Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Reality of Chronic Pain

I woke up in severe pain today, much more pain than I was in yesterday, and with no explanation. Most people would probably be confused as to why this happened, but at this point in my life, it's something I'm quite used to. When you live with chronic pain, days sometimes throw really awful surprises at you.

When your pain flares up, the simplest things require giving yourself pep talks, from sitting up in bed to standing up to go to the bathroom.

When your pain flares up, you want to sleep to get away from it, but your body won't let you sleep because you can't get comfortable in one position for very long.

When your pain flares up, your joints get stiff and beg to be moved, but moving them hurts so badly that you're scared to do it.

When your pain flares up, you lay still trying to rest while stressing about everything you should be doing that day.

When your pain flares up, every single step is a calculated move.

When your pain flares up, you have to decide what is worth getting up and moving for.

When your pain flares up, you sometimes forget what it feels like not to be in that much pain.

When your pain flares up, you practice putting on a face around others so everyone you see believes that you're okay and won't worry.

You learn not to talk about it because you don't want to sound like you're complaining. And that's not what I'm intending to do here. I just want people to understand that there are a lot of illnesses and health conditions that you can't see that still do exist. There are plenty of people suffering on a daily basis who push their pain to the side and out of other people's view because they don't want it to become other people's problems.

Here's the truth: I do that on a pretty much daily basis. People think I deal with this stuff so well, and that I seem to have my stuff together more than most, but I don't. Trust me. I really, really don't. I just learned how to hide it years ago when I came to the realization that this pain wasn't going away. I used to hide it because I didn't want it to define me, because I don't want it to hold me back. Then, it became more that I hid it because I finally had real friends and I didn't want to annoy them or make them feel sorry for me. I wanted to be normal, even though I knew that I really never would be.

I hurt. All day every single day. Some days more than others. That is just the reality. I've spent so long hiding it and plastering a smile on my face on the bad days, and I'm at the point where I just don't want to do that anymore. Not because I want pity; please, whatever you do, don't start pitying me. I don't want to pretend anymore. I don't want people to think I have my life under control. Sometimes it feels like life is controlling me.

Do I recognize that I still have plenty of blessings in my life? Yep. You bet I do. It's those blessings that keep me going. But those blessings don't make this part of my life suck any less. And I know I'm not the only one like this, but I can only share my story, and if my story can help spread some empathy in the world, then at least it will do some good.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about." - Wendy Mass

I wanted to make this post more eloquent, but well, reality isn't always pretty, so here you go.

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