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When Being 'Paingry' Leads to 'Painsomnia'

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I am pretty much in pain all day, every day.

The intensity and level of pain varies, but to be very honest, I don’t remember what life is like without pain.

Seriously, I have been in some form of pain since March of 2014. Try and let that sink in – that means 24/7 pain for the last five years. That’s deep.

I have multiple conditions that cause some form of pain. Some days it is just one condition that causes pain. Other days, I am not so lucky; several of them come together and cause so much pain I am brought to tears. Not to say that one condition on its own has not done that all by itself, though.

Recently, my endometriosis pain was so intense I doubled over in pain and started crying. The next week I had so much pain in my legs and hands because there was a huge shift in barometric pressure that caused my arthritis to flare up. My leg pain is multifaceted. Some comes from the metal implanted after a surgery that resulted from a cheer injury; the other is sheer arthritis from wear and tear, as well as from autoimmunity. The pain in my hands comes from arthritis which stems again, from an  autoimmune condition. Regardless, it is some of the worst pain I have ever felt in my life. I also have arthritis in my spine and hip, and when that flares up, it can bring me to a screeching halt.  If I get a migraine on top of all of this, then I am done for entirely. Many days I am able to push through and put that fake smile on like all is well, but some days I am worn totally down and get “paingry.”

Now what is “paingry” you ask? Paingry (for me) happens when my mood totally changes and I am extra cranky and irritable because I am in so much pain. I am no longer able to pretend that everything is peaches and butterflies because my body is literally exhausted from not only “faking well,” but from fighting itself and trying to do every task while experiencing some of the highest levels of pain felt by the human body. Imagine trying to work, run errands, hold conversations, cook, clean and manage your everyday life while having someone hitting you in the abdomen with a baseball bat, lighting the joints in your hands on fire, crushing the bones in your legs and jumping on your nerves in your face and in your head. Sounds impossible right? Well for some of us, we don’t have a choice and we have to do it day in and day out. Still, it can get so overwhelming that we get a little extra snippy.

The other day I was in such a tremendous amount of pain that I had just had it. I was out trying to accomplish several tasks and there were some bumps in my day. I had tried my hardest to be pleasant, but by the final straw, a frustrating phone call, I had had it. That was when the attitude went from zero to 100. The pain had fully taken over and it felt like I was on a war path at that point. Not only did the person on the phone get my piece of my mind, any one else I encountered who rubbed me the wrong way got a piece of it too. Is it right? No. But it is reality when you have nothing else left physically and emotionally because of pain.

The other unfortunate side effect of being paingry is that is leads to painsomia. That night I was up all night because there was no comfort to be found. The pain was so deep in my body that the medications barely touched it. I had soaked in Epsom salts and essential oils, rubbed my body in lidocaine and essential oils, taken my medications, and curled up with my heating pad while praying for some comfort and relief. I barely found any. At one point I felt the tears welling up in my eyes because I was so tired and so uncomfortable that that was all I could physically do.

Many of us have nights like this and don’t say a word.

We sit up rocking back and forth praying for relief.

We flip through the channels or scroll the Netflix and Hulu queue for some show to binge watch in order to distract ourselves.

And sometimes that works, sometimes it does not.

Some nights I try to do yoga to help ease the pain as well, but the point is all the same: it is 3 a.m., I am awake, and I am in pain. Hence, painsominia. And the absurd thing is I am exhausted. I want to sleep. I want to rest. But my body feels like it is on level 1,000 of pain and just can’t get the message to calm down. Eventually I will tire and fall asleep, but it will take a while.

These are the realities of living with chronic and autoimmune diseases. And maybe one day it won’t have to be like this, but until then here we are. So here’s to finding that perfect position, medications and treatments that work, and a good show to distract you through it all.

Originally published: October 21, 2019
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