47 Things Chronic Pain Has Taught Me


I’ve been battling chronic pain since I was 15. I think in the last seven years I’ve learnt more about my strength and inner person than I ever will in my life again. Here’s a few of the things I’ve learnt:

1. Real friends are precious and wonderful.

2. It’s better to have five close friends than 10 fake ones.

3. All pain is valid and deserves treatment.

4. Pretending your condition doesn’t exist will always end in tears.

5. Rest is important to athletes so it makes sense that it is vital to those who don’t feel well.

6. Find a creative outlet – whether it is writing, drawing, singing. Find something that makes your heart happy.

7.  Remember you and only you know what feels normal to you and what your body is feeling.

8. Always trust your gut.

9. Every day may not be good but there is something good in every day.

10. Education is very important, but remember it has no time frame or limitation.

11. Believing in miracles or magic is not stupid, sometimes it’s what you need to keep you going.

12. Every medical personnel you meet should treat you with respect and dignity and not judge you. If they don’t, that is on them – not you.

13. Remember recovery and healing is never linear.

14. The human body is a magical and beautiful thing.

15. You have not fallen ill because you are a bad person, it’s just a bad hand of the “life” cards.

16. The hope that things can get better one day is a very powerful thing. Hold onto it.

17. If it costs you your peace, it is too expensive.

18. You are strong enough to face it all, even if you don’t feel like it.

19. If someone is trying to bring you down, they are already below you.

20. Love is powerful, and where there is love there should always be respect.

21. Sleep is a healer.

22. Do not compare your middle to someone else’s end. There is no timeline or manual to life.

23. No act of kindness is ever a bad idea.

24. The minute you think of giving up you need to remember why you held on or why you are doing this.

25. Don’t water dead plants – only keep people in your life who care for you as well.

26. Have a passion and pursue it.

27. Remember that tomorrow is always a new day.

28. Stepping back or away from drama is not a sign of defeat, it is a sign of maturity.

29. Celebrate the small victories.

30. Sometimes struggles comes from wishing or thinking things were different and can be self-inflicted. Keep checking in on yourself.

31. “Doing your best” does not mean working yourself to the bone or a breakdown.

32. Sometimes social media can be a bad or toxic thing. There’s no shame in switching off for a few days. The world will not end.

33. I promise you, there will be days in the future where you fall in love one day with being alive again.

34. If someone in your life uses your health as an excuse for bad behavior towards you or against you in any way – cut that toxicity out of your life.

35. Maya Angelou said a lot of smart things.

36. Never be afraid of the solitude that comes with raising your standards.

37. If you’re feeling like you don’t need a medication anymore, it probably means it’s working.

38. A bad day does not make you a bad person.

39. Always allow yourself to be proud of the progress you’ve made.

40. It’s OK to live a life others don’t understand, not everyone will always “get it.”

41. Be patient with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.

42. A positive mental attitude goes a long way.

43. Remember what others think of you is their choice, what you think of yourself is your choice.

44. Teachers actually want you to succeed, and if they don’t help you then they’re failing you. You are not failing them if you are doing your best.

45. A little progress each day adds up to big results.

46. A little rebellion never hurt anyone – go to that party, let yourself make memories. Yes, looking after your physical health is key, but looking after your mind is sometimes more important. It’s OK to be a normal young person too.

47. Finally, let yourself have bad days. It’s OK to feel down and defeated. No one has it together 24/7, not even your favorite celebrity. Logically, we cant distinguish a “good” day without knowing what a ‘bad’ one is.

Getty Image by jacoblund

This story originally appeared on The Chronic Pain Life.


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


Related to Chronic Pain

woman walking in the airport with a suitcase

My Anxiety About Traveling With Debilitating Chronic Pain

I’m going to be completely honest: I’m terrified to go on vacation next month. What started as an invitation to a family reunion and a trip with my husband that would last only four days ended with an 11-day stay thanks to a mixup in flights and now an overwhelming anxiety of how I will [...]
pink sunset

Reflections of the Meaning of Pain and Suffering

As yet again my pain awakens me much earlier than I had hoped, and I look into my 3,586th day (or so) of making it through by juggling duties and self-care, I recall not for the first time the statement: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” (Haruki Murakami) But then I think that to say that, [...]
two men sitting at a table talking

'How Are You?' Takes on New Meaning When You Live With Chronic Pain

How are you doing? That can seem like a trick question to anyone with chronic pain. How do you answer? I could say that my erythromelalgia (EM) is causing my toes, feet and legs to burn like an inferno. I could complain that my ankles feel like they are bound by flaming ropes. If I [...]
woman sitting on a rock overlooking mountains and meadows at sunset

Why I Am Taking a Break From Medical Professionals

After dealing with 20+ years of being in the healthcare system in some form, I decided to take a break from it. A small but much needed one. Rescheduling appointments that took months to be able to get into. Emailing doctors and therapists about these rescheduled appointments and much more. I started this journey at [...]