One of the many downsides of chronic pain

I have tough days at work sometimes.  Actually I think they are all tough, just some are more tough than others.  I think one of the biggest frustrations of my job (now that I’m finally over the severe anxiety I was having) is that often I’m in just as much (or more) pain than some of my patients but can’t take anything stronger than panadol for it while I’m working.  I mean, I’m sure I could take something stronger, but then I worry if I ever make a mistake at work, that people would blame it on painkillers and not on just the fact that everyone makes mistakes from time to time.

At least when I come home though I can take something for the pain and curl up in a ball and try to move as little as possible.  The downside though is sometimes painkillers just don’t work. Tonight is one of those times. I’m sitting here tonight just hurting all over.   Different things causing different pains but they all add up to just being one big pain.

I wish I could explain to people what it’s like to live this way.  But unfortunately most people mistake sharing the negatives in your life with being negative.  Sadly I have a lot of people in my life like that.  Sharing negatives is about saying “ok I have this really crappy situation in my life but talking about it will help me keep going and help deepen our friendship” – being negative is about deliberately making others miserable.  I have found the most negative people I have come across are generally those who go around attacking people going through difficult situations for “being negative” for daring to reach out to their friends for support.

I share my situation with chronic pain, not because I want sympathy – sympathy won’t make my pain any less.  But rather so that others out there who suffer the same know they are not alone.  I wish when I was younger I had come across someone, either in real life or online, who spoke out chronic pain in young people.  It would have helped me not feel like a freak, to know that other young people can suffer from chronic pain conditions.  It would have also helped me with the critics and skeptics, to be able to say “hey I’m not the only one, there are other young people out there like me”.

So for anyone reading this who suffers from chronic pain – you are not alone.  There are other people like you.  If anyone calls you negative for sharing how you are feeling, they are not true friends and you are better off without them in your life.  True friends are uncommon, but a true friend who supports you on your bad days, is worth a million fake friends.  If your friends aren’t supportive, keep looking for ones that are.

We are lucky in the 21st century. There are so many online support groups for people with various conditions.  Some are good, some are not so good – some really suck.  But there are definitely good ones full of really supportive people who genuinely care.

I have been very lucky when it comes to support groups – My best friend Shelly I met through a depression support group.  I have quite a number of really good friends I met through the same group.  Since then I have made some really good friends through other types of support groups, both online and in real life – groups for PTSD, depression, autistic spectrum disorder, fibromyalgia and more.

I’m probably rambling a little – I’ve been up for 22 hours and didn’t get much sleep last night- but my point is, if you’re struggling, open up to someone and if you don’t have supportive people in your life to open up to, support groups are great places to make friends who understand what you’re going through and who won’t judge you for sharing your struggles.

Being able to open up and talk about how you feel is a positive, not a negative and I honestly admire those who are open and honest enough to share their struggles in life.

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