Life with Chronic Pain

Maybe you are a stay at home mother, construction worker, lawyer, student, etc. It really doesn’t matter. Let’s say you’re a doctor. You have a family, a mortgage, expenses related to your practice, kids in private school and the normal living expenses everyone has.

One day you go to work and you’re in an exam room with a patient going about your life as usual, when out of nowhere a bee stings you on the calf. You didn’t see it coming. Would you be able to continue talking with the patient like nothing happened? No, you would naturally stop, look at your calf and realize it was a bee sting. You know it’s not going to hurt long.

Now, imagine if the bee kept stinging you and it never stopped. You could go on with your life for a while. You have to, right?

Weeks, months, and years go by. You’ve been to so many doctors and not one has been able to help you. No one can stop this bee from stinging you.

One day you realize the only way you will ever top feeling this pain is when you die. You can’t work, you can’t sleep, you’re sick from the pain, there are no answers, and now you’re desperate. Some doctors believe you and some don’t.

Your family, finances, friends and of course yourself all suffer. Chronic pain drains every aspect of a person- physically, emotionally, socially and financially.

Also, people get PTSD from chronic pain. They are trapped in their physical body of pain. They were going about their lives as usual and one day they got a forever headache, A pain injury from a car accident, skiing accident, maybe they have fibromyalgia, because they overworked their muscles at their job and so on.

Pain is traumatic to the suffererer, just like rape is traumatic to a rape victim. Just like war vets have PTSD, so do chronic pain patients. Pain patients suffer more than people realize, especially doctors. When their pain gets out of control, there is no where they can go. The drug addict and the alcoholic can go to a rehab, and the mentally ill have the psychiatric institutions, but the painfully ill have nowhere to go.

Pain patients often wind up in mental institutions where they don’t belong. You wouldn’t send an alcoholic to the local bar for help, right? You would take him out of his environment, surround him with people who are similarly suffering and provide specialized treatment for their disease.

So why don’t chronic pain patients have a place like that? Why do they wind up surrounded by the mentall ill? Because there is nowhere for them to go. They are misunderstood, misdiagnosed, lost and alone. Many consider and commit suicide. Why? Because death is freedom from their prison of chronic pain.

2 thoughts on “Life with Chronic Pain”

  1. I’ve been living with chronic pain day in and day out. Can’t sleep at night most of the time. It’s even caused problems in my relationships with my loved ones. Though I’ve previously had back surgery, my back, leg, and knees have gotten worse due to car accident. In addition, because of the scare and paranoia because of many people over dosing doctors have not been PRESCRIBING helpful medications. So, I’ve contemplated suicide many times. It’s unbearable!!

  2. Lindy, I know exactly how you feel. There is a lot of loss with chronic pain and those who aren’t experiencing it themselves can’t relate. I suffer from a rare facial pain condition called spheno-palatine neuralgia. This started in 2003 and it took seven and a half years to be diagnosed. There were times I felt I would go insane from the pain. I was put on a daily antibiotic which helped a lot but I still had significant pain. I had surgery two years ago which brought me much more relief. I would call my neurologist in tears, with much desperation. She told me to never give up hope because you never know what new medications or other treatments will be available in the future. I am so glad I didn’t end my life. I am very happy now. Please hang in there, you are worth fighting for. Thank you for commenting on my paper.

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