I have lived with chronic pain and arthritis amongst other ailments like spasms, shooting pains, sciatica….the list goes on, for the last 8 1/2 years so who is more qualified to help others deal with it, but yet when my friends are ill or in pain they say “your the last person I should be talking about this to” but why? Because they perceive their pain to be less than mine and they feel like they shouldn’t complain about it to me as my pain is more, but thats exactly the reason they should talk to me as I can give them the support, understanding and empathy that others may not be able to give. I can relate to their pain. Although there are some people that are constantly complaining about their pain and in the back of my mind I’m thinking I wish I had your problems. Which is wrong as the pain that they are feeling is every bit as real and is affecting their lives in some way. It may not be to the extent that my life has been affected but that doesn’t make my pain anymore important than theirs.
Also everyone has a different pain threshold and my pain threshold has increased greatly since the start of my pain, because I have had no choice but to struggle through it, but then at the same time if I get a paper cut or a headache it is still really sore ( this is something that I can’t get my head round, as I am on such high levels of morphine and other pain meds that you would think , even though it doesn’t take my back pain away, only reduces it, that for these ‘little’ pains the pain meds would take them away but this is not the case, its almost like the pain meds know what pains they are being used for and ignore the rest!)
Before my back went, a headache would knock me out for the day, some were so bad that I’d be rolling around the floor in pain, whereas now it is nothing when I get a headache, in fact in some ways it is quiet nice focusing on a different pain from the usual! Immediately after my back pain started I felt there was no way I could cope with the pain, but I did and for the last 8 1/2 years my back has continued to deteriorate resulting in more pain which I still feel I can’t take anymore but as the deterioration continues, my pain threshold increases. To some people though, because I am not continually moaning about the pain it can’t be that bad, but I consciously try not to complain about the pain as people would get bored of hearing it and moaning about it doesn’t make it any better or go away in fact it can make it worse as your focusing on it and getting yourself stressed out which has the knock on effect of causing more pain as your muscles tense.
so it doesn’t matter what your pain is, it is still valid, so I nor anyone else should be thinking or saying any different. In no circumstances should any one say just get over it/grow up/ stop being ridiculous! Pain is not the same for everyone so what you don’t even notice could be seriously affecting someone else’s life at that moment in time. Thankfully my friends that have been in any sort of pain have been affected by acute pain that goes away whereas my pain is chronic so will increase in time and never go away. My pain is invisible but that doesn’t mean its not there just because my legs not hanging off! I try to walk as much as I can to remain as mobile as I can for as long as I can but there are numerous times when this is not possible so just because you have seen me walk doesn’t mean that I don’t need my wheelchair – I am fighting as hard as I can not to let this pain take away ME as a person. So please don’t make snide comments or talk about me behind my back, I wouldn’t do that to you and I wouldn’t belittle your pain no matter how small and how much I wish I had your pain instead of my own.
I wish there was a button that could return my body to what it was!
My condition does severely affect every aspect of my life, physically , emotionally & mentally. It encompasses me, but there is always people in worse situations, I mean I could have this condition and live in the slums, or be in Africa, starving and ill and prone to all sorts of diseases, I could be quadriplegic etc I think myself luckier now than I did before because I used to take being able bodied for granted, now I know how horrible it is to feel like you’ve lost everything, so rejoice in what I do have – 2 working eyes/ears/lungs, I have hands that can grip, I am mentally aware, I have a roof over my head, I have friends, I have family and I have my 2 perfect dogs and when I am down and feeling sorry for myself, I go through the list of what I have and think you know what I’m not doing too badly otherwise! These thoughts don’t take away my pain or stop me falling but they don’t make it any worse either whereas if i let myself sink into depression then that would have an adverse affect on my condition. It’s not the greatest life and it’s certainly not the life I envisioned myself having, but it’s not the worst either, its just my life and is as individual as I am