I think something I have come to terms with when it comes to chronic pain is this realization that the pain will not go away. That is this actual physical sensation of pain will not go away. It can be lessened to some extent with various different medications. It can be managed with various different methods. But it will be there.
I always knew this but there was a time a long time ago when I had believed the migraines at least would go back to this low monthly, quite manageable level. And that would have been quite nice. I don’t believe that any more simply because even with the best most effective preventative medication and the most effective response rate I would still be chronic… but quite a bit Less chronic than I am now. So there would still be quite a lot of migraine days. Not counting the fact the fibromyalgia is a never-ending story of its own.
So there will be pain.
But you make room for it. Because you must. And we all know this because we all know that we develop a certain baseline tolerance to pain. Like we say ‘this is my every day baseline pain’ and this is my ‘not functioning pain’ and this is my ‘tolerable pain’. We have this level of pain that becomes acceptable to us because we can manage it. We do manage it. We can and do have a life with it. And we have pain that we cannot manage and it interferes with our capacity to function in everyday life. Our main goal in pain management is to reduce suffering so that we have more manageable days and less unmanageable days, and less overall suffering. Even though we cannot eliminate the pain altogether. We can, hopefully, make room for other parts of life… and that is the Most important thing of all. Quality of life. When that suffers, well, we are suffering well beyond our capacity to cope. When we are coping then we have a better quality of life. As in we have a life in there.
It is by no means an easy feat. Especially when medication alone is rarely sufficient to manage pain. Understanding what more we need to accomplish is not always an easy road to travel when our doctors have little or no understanding of how to help us. It can sometimes take decades for us to even find any resources to get us on the road to pain management.
I have also discovered in my days of pain that there are times when I am coping very well and times when I am coping very poorly. For example, there was a time when all I had to battle was fibromyalgia and while it was a struggle initially I developed some strong coping methods along the way. For a bit there that was awesome. Then along came those pesky migraines and still I managed… until they became chronic… then I just pretended to manage because there was nothing else I could do at the time. Then I could not pretend. So now it is a struggle to find new methods to cope with new levels of pain and different types of pain. Accepting the fact that the pain exceeding my coping strategies and that I could not function at work like that was quite the blow to me, to be honest. Even if it was blatantly obvious. Not working and reducing the level of stress in the day has increased my ability to cope with the level of pain.
In the end, you just have to accept the pains existence in your life. You do not have accepted suffering though. I firmly believe we have the capacity to reduce that in many ways, although pain directly leads to it and managing suffering is a constant task of ours. We also have to make an effort to make room for other things in our life because it is the other things that compensate for the pain. Although it can be difficult to manage much, a little goes a long way in improving our moods.