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What to Do When You’re Angry About Having Chronic Pain

Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

I was angry that I woke up today. It’s not that I want to die. Actually, it’s the opposite of that; I want to live. So, why did I wake up angry? Because I’m not living.

Every night, I wish I’ll miraculously wake up better, fixed, not sick or in pain anymore, and every night I secretly wish, if this isn’t a possibility, that I just won’t wake up. I don’t actively want to make it happen; I’m just tired of waking up feeling sick and tired.

I feel like I’m in purgatory — stuck somewhere between the land of the living and the land of the dead. I have a lot of time to think about it and often wonder if this is penance for something I’ve done, some wrong I am paying for now. I think about where I could be if I was healthy; I fantasize about living a life without pain, something I can’t even remember because I’ve been in pain for so long. And I get angrier — so angry I can start to taste my own bitterness with each additional angry thought. So angry I’m not even sure who or what to be angry at anymore.

Each morning, I lie in bed, angry, yet I still try to convince myself I can drag my painful body up and out of bed and make it through one more day. I force the body that loves to betray me to move. To do the self-care tasks that hurt but I know will make me feel a little more human. The little things I know I need to do to in order to keep from totally letting my body win. Simple tasks “normal people” take for granted like brushing my teeth, showering, making a cup of coffee or breakfast on days I can eat. As I complete these tasks, as exhausting as they are, I become more angry with my body, but my mind becomes more determined to fight. I don’t let people determine what I can and can’t do, so why should my body have this power over me?

I woke up angry today — angry that I woke up in purgatory, angry I’m in pain, angry at my body — but I woke up and channeled that anger to get through one more day. As long as I keep waking up, I’ll keep on fighting to get through today.

Photo by Valentina Aleksandrovna on Unsplash