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How Chronic Pain Changes Who We Are

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How can it feel like the end of the world, and like there is no end in sight, all at the same time?

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This vexes me a lot, and I wanted to go into more detail with it. Particularly because chronic pain, especially on top of the constant dislocation and subluxion pain, leaves me feeling lots of different things.

It’s almost unfathomable, and certainly unfair, to try to understand a life where pain will always be there. It becomes a normality that no one should have to experience, yet so many of us do.

We don’t need to feel ashamed if all this seems like the end of the world. Facing the idea of the life you thought you were going to have being arranged around pain relief schedules, rest days, and spoon conservations can feel like losing control. The feeling of there being no end in sight is just as daunting. Too many people in this world take for granted that they can get up and enjoy the day without their body paying the consequences. Meanwhile, for many of us, the bad days can feel like they will never end.

In my experience, there will be tragedy and there will be immense pride on your journey with your pain. There will be days you don’t know how your body is going to possibly make it through the night, and days where you achieve beyond what you thought your limitations were ever going to allow.

Allow yourself to be afraid and allow yourself to be amazed.

Does it make you a different person if you’re who you are because of the suffering you’ve been through, instead of the choices you’ve made? Honestly? Probably yes. I believe:

It makes you more empathetic. It makes you more observational. It makes you more considerate. It makes you more grounded. It gives us a perspective on life which we may not have chosen, but nevertheless is the perspective we have been given.

Getty image by Primipil.

Originally published: July 8, 2018
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