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

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