feel like your life is being erased one moment at a time.”
There are two types of pain and although neither are enjoyable, one is at least bearable. The first type of pain is ‘acute pain.’ I’ve yet to see what is cute about any pain but I definitely did not come up with the terms found in the dictionary. Acute pain usually has a resolution within six months and the treatment goal is no pain. Opioids and narcotic analgesics are effective and there is a clear time as to when the pain will go away. I have broken my ankle twice and because I knew the cause and the cure, the pain did not even bother me. For a person without chronic pain, he or she may be miserable for the six months it took for their ankle to heal but for someone with chronic pain, a broken ankle is like a walk in the park except with the use of crutches.
Chronic pain comes from the Latin word: “time.” The term chronic pain is pretty indicative to the invisible illness: chronic as in the pain NEVER GOES AWAY! Chronic pain is pain that lasts six months or more and can occur without any indication of injury. This is the most frustrating disease as sometimes there is no known cause and one truly begins thinking he or she is crazy or the pain is “all in their head.” Treatment options for chronic pain are very limited although I spent over ten years searching for a cure to my personal chronic pain. I came to the conclusion with the help of the Mayo Clinic that there was no cure but there was rehabilitation. I learned that one can live with chronic pain and not allow pain to dictate their life, health, or happiness. I whole heartedly believe that chasing a cure to chronic pain for more than a year will leave you with more pain, more distress, more hopelessness, and more depressed than you have ever been in your life. I know this was true for me and I chased a cure for over ten years: ten years of my life that I will never get back. I do not regret those years because I am able to write and help others in their journey with chronic pain.
People ask me at times what chronic pain feels like and it is a question that is very hard to answer. However, chronic pain is REAL. Imagine having an illness you hate more than any other illness. Whether that be a migraine, the stomach flu, or restless leg syndrome non-stop. The pain or vomiting literally NEVER GOES AWAY. You spend every waking hour of every single day in severe pain. The pain is all you can think about morning, afternoon and night. You barely sleep because the pain or the fear of the pain is so unbearable. Pain rules your life and you will stop at nothing to rid your mind and body of the pain. It feels as if someone is stabbing you over and over again and you have no control over their behavior. You one day want to be stabbed to the point where you die but death refuses to come, just more pain. That is how a person with chronic pain feels when he or she has yet to find their rehabilitation. Remember that the next time you pass any judgement on a person with chronic pain. Nobody asks to have chronic pain and I promise you whether or not a person’s pain is visible is a moot point. Pain is pain and in my thirty-five years on this Earth, nothing has been more challenging than my journey with chronic pain.