Today, I was told that I was way too dramatic and to be honest it pissed me off. Chronic pain is like an over obsessive boyfriend that won’t go away. It sucks the life out of you and even when you ask for it to stop it still keeps throwing jabs your way. In my opinion, I have every right to feel the way I feel about my pain and if anyone doesn’t like it, then you know what you can do. To all the individuals suffering from chronic pain/illnesses please have someone that doesn’t understand your pain read this article in its entirety.
What exactly is the difference between chronic pain and just pain?
Everyone experiences pain in their life whether it’s physical or mental. Acute pain happens when the pain is sudden but goes away typically before 3 months. Chronic pain on the other hand is different. This type of pain is consistent and typically lasts for months and even years long. Acute pain can persist and turn in to chronic pain due to an underlying condition that may have erupted during the acute stage causing lifelong lingering pain.
So now that you have an understanding of what the difference is between acute and chronic pain, here is a few things that you as a peer, coworker, or family member need to understand.
- One individual’s pain is not always going to be the same as another’s.
Just because your sister suffered from pain in her right shoulder and had surgery and the pain subsided does not mean the same results are going to happen for that coworker that sits next to you at work.
- Just because they’re young does not mean they aren’t in pain.
Never be so judgmental to assume that just because they are young and in shape that they are exaggerating their pain. Many chronic illnesses can began as early as childhood and be lifelong and even life threatening. Read I Do Not Have the Same Arthritis as your Grandma
- Don’t be cruel.
That coworker you see struggling every day should not have to result to any type of workplace bullying because of their condition. Also, chronic pain is invisible meaning that one day your coworker or friend may be fine one day and then the next day they could be experiencing excruciating pain. Spreading rumors assuming that someone is faking their illness because they look “fine” is another accusation that people assume without knowing the actual truth.
- Watch your tone….and your words.
Please be very gentle with what you say and how you say it to people living with chronic pain because you can easily come off insensitive and heartless. Just like I mentioned in the beginning, I was told that I was being too dramatic about my pain. It could be because I talk about it a lot because I get the sensation that people that say they love and care about me don’t believe me. I find myself explaining too much. The best thing you can do is just listen to us.
- Your Facial expressions say what’s written all over your face.
Ever get to talking about your pain to someone and you see an eye roll inserted in the middle of your conversation? I have literally been involved in group conversations about people that have lost a loved one, or people suffering from financial loss, and then the minute I explain my chronic pain to someone I get eye rolls as if my pain is less important.
- Don’t offer to help then get upset when we ask for it
To many times I have been told to ask for help, but when it’s time to actually get the help I have to deal with attitudes and different personalities. If your wife or husband is seeking help from you and all you have to give is a crappy attitude then the best thing you need to do is simply not say what you can do for me anymore. I’d rather stay clear of a bad attitude than to seek help that is unwanted.
- Consistent pain is depressing and so are you
Physical torment that’s lasts for months or years can become depressing. Family members that don’t understand or care can become more depressing as well. It’s already bad enough that we have to live every day like this, don’t be the one to add more misery and discomfort to our already painful life.
Wrap it up
Family, friends, coworkers, and bosses of chronic pain sufferers need to understand that pain that lasts longer than 3 months is unpleasant. If you have been the family member or peer that has had critical points of views about someone else’s pain and now have a complete understanding, then it’s never too late to express gratitude and show that someone that you care.