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The Contradictory Ways People Respond to My Chronic Pain

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1. the act of contradicting; gainsaying or opposition.
2. assertion of the contrary or opposite; denial.
3. a statement or proposition that contradicts or denies another or itself and is logically incongruous.
4. direct opposition between things compared; inconsistency.
5. a contradictory act, fact, etc.

You have probably had days when you can’t manage to do much and personal grooming is way down the priority list but you still have to go out so you spray dry shampoo on your hair and hope for the best. You get the feeling that everyone you see, including your doctor, thinks you look daggy and unkempt. Lazy even.

“She’s let herself go. She’d feel better if she tried harder.”

Another day you can manage better and shower, bung on some slap and head out.

“You don’t look poorly. You look good, therefore you must be better.”

“You have pain all the time? All the time? I never knew. You never said – you should have shared.” And then, “All she does is moan. No wonder she hurts”

Saying, “I hurt” is not deemed bad enough because being uncomfortable or a bit sore often does not warrant any kind of help.

Describing actual pain and feelings, as in, “My body is on fire with shooting pains everywhere and my head feels as though it will explode,” is catastrophizing/exaggerating/being a drama queen.

Battle on until it becomes too much and give in and take something. Give in?!
The toil on the body and mind from pain is immense and must be managed to prevent extra health problems developing. Being stoic and taking pills on an as and when needed basis is generally not the the best way.

When a patient has a positive response the doctor has got it right or it is a miracle. When healing does not happen or there is a negative response it is the patient’s fault.

“If you have overdone things, what do you expect? Do more, get moving.”

I travel in cars, trains, boats and planes but often can’t get down the stairs without adopting a bizarre crablike posture whereby I move about like Gollum.

“You are so miserable. Lighten up. Cheer up, Love, it might never happen. Try smiling and you’ll feel better.”

“You can’t hurt that much if you are laughing.”

This story originally appeared on Barbara’s blog.

Unsplash photo by Ken Treloar

Originally published: March 28, 2018
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