I’ve been living with chronic pain for 5 years. Chronic pain is defined as pain that continues longer than 3 months. 3 MONTHS! My Kingdom for only 3 months of pain.
So, what have it learned about myself through experiencing chronic pain? Well, I’m stubborn – but I’m sure you’ve guessed that by now. But I never quite realised how resilient I am and how despite the way pain impacts my life, in some ways it hasn’t stopped me at all. It has only forced me to think outside the box.
It’s also taught me that my friends and family are solid gold. Their support, patience and encouragement means so much to me. They love me and believe in me and I make sure they know how much I love them.
I’m also grateful for my sense of humour. Despite the day in day out discomfort and pain, I laugh a lot..which doesn’t help when your back is in spasm and it hurts to breathe let alone laugh! Being able to laugh even your life feels like it’s on pause is of great benefit.
I have also learned that I am not interested in unsolicited medical advice from anyone who isn’t a doctor. If you have an illness or disability I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the often well meaning but truly irritating experience of having someone explain your illness back to you or worse, suggest a course of treatment.
Over the past 5 years, I think I’ve heard it all and I’m just not interested in hearing unsolicited advice. Especially when it comes to wafty nonsense like acupuncture.
One lesson I keep refusing to learn is that I am not in control – my pain is. I have a lot of back problems and it stops me from doing so much and it’s really upsetting. I went from having a seriously active life to a severely sedentary one. I miss being active but I miss my social life more. I used to go to gigs all the time, I’d go to BBQ’s and events, hang out with friends the usual stuff but now I’m pretty much a hermit. My back is in control, not me. It dictates where I can go and for how long and I fight it all the time.
These changes to my life had a knock on effect on my mental health too. Something I plan to write about more in another post.
Chronic pain can isolate you, make you feel alone and misunderstood but please know you are definitely not alone. Search the hashtag #chronicpain and #spoonie on Twitter to find a huge community of people who really do understand what it’s like to live with pain and discomfort every day.
I’m still learning, still fighting and I’m grateful for the love and support I have. You have that same support in me. I got you. You got you. ‘Cos you’re a Badass!
The Badass Manifesto