The Reality Of Living With Chronic Pain

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I don’t want your pity-
I need your understanding

Let’s just say you are the lifeline partner that I want a divorce from.

There are some realities that we simply know and accept. These can be the truths that we base our lives on. For example, the sun will rise and set at the end of each day. One of my realities as a Person With Disabilities is that I live with chronic pain. I wish it were as simple as a pesky headache that won’t go away, or an uncomfortable twinge that you can’t work out and no, I’m not using this platform to complain or garner your sympathy. I am writing this article because these are the words that I need my loved ones to know, but cannot easily express.

My family has instilled in me that I can do anything. Ha ha, okay, I can do anything but walk in a straight line. This is the mentality that I have taken with me everyday of the last twenty-five years of life. I may do things differently. I adapt and I will not always do them in the same time as everyone else, but my disabilities have never and will never stop me. That being said, the chronic pain that I live with, well that can be another matter entirely. It isn’t very often that I am going to admit outright that I am uncomfortable, much less in pain. Why? It isn’t because I am ashamed. I absolutely am not. However, I know that the people that love me, though they would if they could, cannot do anything to change this reality and that has to be a difficult realization.

Most times, if you don’t truly know me, you’re not going to realize the internal war that I am fighting everyday. Most people do not know that the most difficult part of my day occurs first thing in the morning. From the minute that I stir, ready to greet the day, I have to make the most difficult decision: I have to get out of bed and tackle the world, despite the knowledge that when I’m not sleeping, something hurts. Will it be knees? The very ones that begin dislocating when I was sixteen years old? Will it be my lower back, which after years of competitive horse back riding and the unnatural movement of my body, has had more than its fair share of abuse. Perhaps my Achilles tendon, which has been lengthened surgically three times, if I remember correctly.

As I’ve gotten older, this reality was one that I’ve accepted. Which, ironically, as soon as I did granted a peace that I hadn’t before. My family is use to this reality, some of my friends, particularly newly made friends in university, are not. I know that it can be as difficult for you as it is for me: so let me make it easier for you and communicate.

I know that some of you are beginning to see past the mask that I plaster on to protect myself. I appreciate that it may make you uncomfortable, because you don’t know what to do. If you’re with me in my room, please, just talk to me. About anything, take my mind off of it. If you’re sitting beside me in class when my legs begin to spasm uncontrollably, please as hard as it is, ignore it. In these moments I become stressed and embarrassed and the more you call attention to it, the worse it gets. If I come to you, in my weaker moments, with tears lightly streaming down my face, just welcome me in and tell me that it’s going to be okay.

I can handle physical pain, I have for many, many years. However, what I cannot bare is the toll that it may take on my loved ones and the thought that I may lose my friends, because it is too much to bare.

If you’re scared, talk to me, If you have questions, please ask. While this is a part of me, it isn’t all of me. Beneath the spasms, the uneven gait, the monsters you cannot see, I’m no different from you. I’m learning who I am. I make mistakes that I hope I will grow from.

I want to be loved and accepted and most of all, I want to be happy.

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