READER REPORT:

Chronic pain is about being afraid

GUNNAR COTTLE
Last updated 06:30 29/07/2014
Chronic pain
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HIDDEN FEAR: Chronic pain means never knowing how well you'll be able to function.

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Living with an invisible illness

I need about 16 hours of sleep. Why? Chronic condition's destroying my wife No snake-oil quick fix can cure my pain I may look fine but my body feels broken 14-year-old's life 'spent on a leash' Fibromyalgia means unrelenting pain Bed-bound for nine years One slip of the knife changed my life 'No help' despite life of pain 'You wouldn't know my brain was misfiring'

I have a broken back, nerve-damaged knee, arthritis and to compound all that, obesity - a direct byproduct of the injuries and severe depression that came along with them. 

I wrote this when someone near to me said she couldn't understand what I went through on a daily basis, but wanted to. 

I hope this help others who suffer chronic pain explain it to their loved ones. This may not be how it is for everybody but it seems true for many, judging by the responses I've had.

What is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is going to bed afraid of how you'll feel in the morning. You might feel like you could take on an entire army but you know that the next day you could barely be able to move.

Chronic pain is being afraid that one moment you're quite happy, the next you're in such agonising pain that you lash out at your loved ones. You don't even know you've done it until you see the look of hurt in their eyes. It's crushing, especially when being hurtful was not your intent. Intent doesn't override reality.

Chronic pain is being afraid of making commitments. Sometimes I promise to do something, and then the day comes and I'm in too much pain. If this happens more than once with people, they tend to think of it as a cop-out. As in: "You can't trust anything he says. He'll use his pain as a cop-out."

Chronic pain is being afraid of recrimination from people who just don't understand.

"Oh come on, it's just pain. How bad can it really be? You're just lazy."

But I wouldn't wish this on any of you, not even on that person I once considered my enemy. Chronic pain taught me it takes too much energy to have enemies.

Chronic pain is about being afraid.

That's all it truly is. It's about being afraid. You try to carry on, you try to fight it, but in the end it's a huge hand that steadily increases its grip on you. It's a fight you can't control. You may win, or you may lose badly.

Next time someone tells you about chronic pain, try to be gentle with them.

When you're tempted to look down at people on disability "stealing your tax money", remember they didn't ask for this and the vast majority would happily trade places with you. Really, I don't want to be dependent, I'd rather be pain-free and working.

Some days just a roll of the eyes can be enough to send me into a week of despair and depression. I don't mean to be unreliable, I don't mean to "whine", I don't meant to be "lazy".

I simply live in a volatile state and have to go day by day.


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