To everyone who lives pain-free, from a person with chronic pain
I didn’t ask for this. And, believe me, I don’t want it. I know you roll your eyes even when you try to hide it. I know you think I’m exaggerating or being dramatic. But this is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
You are used to seeing me work, laugh write, go shopping or even go out with friends. But the truth is I’m living a double life. I do all these things and say “all is well” because I have no other choice. The only other option would be to wallow in bed and watch my life pass me by.
I don’t often complain because if I complained every time I was in pain, I’d have nothing else to say. So, if you see me complaining, just know it must be truly severe.
You see me take my pain killers and wonder if I’m addicted. The fact is, I wonder how will I function if my medicines are taken away from me. I take those pills to get as good as you feel when you have a cold. They are the reason I can work, and do all other ‘normal’ things you see me doing everyday.
While the truth is I’m sick of the relentless pain. I’m tired of being tired. I cry when you are not looking. I wake up mid-sleep writhing in pain. I clunch my teeth when you ask me to do something physically daunting while you don’t even give it a second thought.
I do a hundred things a day that you don’t notice because I hide them. I hide my pain. I hide my guilt. I hide the fatigue and frustration.
I watch you and wonder what it’s like to feel like that — to be able to do everything without pain and fatigue.
Sometimes I want to break down. I want to scream and cry out loud. Sometimes I get so angry that I get numb. I wonder if I can keep going like this.
But there is a part that’s worse than pain — knowing you probably don’t believe me. Knowing no matter how much I try and tell you, you just won’t understand.
So I keep it to myself. And, even when I’m surrounded by people, I’m still alone with my pain.
I’m not helpless. I don’t want you to feel bad for me. I don’t want your sympathy or special treatment. All I (and people like me) want is some empathy.
Don’t get mad at me when I need to rest. Don’t get frustrated when I can’t go out with you. Don’t judge me when I take my pills. Don’t think I’m lazy when I have to sleep more often.
Please don’t make me feel guilty about having this disease.
All I want is you to try and understand.
A guy with chronic pain.