When Life's Demands Wear on You Until Pain Says 'Enough'

Here’s the thing about chronic pain. It doesn’t go away. So you get used to pushing yourself, you get the “I’m doing great!” mask that rarely slips and you get things done. Normal things, errands, dishes, laundry, intermittent caregiving, work, changing the sheets, having a root canal, thinking about a business plan or two; life. Only you see the exhaustion and go through the flare-ups, but you “still push” because America or something.


Well, kidlets, the more you do, the more people think you can do, and then, inevitably, the more there is to do. But pain, right? Pain is still there, sucking energy. Then a day like today hits. When the constant distractions and demands catch up, and all you can do is cry. Because the world at large ties your value to your productivity, and dammit, somehow, despite your rebel yell, you’ve internalized this. All the things, the 80 things that need attention right now, aren’t going to get another piece of you. Where’s your value now?

x-ray of screws in a woman's spine

Thus, tears. Because pain isn’t just pain. Pain is my expectations, and yours. Pain is disappointing, discomforting and destabilizing. It’s dehumanizing. And every now and then, it all catches up to you at once. And there’s nothing to be done except be in it. So. I’m in it. Grrr blah hiss f*** sigh.

It’s not pretty. It’s a hard journey, and sometimes you feel like you’ve been rode hard and put away wet. You have. Everyone seems to live at defcon one, and you can’t keep up. It’s impossible. I have almost bi-monthly breakdowns. I wish I could figure out how to fix this so I can live and thrive and maybe even have some damn joy, without the relentless awareness that it all comes at a cost.

woman's hand under water with a tattoo on her wrist that says 'breathe'

I’ll breathe. I’ll reach out to trustworthy friends. I’ll cry because crying is what’s called for. It’s OK that this sucks right now. There’s no way through it but through it. See you on the other side.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Pain

woman walking down a path in a foggy forest

Wading Through the Brain Fog of Chronic Pain and Depression

Hello to you, I hope you’re doing well. If you’re reading this to learn about brain fog then great, thank you! If you’re reading this because you also have brain fog, I hope this post will somehow assure you that you’re not alone. I was not supposed to be writing about brain fog today. I [...]
A mother and daughter under an indoor tent with lights.

To the Working Mother With Chronic Pain

To the working mom with chronic pain: Did you wake up to the sound of tiny humans demanding your attention today, and wish, for a second, that they would go away until the alarm went off, or at least until the pain subsided? Did you limp through the house to make their breakfast, holding various [...]
30 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because of Chronic Pain

30 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because of Chronic Pain

Developing a chronic pain condition may require you to make a number of changes to your lifestyle and daily routine. Activities such as standing, sitting or talking with a friend may trigger pain flares, thus requiring certain accommodations or coping techniques. Everyone has different ways of managing their pain, and while some are more apparent, like taking prescription pain [...]

22 Photos People With Chronic Pain Want to Post on Facebook, but Don't

Chronic pain can manifest in many different ways. For some, the pain is visible, able to be seen in redness or swelling. But for others, the pain is less apparent and can be hidden behind clothing or a smile. Either way, opening up and sharing your experiences with pain can be scary. Posting photos or [...]