Pain awareness month is an important time of the year for advocates, we can take the opportunity to raise awareness for the fact that chronic pain is not like acute pain. There are so many different definitions, and statistics and ways to explain what pain is like, but living with chronic pain is so different.
I often talk here on the blog about my own experiences with chronic pain, this is because it is important to me that people understand how pain is to live with. Many of us, including me who was a nurse when I got sick, assume that medications can take pain away completely. However, no matter what medications I take, I am never pain free and I am sure that many of you who also live with pain are in the same situation.
I was also surprised with the range of different ways that I experience pain, from tingling, electrical buzzing, tightness, pressure, itching and even numbness all experienced alongside the normal feelings we associate with pain. It often feels as if my body is having a field day trying to make me experience all of these things at the same time! It can be overwhelming and can often make it hard to think.
However, like most people who experience chronic pain, if you were to see me or talk to me it would be incredibly difficult to tell I was in pain. I very quickly after getting sick, realised that there was no point in saying I was in pain, as that would be me all the time. In fact, usually I try to push through without taking extra meds because they can upset my stomach and I already have gastric issues. I have also been told there is nowhere for me to go apart from opiates like morphine and I just do not want to go there.
The feeling that you have to experience this, and there is nowhere for you to go is very isolating and if it weren’t for my fellow advocates during pain awareness month, I would honestly feel so alone. That is why I want to participate in trying to raise awareness this September, so that nobody else feels alone. I know that so many people who experience chronic pain feel unable to carry on, especially after people’s medications were taken away because of the opioid crisis.
I sometimes wish I had never started using medications to treat my pain, I have wondered if going a more holistic route would have been better. I remember back to when I first got sick, tablets were offered to me so easily, nobody looked into the reason why I was experiencing pain before either.
It is important to research medications before taking them, but I think all too often we can be made to feel guilty because we do take meds. Especially, as a spiritual person I do feel pressure not to take doctor prescribed medication and to instead try alternative therapies.
The problem with this is that these therapies are expensive and have to be repeated over and over again, meaning that the little money we get in benefits wouldn’t cover it. So if I had never started to take these medications, then I would be in an extreme amount of pain and have no real help.
Living with constant pain is more tiring than people realise as well, pair that with my chronic fatigue and I often find myself feeling overwhelmed with exhaustion. I struggle to wake earlier than 8:30am and I am usually back in bed before 7:30pm because of both tiredness and pain.
Being tired makes it harder to pretend I feel ok, and my husband often looks over at me to see me looking tired and sore and he will offer to help me to bed. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful man who cares for me while I struggle to manage to get just a few small things done every day.
Life in pain is very different to how you probably imagine, but I hope by speaking about it here on the blog and on my YouTube channel it helps people feel less alone. Pain awareness month is so important to me I love hearing from others as they speak about their experiences as well. I hope your day is a little less painful today.