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How It Feels When My Chronic Pain Is at a 'Worse Day' Level

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

I am currently sitting at my desk at work crying. I am crying because my chronic pain issues are at a “worse day” level. I am crying because I am on my third round of three ibuprofen. I am crying because I have been slamming energy drinks down. I am crying because I am in pain. I am crying because that pain exhausts me mentally, physically and emotionally despite 9 ibuprofen, a decongestant, allergy medications, ADHD medications and trying to take it easy while remaining productive.

I am trying anything I can think of to get my pain under control and today I am failing. Days like today I cry for the life I feel I was robbed of…the person I used to be that was capable of so much more. I cry for the mom my children may not even remember existed because she has been replaced with a shadow version who (with time) isn’t getting better but worse. I cry for the days I am so exhausted from pain, I get home and get them dinner and then can’t do anything more than fall asleep. I’m missing out on the little time I have with my wonderful, amazing family.

My tears are full of resentment for the things I miss out on; they’re full of exhaustion and they’re full of hopelessness. I push myself as hard as I can, and often I push myself beyond my limits.

I hate myself for the days I just…can’t. Those are my worst days. The days I just can’t keep going, or “going” is like being a snail in a rabbit race. Every day I do my best, I take many steps to try to make sure I can make it. I have OTC pain medications, muscle rubs, pain relieving patches; I have special light blocker glasses, I have adjusted my computer screen to a point where when staff I do not know walk past my workspace and see it, they often stop and comment on how dark it is and ask me if I can see. I even have this giant green leaf awning from IKEA my supervisor gave me to block the harsh bright ceiling light from my line of sight. I have a massager for my neck and shoulders, a heating pad, ice packs and I see a chiropractor as often as I can.

My life revolves around my pain and trying to prevent it from increasing, reducing it or merely surviving it. Today is a day I message my partner things like:

“I am just so worn out by all of this.”

“I can’t live like this.”

Today is the kind of day that makes me think of all the plans my partner and I make, that I can’t do. It makes me think of all the walks with him and our dog, Archie (which is one of my absolute favorite things to do in this world), that I cannot go on. It makes me think of all the time doing activities with my kids that I have and will miss. And so I cry. I cry out of emotional pain, because of my physical pain. I want to scream; I want to throw things, break things and destroy things like my pain is doing to me. I am tired. I am so, so tired.

I can’t live like this, yet here I am — living like this, because the only other option is to opt out of life and trying, and that is not an option.

Today is just a bad day, just a “worse day” level. Maybe tomorrow won’t be as bad. Maybe it will. All I know is I am surrounded by photos of the reasons for me to keep going and keep trying everything I can to be at my best, even when that best is nothing more than sitting at my desk crying. I won’t ever stop trying to live my life. I will continue to make plans, I will continue to look forward to events and I will continue to take all the steps I can to ensure I can make it to and through those events. I will plan to go to my children’s school concerts, I will try to bring them to apple orchards, I will always strive to go to as many parades, festivals, carnivals, sporting events, dance showcases and go on every walk that I can. I mourn the loss for all I cannot, but I live for everything that I can. Life for a person who has chronic pain is a delicate balancing act, while the ground under your feet is unstable. It’s exhausting, it’s impossible and it’s incredibly hard. But…we do it, the best we can.

Photo credit: mabe123/Getty Images

Originally published: November 13, 2019
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