I don’t usually complain about pain. I’ve gotten used to living with it.
If you live with chronic pain, I’m sure you know what I mean.
This week I had a number of encounters that made me think about this.
I’ve been trudging through the week with terrible fibromyalgia pain across my body, and exacerbated chronic fatigue. Throw in daily migraines, insomnia and a curdling amount of nausea to wrap up the week, and that sums up the time I’ve had.
A few friends expressed concerns about my pain, wishing they could do something to help, and I found myself resigned to the fact that it is what it is.
When you know…
“Shouldn’t you get seen to?” asked one friend.
I would. But I know that’d be a waste of time and resources, because no one is going to listen.
I would call the doctor earnestly explaining the severity of my pain as it flares, and they would tell me to go get over the counter medication, when I’d have already reminded them that I tried that on top of my prescription medication. I would ask for stronger painkillers to temporarily alleviate the flare, and they’d say there wasn’t anything they could do.
I know the drill.
Occasionally, I’ve met the odd doctor who would sympathise and try to meet me halfway. But I can count those occasions on one hand.
Earlier in the week, calling the doctor crossed my mind. I was sat in my chair at work, the first week of a new job, trying to keep a straight face as I reeled from gnawing pain.
But I didn’t call the doctor. Because past experiences have impressed on me, a strong knowing of the most likely outcome. ‘Strong’ = 99.9 percent sure. So I sat there, still, in front my computer, for over an hour, waiting for the pain to subside enough for me to get myself on the train home.
Why should we resign ourselves to living in pain? We already have to live with these invisible conditions and all else that come with them.I am tired of hearing us talk about having to beg for pain killers and the help we need, because the powers that be won’t listen or take us seriously. I’m tired of people making assumptions about us and being unkind just because they can’t… Click To Tweet
I am tired of hearing us talk about having to beg for pain killers and the help we need, because the powers that be won’t listen or take us seriously. I’m tired of people making assumptions about us and being unkind just because they can’t see our pain and condition (This is for the people who gave me brazen dirty looks on the train this week because I didn’t offer my seat to them.) And I am tired of us having to constantly justify the pain we’re in.
The truth is, with a condition like fibromyalgia, even when we observe all the recommended etiquette for living with chronic pain – graded exercise, eating healthy, natural remedies, managing stress etc, some of us still sometimes need other help. Sometimes, even though we look healthy on the outside, we still need that seat on the train, because we’re hiding the pain inside. Sometimes we still need flexibility, compassion and understanding, even if it seems we’re coping well because it is hard work trying to live like nothing is wrong everyday.
It is a terrible shame that as human beings we don’t try to understand or have empathy for what someone else is going through, until the shoe is on the other foot.
Sending love to all our fibromyalgia and chronic pain warriors – those of us who have to be strong, because there is no other choice.
Gentle hugs xSometimes, even though we look healthy on the outside, we still need that seat on the train, because we’re hiding the pain inside. Sometimes we still need flexibility, compassion and understanding, even if it seems we’re coping well… Click To Tweet
Cover photo by Cris Saur.