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In the Depths of Chronic Pain, It's Just Not Realistic for Me to Always 'Stay Positive'

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When people talk about being sick, if they are even comfortable doing that, most times I hear the following things:

1. Stay positive. Your mental state is very important.

2. Pray.

3. Stop talking like that because you aren’t a quitter.

There are things that people inherently don’t understand about being sick.

Even if you love someone who is struggling, when you’re on the outside it’s hard to explain the constant pain, or why you’re suddenly crying, or what has propelled you into an anxiety attack.

Most times I don’t really understand why or what happened – I just know it is. I am trying to learn not to be embarrassed by my tears, pain or weakness because in all those things are strengths.

The one thing I have done since my diagnosis is try to remain positive. The truth is it takes a lot of energy to feel, and believe, everything will be OK when your body is painful to the touch, and your thoughts feel so empty, like you’ve lost your way to a place that was once happy. It’s easier said than done. A lot of people don’t get that concept and probably won’t be able to grasp the concept of pain that it can be impossible to get above of feelings that seem to choke you and rob you of simple coherence.

My mental state is shit right now, so if it’s important, which I know it is, I feel like I am screwed. I haven’t been able to control the spiral lately and everything goes from “what happens if” to “what happens when” – regardless of the situation. My anxiety is always about 10 steps ahead of me, even though I take medication that should be enough to calm me down – it’s always there.

Lately, more than ever, I find myself trying to breathe my way through both pain, and the dread about what all the pain means. I find myself in this place of darkness that I feel really has no end in sight. At least not yet, not for me.

There are conversations about fighting, about how strong I am and about how I’m going to beat this.

I don’t believe that right now, and I am not sure if I ever will again. The darkness that pain brings is real, and as hard as you try to fight sometimes it finds its way into the cracks of your facade.

Right now, no matter who it hurts or who it bothers, there is no light for me and I’ve lost my way to what happiness means to me personally and I can’t and won’t pretend for anyone.

Prayer is something very personal and when I was first diagnosed all I did was pray. I wish prayer worked in a tangible way. I wish I could see it instead of being expected to feel it, to accept it’s working. Faith is something that is extremely hard for me to understand or accept when all I feel like doing is giving up whatever little faith I have left, in both God and myself.

People who insinuate that my fatigue with battling these diseases and everything that comes along with them is somehow “quitting” don’t really understand what a day in my life entails. I try to brush that off because it isn’t a normal concept to most.

I understand the concept of fighting and pushing through because I’ve done it for years. Quitting should never be confused with being so exhausted your bones hurt, or your eyes hurt from crying. Quitting should never be confused with fighting your hardest for the last 10 months of life.

Quitting or quitter are not words anyone should use when talking to someone with a chronic condition that does not boast a cure. Don’t tell someone not to quit when there really isn’t a choice, no matter how bad it hurts, no matter how much you want to.

Photo by Andras Vas on Unsplash

Originally published: June 27, 2018
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