When I first became sick 20 years ago, I never, ever imagined that I would live 20 years with the daily pain that I have had to endure. We hear all of the time that a person can deal with anything when they know that it is short-term, even pain. As women, we are used to pain: labor pain, menstrual cramps and pain, and the other pains of just having the privilege of being female. But even some of the most terrible pain we experience, such as labor pain, is made bearable because we know at the end of it there will be a reward: a beautiful baby to love and cherish. But as chronically ill pain patients, we have no rewards at the end of our long days filled with pain. We search endlessly for the purpose for our pain and pray that maybe tomorrow will be the day that we will get some relief from our misery.
I have lived with pain and sickness for 20 years. A total of 240 months; 87,600 days; 2,102,400 hours. That is a lot of time spent being miserable and people expect you to just “suck it up”; “get over it”; “move on”; and “deal with it”. I have spent almost 90,000 days of my life feeling pain around the clock, even with the aid of prescription pain medications, and while I feel that I have done a damn good job of “dealing with it” on a daily basis, living with chronic pain is not easy and is not for the weak-minded.
I wrote a post a while back that it takes strength to have ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia and it takes great strength to deal with chronic pain. Pain sufferers are always fighting a war because pain management is a joke, really. We are given pain medications. After a while, we build a tolerance to those drugs. Then our drugs are increased. We build a tolerance to those drugs. They are increased again or changed to stronger or more addictive drugs. If we take too many because we can’t cope with the pain, we are called “addicts”, but if we don’t take them at all, the pain is so severe we can’t get out of bed and work or take care of daily functions and then we are “lazy” and “not trying hard enough”. No matter what we do, it’s never the right thing. We are losers in society’s eyes.
No one wants to be our friend because heaven forbid if we need someone to talk to we are told we are “whining”. Our families abandon us because no one wants to be around the sick, pain person again – we are blamed for being “too depressing” and “no fun”. When people say things like this about the people they are supposed to love, do they ever stop and think about how their life would change if the shoe were on the other foot? Of course not.