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The Isolation of Chronic Pain

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I was spending time with some good friends this past week when I came to a shocking and solemn realization. While in the midst of a happy time, I came to understand how alone I really feel because of my illness, because of my pain.

This isn’t to say that I’m unhappy or that I don’t have wonderful and supportive people in my life, but simply that at the end of the day, I’m alone in my pain and my sickness, and that alone is devastating and heartbreaking.

I’m fortunate that I have a strong support system. My family constantly fights for me through my health battle, and my friends always have my back and provide me with a shoulder to cry on during the tough days.

But most of the time, I just have me. When I wake up in the middle of the night in debilitating pain, I’m alone. When I go to doctor after doctor and not a single one validates my pain, I’m alone. When I lay in bed at night, wondering how I’ll be able to have a family of my own one day and maintain an active lifestyle, I feel absolutely alone.

On the days I feel like I can’t keep fighting, I feel the most alone. This is when I realize I could have a million people supporting me and fighting for me, but at the end of the day it’s just me. In the middle of the night when I’m enveloped by pain and the darkness creeps in, I am alone. A lot of the time, my pain makes me feel like I’m isolated on an island all by myself. I can see the rest of the world continuing to spin around me, but I’m moving in slow motion, just trying to make it through.

That’s the thing about pain – it makes you feel isolated because it has a deeper psychological aspect many people don’t realize. Not being able to do what you want to do because of pain is utterly discouraging. Even more so when everyone else around you is managing fine and you can barely get out of bed in the morning. Pain makes us feel alone. It makes us set ourselves apart because of the difference, and more so, the fear of being a burden to others. We sometimes feel as if our pain is our own burden to share, so we keep to ourselves. We hide within ourselves and we shut the gates so that no one can come in to help.

My advice to anyone feeling alone in the midst of pain is this: let people in. Let your loved ones help. Most of the time, when we feel alone, we are the ones perpetrating most of the loneliness.

Things are hard all around and no one should have to carry their burdens alone. Don’t isolate yourself, because there is absolutely no reason why you should have to be alone through your pain.

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Thinkstock photo via ipopba.

Originally published: March 31, 2017
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