Today is my son’s preschool graduation. I should have woken up and been able to join in the excitement with him. Instead I wake up with that feeling of dread, anxiety and disappointment. Not because of the graduation, not because of my son… but because yet again I won’t be present for another important event.
I’m going to go… I’m going to be physically present but my mind won’t be. You see I am one of the millions of people who suffer a silent torment. A kind of pain that no one even knows about because it’s disguised so well. I look healthy… I seem normal. But a huge part of my live has been controlled and destroyed by chronic pain.
I added it up…. I have missed approximately 1560 days of my life.
which equals 52 Months
which equals 4 years.
I’m 34 years old and I have missed nearly 4 years of my life… To WHAT?
I know you are wondering….
What is Chronic Pain?
My definition of Chronic Pain is physical pain that occurs so frequently that it disrupts your daily life and ability to function on a frequent basis. Here is an amazingly long list of different conditions that fall under the term chronic pain.
Chronic Pain the Serial Killer of Life
Since I was 8 years old I have experienced debilitating migraines. These types of headaches often occur in clusters and can last up to five days and can sometimes re-occur. When I have a migraine episode my life stops. I go from a fully functioning happy person to a person that can hardly speak, walk or function.
I am rendered useless.
I can’t explain how much pain these headaches cause other than to say I tolerate A LOT of pain but these migraines will bring me to my knees begging for mercy. There are many days that I would just rather die then live another second with that level of pain.
Besides the unbearable pain, I often feel extreme amounts of guilt. Because as the migraine progresses my attitude declines. I am NOT a person you want to be around. My kids have suffered, My Husband has suffered, My employers have suffered… EVERYONE around me that relies on me for something is at the MERCY of this ailment.
The headaches can be so bad that there have been days where my older son had to take care of the younger one. There have been days where my child sat in bed with me on the Ipad all day. Simply because I wanted to make sure he was safe as I faded in and out of sleep. There have been moments that I have been utterly convinced that I have a brain tumor. But alas … I don’t … I won’t die from this silent pain. I will just suffer at it’s mercy over and over and over again.
See chronic pain is a strange thing. It’s a silent manipulator. We know how we feel but others who have not experienced it can only imagine. They often try to empathize with you but often can’t because this level of pain is such an unknown. But it’s not only the pain that we suffer from it’s the guilt. The combination of pain and guilt is often times unbearable.
There is a tremendous amount of guilt a person with chronic pain feels. Not only are you having to suffer through pain but you have to deal with the guilt of not being there. Not being there for ANYONE. People sometimes may think you are exaggerating or just trying to be uninvolved and that’s the furthest from the truth. All you want is a normal pain free life. All you want is to not let people down or miss out on life around you. Sadly if you have never experienced this type of pain it’s really hard to grasp the concept.
Guilt is a huge component of living with chronic pain but what about other things that develop out of the fear and guilt. Yes, you can definitely develop other issues derived from the chronic pain like depression, anxiety, insomnia and more. For me I developed extreme anxiety. I think that the anxiety is actually being caused by things that I know can trigger a migraine. So for instance I really get stressed and anxious going in to a mall or big open warehouse type store. For a long time I just thought I was having panic attacks for no reason but I honestly think I get stressed over places that can cause a migraine. For instance in warehouse type stores like Sam’s Club their are tons of florescent lights. At the mall their are lots of perfume smells. Both perfume and florescent lights can trigger a migraine. When I think about it now I think a lot of my issues with anxiety were coming from the fear of triggering a migraine.
Treatment Is sometimes Worse than the Ailment
Sometimes the treatment or the coping mechanisms individuals use for pain modification can be worse than the actually condition themselves. Using the prescription Lexapro treated some symptoms but actually made many things a lot worse. I was so tired all of the time I could hardly function. The withdrawal was absolutely horrible… read more my withdrawal from Lexapro here.
I have found one treatment that works but the after affects are brutal. The medication I take subdues the pain to a tolerable level however the next day it is like living with SATAN. I get angry, I’m shaky, everything makes me mad. I ruin everyone’s mood that is around me. You would think I’m taking some crazy narcotic or something right? WRONG it’s just Tylenol Pm… that’s it.. it’s the only thing that has ever worked.
There is a new treatment out there well it’s not new but it’s more mainstream than it use to be. BOTOX. I can actually go get Botox injected in the base of my cranimum and temples oh wait look at the picture below I guess I can get it all over. I’ll have the youngest looking scalp and temples on the planet.
Is it just me or does injecting a paralyzing bacterial agent in the base of my skull seem just a little terrifying. Would the treatment of the migraine be worse than living a life in pain. I’m not sure. What if something went wrong and I because paralyzed. These are all things people think of living with chronic pain. We are always think “what could be worse?” It’s actually kind of scary to think about what “we” would be willing to risk in order to live in less pain. Not even pain FREE but less pain.
What to do if you have chronic pain?
What do you do if you have chronic pain? Each case and illness is different so I can’t give you any treatment suggestions. I can however offer you this. I can offer you support and understanding. Something that people without chronic pain can’t. I believe that having a like minded support system is essential. I was BLOWN away when our Facebook fans became so support of each other when I asked who lives in pain? Read all the entries here on our Facebook . See the love and support. It made me feel so good knowing that there were other people in the world that actually understood my battle. Let’s fight this war together please tell us your story in the comments section below. Let’s help each other through support, love and kindness.
I also use these tips on how to keep calm here 25 keys to calm. Getting in to these habits can help me focus on what’s important especially on my pain free days.