Today's post is less a blog post and more a PSA. It has recently come to my attention that the general public doesn't understand a few basic things about my type of pain. Nerve pain. Unexplained pain. Chronic pain.
Which more than 3 million people a year - in the US alone - have to deal with.
1. Pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs sometimes help. Somewhat. But in general, suggesting that if I "take a hot shower and couple ibuprofen, I'll feel better" is like telling someone with a. broken ankle to ice their injury. Yah sure, might help, but not really. Not really at all.
2. Chronic pain is chronic. As in, I hurt ALL the time. When I sit, or stand, or walk, run, sleep, dance, laugh, or curl up in the fetal position, type of all the time. How badly I hurt varies from slightly achy annoying to breathing deeply might kill me... but always there is pain.
3. Yes, I've tried whatever possible remedy you think will solve my problem. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology, massage, chiropractic, prescriptions, physical therapy, dietary changes, supplements, exercises, etc... I still hurt. I've just learned to manage my pain and go on with my life.
4. I know my pain doesn't have an easy explanation. But still, I don't belittle the pain you experience when you have a migraine, PMS, sore feet, strained muscles, or whatever, so please don't belittle my pain.
5. My pain IS. REAL. Just because I can't point to an open wound or show you a cast doesn't mean I'm not hurting. Just because I stay physically active and work jobs that require physical strength does not mean getting out of the bed in the morning doesn't sometimes make me cry out in pain. Some days I have shooting pain down my legs, numbers in my feet. Burning in my neck and along the back of my arms. Sometimes my entire back cramps up, sometimes I can't point my toes, sometimes eery inch of my skin aches, and sometimes I just want to weep because I'm so damn tired of my body feeling like a car that's just barely drivable after an accident. Yes, somedays I'm totally fine, you see me moving about, being active, with a smile on my face. But that doesn't mean that the pain I feel "is all in my head," so please don't insult me by suggesting such.
6. I joke about my pain. A lot. I talk pretty nonchalantly about it as a way for me to cope with it. So, on the rare occasion I fess up and seriously state the amount of pain I'm in, take me at my word. Don't doubt me. I am hurting. And I may ned help that I'm too stubborn to ask for.
Have some compassion, is all I'm trying to say here. We're all dealing with something... even if that something may not be visible.