How I Deal with Pain
Having pain is one of the most difficult things to deal with, not only physically, but als mentally. It’s one of the hardest things to ignore, yet sometimes you have to. You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about.
Well, I have chronic pain, which is a crappy diagnosis to be honest. It basicly means: we acknowledge that you’re pain is real, but we don’t know why you have or what we can do about it. So when I got this diagnosis almost 5 year ago, I didn’t know what to think. At the time it came together with another annoying diagnosis, which I’m not ready to talk about today.
But I did find it important to talk about my pain, because many people suffer from pain in different shapes and forms. But the basis is the same, namely it hurts. A lot. What I’m going to talk about here, is not what types of pain I experience, because it differs from time to time. But I’m going to talk about how I deal with pain, because that stays the same. I’m not claiming that I’m dealing with it well, but I am dealing with it.
Why Is My Body Doing This to Me?
This is a question that I used to ask myself almost everyday. But now I know better. I can’t blame myself or my body for the pain that I’m having, because I have no control over what my body does or feels. And most of the time there is nothing that I could’ve done to prevent the pain. It just is. Accepting that my pain is not something I caused, but something that is simply a part of me, helped a lot in my way of coping with it. I’m not saying that I can handle my pain perfectly today, because I can’t. What I am saying is that I’ve learned to live with it. And a huge part of that is not blaming yourself for something you can’t help.
Because you should never blame yourself for being ill or being in pain. It’s something that I had to learn for the first time when I was twelve. Yet it is still difficult to remember and accept now, almost 12 years later. I’m not claiming that I don’t have my moments where I am angry at myself, because I do. But I can always look back afterwards, and know that the anger was well founded, but aimed at the wrong thing. Because you’re allowed to be angry, you’re allowed to be sad. But at the same time you shouldn’t be angry or sad your entire life. Because you still have something left to live for, whether it’s your hopes or dreams, or like it is for me. I still live for my family, because I don’t want them to suffer because of my pain. They are aware of my pain, but they aren’t burdened with it, because they see that I keep going and have managed to get my life back on the rails. And the only way that I can do that, live on, is by sometimes ignoring that I’m in pain.
We Can’t Talk About It
If you have ever suffered from pain that is not a simple headache or a cold then you know that you can’t easily talk about it. People either respond by telling you that they have had a bit of a headache once, or they start treating you as though your pain is infectious. I also often experience when I do mention that I’m in pain, that people tell me that I should go home and lie down. Which is a great idea, but would I have to do that every day then, because I am in pain every day. And I did try that at first, I spent around six month lying in bed almost every day, but I can tell you, it didn’t make the pain go away. And on top of that my mental state didn’t improve. When you spend too much time giving in to your pain (because sometimes you have no choice), you have to deal with life around you going on without you.
Another difficulty about the fact that pain is apparantly a secret, is that making friend can be really tricky. How do you explain to someone that doesn’t know you that you’re constantly in pain, yet you can make jokes, and you can be energetic. People have often complimented me on my sense of humour in relation to me being sick. Which is so strange, because I believe that sick people tend to laugh more, simply because they have to. I mean, I’ve never heard of an illness that makes your sense of humour go away. You have to laugh with the fun things, because otherwise the hard parts of life are unbearable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cracked a joke, just to release some of the tension around me because I was crying again.
Luckily, I have one person I can talk relatively freely to about my pain. And that person is my mom. We live quite far apart, but luckily there is Skype. When I’m having one of my more severe pain attacks, I tend to call her, just to tell her that I am not doing o.k. And most of the time, that acknowledgement of my pain reileves a bit of it. Yet, at the same time I don’t want to tell my mom that her daughter is in horrible pain, because I don’t want to cause her any pain either.
I’m All Alone
Being ill isolates. You have to or want to shield a big part of your life from your friends and family, and you just can’t talk about it freely. On top of that, there are often activities that I can’t participate in, which isolates me even more. A good example is me not drinking. I don’t drink, not only out of principle, but also because I can’t, due to my medication. And this is often an issue for others, they can’t seem to enjoy themselves with me there. Perhaps it has to do with my age, after all I’m still in college, but it is considered very strange that I don’t drink. And on top of the not drinking thing, I don’t go out at night, because I know that loud music and staying up late is a recipe for disaster.
All these factors attribute to me feeling alone, and feeling a bit old for my age perhaps. Because, what 23 year old doesn’t drink and hasn’t gone out since she was 16. And that is just an example of something that I can’t do, there are plenty of other things, such as: going to the cinema, going to a concert or festival, or going on a trip.
Yet, I Know I’m Not Alone
Yet, I know that I can’t be alone. I know I’m not the only one who goes through this. There are plenty of people out there who are also in pain. But because we have learned not to talk about it, we don’t notice. Perhaps, you read this and you feel the same, then let me know. So that we all can see that we’re not alone. And we shouldn’t feel alone either.
If you want to contact me, you can leave a comment, or send a private message via the contact us page. And don’t forget to share.
I hope someone reads this that needed this story, and the acknowledgement that pain is real.