Yet, chronic pain and chronic illnesses are often invisible. In many cases there are no casts, visible rashes or runny nose involved. Chronic pain sufferers often appear “normal,” perhaps only a bit more fragile or sad than average. I suffered from chronic headaches for four-and-a-half years and from chronic hip pain for two-and-a-half years.
Often I looked depressed, uninterested and angry, when I was simply in pain. There were many days I couldn’t get out of bed. Following a conversation became difficult at times.
I lost a job due to my pain. I canceled plans and ignored friends. I felt misunderstood and alone. I was suffering. I know the answer was out there and eventually I healed myself.
Yet at the time I wanted to scream from the top of my lungs all the things all chronic pain sufferers want you to know:
1. Just because you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean I am not in pain.
2. It’s not all in my head.
3. It is not just the flu. It won’t just go away in a week.
4. Please, don’t ever say, “Just don’t think about it.” Being in constant pain this is impossible.
5. Hugs can do magic. So are nice messages. I need to know you are here for me.
6. Thank you for sharing the “magical cure” that you’ve read about online. Trust me, I’ve heard about it, and if it was any relevant, I have tried it.
7. I am trying extremely hard to live a normal life.
8. I try my darn best not to cancel plans and I would never cancel plans, if I had a choice.
9. I can’t just snap out of it.
10. Some days are better, some days are worse. Some days I may even feel close to normal, other days I can’t even get out of bed.
11. I do care about you. I want to know about your life and dreams. I want you to be happy and healthy.
12. My chronic pain is different from the other people’s chronic pain. All illnesses and pain symptoms are unique. Our experiences may differ, but we are all in pain and can relate to one another.
13. Please, don’t try to convince me to have drink and to “live a little.” All I want is to live a little—actually, to live a lot. A drink, however, is the last thing on my mind.
14. If I look all depressed or bored, it means I am actually in tremendous pain and trying my best to appear to be happy and normal.
15. I can’t really explain how chronic pain feels. Yet, I can’t say, “You will know once you have it” because I would never ever want anyone to feel so much suffering.
16. I need a lot of sleep. But sleeping can be difficult with so much pain and often still leaves me exhausted.
17. Just because I have chronic pain it doesn’t mean that I know how to manage it or to live with it.
18. Sometimes it feels like I am in a prison, living someone else’s life.
19. I still have interests, passions, goals and dreams.
20. I don’t want you to forget about me. I don’t want you to give up on me.
21. I haven’t given up on healing yet. Deep inside I know there is (or will be) an answer out there.