What I Really Mean When I Say, 'It Hurts Today'


I feel like a broken record. A really whiny, boring broken record.

Every morning I get up and one of the first things out of my mouth is “Oh, my ___ hurts.” Or I’ll start my afternoon with the comment “Oh wow, I am so tired.”

These comments are usually directed at my spouse or children, sometimes friends. I really wish I had something more interesting to say. I really wish I didn’t keep repeating myself. I feel like, one day, someone is going to say, “When don’t you hurt? We get it already!”

The thing is, each time I say I hurt, I’m expressing surprise. Every day the pain is something new and fresh, a little different than the day before. It’s in a new location. Or it’s tingling instead of stabbing. Or it’s an all-over ache instead of a localized pain. Or it’s in a place I’ve never had pain before. There isn’t enough language to describe the different colors and textures of the pain I experience.

And the fatigue shocks me. It’s like a wave submerging me. I feel buried by it. I feel like I can’t think or speak or function some days. I feel swathed in a thick, grey, scratchy blanket. It’s bone tired. It’s deep down in the cells tired. I never, never get used to it.

And so, every day I’m surprised. Wow, it hurts. Wow, I’m so indescribably tired.

And I want to make sure people around me get it. I want the people I love to truly understand that I haven’t just checked out, that I can’t be bothered with real life. It’s not that I don’t want to cook that meal, or go for a walk with you, or get the groceries, I just really, really can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to engage with you or do work in the real world. I just can’t work my way through this fog.

But if I were to really take the time to describe how it feels on this day, today, it would take too long, it would be too depressing. I know you understand, and you accept my limitations. But I’m just checking in with a quick reminder.

My feet ache today. I’m so tired.

Oh, my hip is so sore. I’m really, really tired.

My neck is sore. I have a headache.

Just checking in.

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Thinkstock photo via Victor_Tongdee.


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