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My Christmas Wish as Someone With Chronic Pain

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My mind rolls back like a movie reel to the last few years during the frigid winters. As the wind becomes piercing my nights drag out, and the tears I shed in private visit a little longer. My door shuts on people I love more frequently. I’m often curled up alone in a corner, rediscovering my disgust at my inability to be a part of the festivities. As the movie reel spins forward, the same image stays in the screen up until this frightfully frosty winter.

My heart feels detached from the whole world as I lay with my entire body pressed up against the corner of my room. The sensation of needles drilling into my bones radiates through my body. The jolting pain hurts my head so badly that I feel the nauseating need to scream so loud I might just possible overpower the feelings of burning agony. My eyes shut and I glare into the blackness as I feel the pain shooting through my body. With every breath I expel, my ribs feel they might explode. My ears throb as the vibrations of the jovial college students around me force me to lock my jaw and grind my teeth to keep from roaring at the world.

A spasm of pain shoots up my leg and my eyes burst open and fall on the photograph on my dresser across the room. Despite my mind crackling from the burning pain, I feel a warmth of love spreading throughout me as I look at the man in the photograph who shows me patience.

The tears from the sensations in my body drip onto my pillow as a smile crosses my face. My hand moves an inch, and my body collects a huge gust of wind as the pain stabs me in the shoulder. I tap the black screen despite the tears falling faster, realizing that truly it is me blocking others out of my life.

I hit the speaker button and lay curled up sobbing and hacking before I speak.

“Ryan, I love you.” My finger dragged down to the send button, and my eyes fell shut with exhaustion from the fire within. I lay there horrified to move, afraid my bones would shatter if I dared to flutter my eyes.

Ding! The vibration diffused in the bed, igniting a tormenting fire through my muscles. With my teeth grinding together from the pain, I peered through my eyelids to peek at the cracked screen.

“I love you more.”

Another tear escaped as my heart danced the waltz inside my burning body. Every kind word he utters is ammunition against this disease. Every warm smile he gives me, the acceptance of days without hugs, and the patience serves to help me battle this agony. With his patience, he has unknowingly given me a sense of holiday cheer despite my CRPS. His patience is like a hand reaching down into the darkness to bring me up into the light with everyone else.

This Christmas, I plead with you to open your heart. Instead of having solely empathy-driven actions, try using actions riddled with patience. I ask this for those like me who are lying in the corner, frozen from the stinging torment of chronic pain.

Please fulfill my Christmas wish and sprinkle patience throughout all of your interactions with those of us who have a disability. Show me that we can become a nation that is inclusive of all people.

I have CRPS and I can endure.

We have disabilities and we can conquer.

We are a nation of patience, and we can include all people.

Originally published: November 26, 2018
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