The Mighty Logo

Please Have More Compassion for People in Pain

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I struggle from chronic pain due to a rare skin condition and arthritis. I find my pain gets worse in the colder months, when the days are shorter and the activities are fewer.

Recently, I’ve noticed that the worse I feel physically, the worse I feel emotionally.

While many people consider me a positive influence, I’ve had a few people comment about how I make excuses to be “lazy” or I am being anti-social. I’ve had people berate me in parking lots because I park in a handicap spot. Truth is when my body is revolting against me, it takes all my energy to even make it through the day without crying. The physical pain limits my emotional bandwidth. I hide behind positive Facebook posts and text messages. I ignore the rudeness because if I tried to speak out, I’d break down. Fake it til you make it, right?

I don’t like feeling this way. I don’t like spending days on end not being able to be there for my kids or missing out on opportunities because it hurts too much to move or getting harassed by strangers who think I don’t look disabled enough. This all plays a role in my emotional state. The longer I struggle with physical pain, the further I spiral emotionally.

I saw a meme once that summed up things perfectly. It was a picture of a cactus in the shape of a couch and it said “living with chronic pain is like trying to get comfortable on a cactus sofa.”

Think about that for a second.

I have learned to cope with a life of almost constant pain. I have done a lot of work on myself to not let the bad days get to me, but sometimes it’s still hard. Don’t get me wrong, I love myself and my life. My ichthyosis makes me unique and I honestly can’t imagine my life without it, but in my darkest moments, I cry to be “normal.”

My wish for 2021 is that people have more compassion for those in pain. Just because you cannot see their difficulties does not mean they aren’t hurting. You never know what someone is dealing with and a little kindness can go a long way in making someone feel better.

Originally published: January 20, 2021
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home