You Have Chronic Pain? I Believe You.

Me in the middle of my two amazing younger sisters. The trio of trouble.

See how healthy I look? See how happy I am? What you don’t see is the world of pain behind that smile. I’ve become an expert at hiding it. An expert at pretending it doesn’t exist. Because people like to say they know what I’m going through. Because they like to try and play a game of, “My pain is worse than yours.” And because others still just don’t like hearing that no, I will never be fully well.

I love this photo. I genuinely am happy to be with my sisters in a place I love. London is a place I’ve always loved, and more-so over the past few years. But when I look at this picture I also see a reminder that my feet feel like I’m walking on broken glass and rusty nails. I was using my walking sticks that day, and my calves weren’t happy that it was a day I walked five miles in total. My muscles were beginning to feel like lead, and I’d just had to sit down for over an hour in order to build up any strength again.

There was more than one time over the course of this last weekend that someone tried to play “my pain is worse” with me. It’s annoying and tiring. Everyone’s pain is valid, whether short-term or long-term. But invalidating someone’s long-term pain because they deal with it is bullshit.

You. Don’t. Get. Used. To. It.

The pain varies from day-to-day. Where it is, the intensity, the type. You can have more than one type of pain at once.

That smile on my face and the glow in my skin is not a reflection of my health or my pain levels. If you can’t see my mobility aids then you might be mistaken in thinking I’m not in pain or battling anything. Most chronic illnesses are invisible. If you could see my pain on the outside, you wouldn’t ask what’s wrong with me, or try to compete. It’s why when you tell someone in chronic pain that you hurt, we believe you.

Follow this journey here.

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