What did you first think?
A lot of people might look at the first picture of me and place judgement because all they see is a worthless acne faced overweight white girl who isn’t capable of anything and is obviously lazy when it is clearly the middle of the day and I am sleeping. Some people might see this an think I am just another millennial who thinks the world is in debt to me, who thinks that I don’t need to work for anything and that everything should be handed to me.
My people, the ones who know me for who I am, who really get it, they get me and have compassion in their hearts might see and be happy that I am finally getting sleep. They would be worried about me. Wanting to know why I am sleeping, why am I so tired do I have another kidney stone, is it a bad migraine or is it just the general pain I deal with every day. Others might just see that I have a funny shirt on, and given that I was taking a nap my boyfriend decided to snap a picture of me. In the second picture of me, after getting home from a busy day of work, not just busy from work but worrying about me and a stressful day of appointment he captured a moment of me sleeping so contently before letting me get some rest. Not everyone would look at the picture and see those words because a picture is worth a thousand words and the 45 I just used to explain the picture might not even be close to that.
Dealing with Chronic pain is one of the most difficult things someone can do. You can’t time when the pain will hit. You can’t make promises that you can work, that you can go to a party, or to dinner or even just the dang grocery store. Your entire life is dictated by the amount of pain you are in, and whether or not you can “push through it”. Coming in next place is the fact that you can’t see pain. Pain doesn’t always show up as a broken bone, resulting in a cast or a rash on your neck or any other place to show that is where the pain is.
Unfortunately we live in a world where people identify if you are sick or not based off of your appearance. If you are thin and bald, you have cancer and must be sick. If you’re using oxygen you must be sick. If you’re in a wheelchair, you must be sick. The only thing associated with pain is Opiates and Cannabis. If you depend on Opiates such as Oxycodone daily due to chronic pain, then your not hurting, you must be an addict. If you depend on Cannabis for chronic pain, then again your not hurting, you must be an addict.
People often get the words Depend and Addicted confused. If you cannot get through the day with out pain meds due to chronic pain from nerve, rheumatoid, lumbar, spine, cerebral problems. You’re not an addict. you are depending on them to get through the day because with out them you can’t get out of bed, and other days you still can’t get out of because the pain is just too bad.
A lot of people have predispositions of someone dealing with chronic pain. I ask you to look at it like this. Why would someone want to constantly be in pain? Why would someone want to wake up and have their life flipped upside down just to say they have pain if they don’t? Why would someone risk loosing their job, or even friends or family just to say they have pain if they don’t? Why would someone want to go through multiple surgeries, have huge bills from hospitals they can’t afford because they aren’t healthy enough to even work.
If you think really hard about these scenarios (and this is just a few) the only way someone would put them through this would be if someone had mental health problems and they need someone to step in, hold on to them as if life depend it on it and help them get the treatment they need. However, most would come to the conclusion that no sane person would willingly allow this to happen. Additionally, they would realize this might even cause someone to be come depressed, have anxiety or other problems and the next time they encountered with that person they would kick their shelves for being so quick to judge.
As someone who recently became apart of the community of people who live daily with chronic pain, I can honestly say I never identified the difference. I never even put too much thought into it. If I am being completely honest, there was a time in my life where I wasn’t sure if my father used his pain meds because he needed them or because he was addicted to them. It took me going through these past horrible 8 months to actually realize how vain I was, to think I had any idea what he was feeling with all of the pain he went through. He had brain surgery after all, not just 1 but 3 brain surgeries, if there was anyone deserved the right to have chronic pain and he should have been given any medications he needed.
I have been told by people that others don’t think I am really sick, that I am faking it, that I am lazy, that I am a drug addict, I wish I could just get every person who thinks that, put them in a room with the piles and piles of medical records just from the past 8 months that have accumulated. The mini pharmacy I have accumulated. The 2 walkers, 1 set of crutches, 1 cane, 1 foot boot and 1 wheelchair currently in my possession. I can honestly say it was never a goal for me to own any of these medical supplies by 28 years old. Most day’s I am frustrated, I feel as though my body has betrayed me. The depression ways heavy on my soul and the anxiety beats quickly in my heart, while I lay there grasping for any form of comfort because even though I am “sitting” or “laying down” most days I am severely uncomfortable while doing so, then when it comes to moving around its just as bad if not worse, so I literally cannot when.
Next the anger kicks in like a round about kick to the face completely knocking myself esteem to the floor to find anger with myself for feeling like a failure, pathetic or even worse things. Angry with the doctors for not knowing what is wrong with me. Angry with my body for failing me. Then finally the sadness sinks in to the debts of my soul even deeper than the titanic in the Atlantic ocean, I feel colder than the iceberg and nothing can warm me up; the only function I am capable of handling is the tears streaming down my face and the negativity in my life.
This is just a little bit of my story in dealing with chronic pain, and my story is no where close to ending but at the end of the day I am trying to grow and become a better person, regardless of if I will deal with these pains for the rest of my life. I hope me sharing my thoughts, experience and feelings that it could at least change the way 1 person things about those with chronic pain. Compassion is the least expensive way to begin helping someone heal.
Until next time…