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When Pain Invades My Sleep


It has been a bad couple of weeks. Pain has been a constant reminder of my condition. An aggravating and hard reminder. One that reminds me that, yes, I am sick. A reminder I wish I could forget.

Waking up in pain makes me never forget. You lay in bed feeling like a major test in school is waiting for you, that you just worked out so hard your body is screaming and if you even tried to roll out of bed and hit the floor, you would not feel it as you are at your pain level cap. I hurry to get pills in me and have them start working as soon as possible. A baby waits to be taken care of and I am responsible for this 7-month-old bundle of joy and energy. I have to get going as soon as she wakes up. Coffee is my nectar of the gods every morning.

Pain is also available in the evening, free of charge. I hurt in the hours leading up to the time when I can lay down to not sleeping. My body does not relax and is tight from being in pain all day. Insomnia sets in for a few hours. I used to be able to fall asleep in under a minute. I trained myself in college to fall asleep fast as I had three noisy roommates. Those days are gone now. And now pain invades my dreams.

I had a dream last night. Dreams are a rare occurrence. Most nights I can’t fall into REM sleep. This night I was given a very strange view of my life. In this dream, I was hooked to a morphine pump for my pain and told to press the button as often as I needed it. As soon as I felt the pain, I would hit the button. Every five minutes I would press it. Over and over again. The pain never left me. It was dulled for about 30 seconds. Then it came back. For what seemed like hours I tried to fight off this pain. It never went away.

I woke to my usual pain and I grew afraid. Was this my life? Was this my fate and destiny to be chained to drugs? This is what can drive people to depression. This is what can cause anxiety. To be under constant bombardment and never getting a moment’s peace.

One common theme I see in my fellow pain warriors is when we do get a low pain day, we overdo it. We push ourselves and celebrate. We try so hard to live a normal life, even for a day. To get that day of relief is a blessing. It helps us when the next comes crashing down. It keeps us going.

I fully understand my need for help. I understand my need for medicine and how it helps me. I know some days, most days, I would not be able to get out of bed without this help. This blessing and curse.

And my constant pain reminder that follows me.

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Photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz on Getty Images


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