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I Don't Owe You an Explanation When I Do Something Fun Despite My Chronic Pain

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Having any type of chronic pain condition can make it difficult to find the time and energy for fun. As if this isn’t enough, then we often face the judgement of others when they notice us out in public appearing to have a good day. Yet little do they know we’re still struggling, but we’ve chosen to push forward with a smile on our face to attempt to cover up our pain. Trying our best to enjoy ourselves no matter the price we’ll pay.

As a woman, freshly 40, living with multiple chronic pain conditions I still want to live life to the fullest as so many others do, too. My conditions already limit me, therefore I refuse to allow other people’s judgment to limit me even more. We owe no one an explanation for our enjoyment!

I’ve always enjoyed baking. Baking for my family and baking for the holidays. I’m proud of my baking skills and I’ve been known to post pictures of my goodies on Facebook for family and friends to see. Unfortunately I’ve also endured the judgement from family because of these photos. Just because you talk to a family member and they tell you how bad I’m feeling doesn’t mean I’m not. I think about my husband and children, how they deserve to enjoy homemade goodies. I say quite often, “I’m not ready to lay down and die, I’m fighting back each day to live and do the things I enjoy most!” Instead of judging me, be proud of me for living!

I’m the typical woman; I love a day of shopping in the city at all my favorite stores. You have no idea what it takes for me to just get out of bed in the morning let alone ride an hour from home, shop ’til I drop and then ride that hour back home. I sometimes pay the price for days after. I’m just trying to “live,” I’m not asking to be judged. Instead of judging me for enjoying a day of shopping, praise me for putting both feet on the floor each morning, a smile on my face and going when my body wanted to stay in bed.

Being on the water is one of my utmost favorite places to be. Aside from the time it gives me with my husband doing something we both greatly enjoy, fishing, it also provides the peace, relaxation and tranquility I sometimes need just to calm my mind. I might have to ice my spine later that night or plug in my heating pad, but rather then passing judgment, be happy that after 12 years married my husband and I are still making time to do the things we love together.

The big “Black Friday” shopping event has always been one of my favorite things to do each year around the holidays. Anyone who knows me knows being a savvy saver is something I take pride in. Having chronic back pain and fibromyalgia definitely make this event a difficult one for me however I refuse to allow it to take away from me being a part of the savings. Besides, with me being disabled and unable to work it’s a great way to get my loved ones some great Christmas gifts and save some money while doing it. You might see me standing in line for an hour waiting for a game my son wants, but what you don’t see is the severe back pain I feel on the way home or the muscle spasms my body hits me with because I’m trying my hardest to “live” with fibromyalgia. I’m trying to give to my family and at the same time save some money that my husband solely works hard for to provide for his family. Instead of judging me, ask me about all the great deals I got or praise me for putting others wants in front of my needs.

For our most recent wedding anniversary my husband bought me the gift of acrylic nails. This was my first experience with acrylics ever so I had no idea that having fibromyalgia could and would effect my great gift. Just from the heavy filing to shape and even my nails I found my fingers in horrible pain at the end of the day. My arms felt as if they were plugged into a light socket with nerve ending pain sparking throughout them. My point is, sometimes those of us who have a chronic pain condition don’t even know what the condition will lead us to, so please don’t judge. I can tell you this is a gift that I never want again because there are some prices not worth paying; this for me is one of them. However, for as long as I am breathing I will continue to have fun, try new things and make the choice for myself whether or not it’s worth the price I’ll pay so that I can continue to “live.” My hope for you is for you to think twice about judging me or anyone else living with a chronic pain condition.

Living with any type of chronic pain condition is an extremely difficult task, let alone dealing with the judgement that can come with it. We shouldn’t be judged by anyone, let alone feel guilty for trying our very best to live. A person can never fully say what they would do when put in a situation until they are 100 percent fully in it themselves. So to the onlookers watching our every move, please don’t judge us for attempting to have some fun, enjoy our life and live with the chronic pain we didn’t choose to have.

To those of you living with any type of chronic pain condition(s), don’t ever apologize for having fun or attempting to live your life that has been changed by chronic pain. You’ve chosen to keep on living and this my friend makes you a survivor, not one to be judged for trying to “live.”

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

 I Don't Owe You an Explanation When I Do Something Fun Despite My Chronic Pain

Originally published: December 8, 2016
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