When you live with chronic pain there is always more than meets the eye! You see what chronic pain sufferers want you to see and more often than not it is nothing compared to what we actually live with on a day to day basis. The truth is most people can’t handle the realities of chronic pain so we downplay how much pain we are really in to get on the same level of others. This can be exhausting because sometimes you just don’t have the physical energy to act and pretend everything is okay when it isn’t. There are so many things I battle with on a day to day basis because of my chronic pain but might not be as obvious to others so today I thought I’d share a few of these struggles with you today.
You never feel refreshed- One thing I hear a lot of people doing is comparing their long workday to chronic pain or fatigue. Sorry guys but the tiredness you feel after a long workday is not even remotely similar to what it feels like to have chronic pain or fatigue and making that comparison will only irritate chronic pain sufferers. Here is why your tiredness is not the same as chronic pain or fatigue: you have the choice to get the proper rest but choose not to and if you were to try to go take a nap you probably would have no problem doing so. Chronic pain sufferers, on the other hand, don’t have that same luxury and sometimes we have trouble falling asleep because of something we like to call painsomnia.(insomnia caused by pain) We generally experience this several times a week and although we rely on our medication to control the pain sometimes it fails us and we are up all night. Sleeping is necessary to function but if you have chronic pain more often than not sleep does nothing for your pain or alertness. Sleep will help you get through the day but that is about all it will do!
You always feel frustrated- A couple of months I had a medicine increase because I had increased pain so my doctor increased my medication hoping it would help. Luckily it did but I am so tired and it doesn’t matter what I do I can’t get rid of the feeling of that tiredness feeling of complete exhaustion. The pain is better so I am willing to deal with the tiredness feeling but it is frustrating that I have to take two to three-hour naps in the middle of the day just to function. It makes it difficult to get anything done because sometimes I don’t wake up from my nap until four p.m. and by that time half the day is gone! Forget about setting alarms I am a hard sleeper so I never hear them!
Dieting is impossible– If you have chronic pain and have tried to diet we can probably agree that it is next to impossible! When you have chronic pain you have cravings almost daily some of them are kind of weird which makes dieting very difficult. Personally, I get all kinds of weird cravings and ninety percent of the time I can rarely satisfy them which can be good but at the same time, it does make dieting, not an option. Dieting can be tricky if you have chronic pain because we have all kinds of weird cravings but not all of them are we have for comfort. Some help our pain and eliminating those foods will make our pain worse! Unless your doctor has put you on a specific diet for chronic pain it is not usually an option for many chronic pain sufferers.
The fear of having an attack- When you have chronic pain people often will give you all kinds of ideas of things you can do as far as self-care and how you can manage pain. They may be great ideas but chronic pain sufferers don’t always take your ideas especially if you are suggesting things like new workouts! You might have great ideas but if what we are doing is working and keeping our pain manageable most of the time then we are going to keep doing it and won’t take your suggestions. Our biggest fear is having an attack because our lives are put to a halt when we have one so don’t take it personally when we don’t take your advice. We like to stick with what we know that won’t trigger an attack and take advantage of the good days because once one strikes it could be days or even weeks before we get our life back.
Struggles of getting motivated– People are always telling you should do this workout to improve strength or write this blog post by next week which is great I want to do but here’s the thing I am wildly unmotivated to do most things because of pain! I want to be motivated to workout like I used to or get ahead with all my blog posts but the truth is I am wildly unmotivated to do so. It’s not that I don’t want to do these things pain just makes me so exhausted I don’t have the motivation to want to like I did before pain. Just telling yourself to do it is not that simple if you have chronic pain because you have your pain to factor into all your activities. People without pain don’t have that to consider so it’s easy for them to say just do it but it’s easier said than done!
It’s difficult to get out of bed sometimes– There are days when I plan on doing things like going to church and really want to but then when I wake up my body is like nope! Fighting pain when it is high is not usually a good idea because that usually leads to higher pain that you won’t be able to get under control. Some days it takes me three hours to get out of bed while others I jump right of bed and as frustrating as it is to have to put my life on hold when I have a full day planned every day is unpredictable and that is just the life you live when you have chronic pain.
You feel awful every day- Chronic pain is invisible and if there is one thing I teach you today it’s how awful you feel on a day to day basis! Chronic pain sufferers may be smiling and we may look fine but our quality of life has decreased because of our pain and to be totally honest it’s depressing! When you have chronic pain it’s so hard to have to accept the fact that you’re not getting better because no one wants to live that life because it’s exhausting.
Chronic pain can be a tough subject for non-sufferers because some of the realities of pain make some people uncomfortable. Some people can’t handle the realities of chronic and get uncomfortable talking about so their solution is don’t talk about it. This is anything but a solution and talking about pain is what we need to be doing because not only does it help you better understand the realities of chronic pain but it gives comfort to those who have to live with it. You don’t have to always bring up the subject of pain but if a sufferer brings it up you don’t have to see how quickly you can change the subject because it is okay to talk about pain! We won’t break if you want to talk about pain because we need to talk about it too! Just like there are many disabilities that need more awareness chronic pain needs just as much awareness. Let’s stop being so afraid to talk about it and have a conversation about pain! Chronic pain sufferers, what things in your life do you struggle with that may not be as obvious to others?