Waking in the middle of the night is nothing new; my life has been lived for years with pain causing me to jolt from slumber never quite realising that this is only 60 minutes or so since I last closed my eyes. This morning I broke my rule of trying to avoid the computer as a source of time-wasting to find that exhaustion point again when I could ‘comfortably’ find the energy to fall asleep again. I am so glad I did, for checking emails and reading the attached files (something I confess I often skip and head straight to deleting them) led me to this one by Caz from Invisibly me, a site written about the experiences of a fellow sufferer of chronic pain.
This is a personal blog of Caz’s experiences and not to be mistaken for professional medical advice; the fact that this well written site speaks directly to how I often feel about my own chronic pain issues is the reason for sharing with you all today. My own pain journey often makes me question whether it is all in my head, if I am really just a big sook who is looking for sympathy. The answer to this is a resounding NO but still the stigma from a society that only understands what they can see / touch / taste is far-reaching and difficult to overcome it’s conditioning.
As I sit here, pain meds on board & topped up, hot water bottle comfortably getting cooler against my tailbone and lower back, knees throbbing, the pulse in my head becoming more of a boom than a dull roar, hands becoming increasingly stiffer the more I type, that I KNOW I am not extracting sympathy for the situation, for I am quietly and solely occupying my world; careful not to wake my brother, who sleeps almost a poorly as I do, who has the privilege to go back to work in a few days, and who I sincerely apologise if my continuous nocturnal movements does disturb on his rostered time at home. Careful not to wake the child of my neighbour who’s bedroom is on the other side of the wall behind me. Quietly pondering the justifications for my medicating, wondering if the stigma is why I do or don’t take more / enough to remove the pain, but knowing I won’t be able to function anymore if I do.
The stigma of taking the pain killers already makes me question my decisions, for without them I feel like sobbing all the time from the way my very bones aches and throb, but when I talk about the meds I am faced with the judgement of why I need such strong pharmaceuticals to get through the day. I was fortunate yesterday to be able to forget my own pain for a while while I exercised and spoke with a young friend doing it tougher than I. Her own pain journey has led her to dark places, too dark for someone so young, but I know that by being there for her to tell her story, free of the judgement that comes from even the closest of her circle, I was helping her to experience what I do when I speak with her or others in the same boat: for a brief time I am / she was heard. Understood. Empathetically exonerated because someone who knew a similar paradigm had the open mindedness to listen adn support.
And that was why I shared Caz’s article. Please – if you’ve read my ramblings, go read those too, for they are filled with more than just opinion. Invisibly me takes the time to do the research too (for me at stupid o’clock and intuitively typing what comes into my head, that is a step too far), add to that the disclaimer, as I stated above, that they are not offering medical advice but encourage people to seek the scientifically justified truth for themselves. And please remember, there are many many people you come into contact with daily who are silently enduring situations that none of us can quite understand, but we all need to drop the judgement and just be there for our fellow man; perhaps your listening ear will help more than the hand offered. Perhaps by not saying a word and simply being present, you may save a life; now, who agrees that that is worth the time?
DISCLAIMER: Always, ALWAYS discuss your pain management options with a trained and qualified medical practitioner, do not take any of the information I provide as medical treatment advice.
…and treat yourself kindly.