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The Surprisingly Tough Part About My Life With Chronic Pain

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Every day to some degree I want to yell out, but instead under my breath I say:

“Son of a B#$*&”
“I F*#&ing can’t do this”
“Dammit, that hurt like Sh#&”
“What the H#&&”
“What a total waste, Today S*&#$”

All because of chronic pain. It’s like “Pain” is a four letter word. So much so that it is taboo for the haughty, and an expletive for the afflicted.

Obviously, I am in the latter group. Probably because I have lived with chronic pain most of my life. The tough part about constantly enduring some level of pain isn’t really about the physical hurting; it’s about the disregard and invalidation. You see I am not someone you might encounter who uses a cane, or a wheelchair. And I’m not noticeably disfigured. So my unyielding difficulties are not obvious, but they are there.

Many scoff at me. Some outright shame me. I get left behind because I can’t do everything, and I am not fast enough. More often than not I receive gifts of disregard and disdain, rather than sympathy or a helping hand. People can’t see what limits me, so it’s not real and I’m not valid. But the truth is, because I hurt: It often takes me twice as long as average to get out of bed. Some days I want to cry as I navigate staircases and long hallways. I feel cheated the days I have to pass on things or give up at tasks that appear easy.

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And yet I still force a smile through clenched teeth, or hold my breath to complete simple tasks. Because I fear the looks and judgments. I can’t have the pain of invalidation added to my physical hurting.

So next time, please, before you judge, condemn and punish someone like me; just take reality for what it is. Use that energy you might have needed to right what seemed wrong about someone to do something positive and good. Even if you can’t lend a hand right away; the true change in your attitude will make more of a difference than you might ever know.

Getty image by Ponomariova_Maria

Originally published: January 7, 2021
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