We are not alone. So many people suffer with chronic pain. The numbers are staggering. Billions. We are a pretty silent billion though.
I often feel we are a silent minority. That no one wants to hear about our plight.
“One of the hardest things about being chronically ill is that most people find what you’re going through incomprehensible—if they believe you are going through it. In your loneliness, your preoccupation with an enduring new reality, you want to be understood in a way that you can’t be. “Pain is always new to the sufferer, but loses its originality for those around him,” the nineteenth-century French writer Alphonse Daudet observes in his account of living with syphilis, “In the Land of Pain.” “Everyone will get used to it except me.”
— -New Yorker, “What’s Wrong With Me?”
In the land of pain everyone will get used to it but me. It will always be fresh for me. Old news to everyone else. They tire of it. Other people do not want to hear about it. They want your functionality. They want you to pretend to be normal. To strive to be so, even when you have limitations they don’t seem to comprehend. They want you to push through the pain because isn’t it ‘always going to be there?’ They want you to deal with it. Suck it up, buttercup. And hide it. Smile. Be a good, functioning employee. A functioning member of society. Don’t complain about it.
The sense of isolation creeps up on you. Always striving to maintain and never quite succeeding. Always trying to cope with the pain. Think through it. Presenting a facade that is acceptable in public. It is exhausting. You wish people comprehended in the least little bit how difficult it was to get up, to move, to pretend to function to present that facade and get through a day. Just one day. To live a day at a time because that is all you can get through. Just day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. If they only knew the sacrifices. The careers you had to give up. The ambition you can’t have. Because the pain simply will not permit it. Your very life lived in limitations, moderation, and pacing. As best you can, because working saps so much pain tolerance and energy from you.
But in the land of pain… life is different. The rules are different. Life is different. In the real world, people do not see it.
And they want our silence. As the medical community obsessing about addiction such that they do not even seem to care about the quality of life of chronic pain patients… they don’t care to hear from those chronic pain patients. They are suddenly ‘difficult’ and ‘drug seekers’ and notes are put in their file. For speaking. For saying “I am suffering more than usual and I can’t handle it. It is exceeding my capacity to cope with.” Clearly… that should be ignored. Clearly, it would be So Much Easier if we would just suffer silently. Under-medicated. With no quality of life. The pain exceeding our capacity to cope with it.
I have a pretty good medical team myself and opiates are not a viable option with chronic migraines. I have a slow release tramadol that isn’t causing rebounds, but any other would. It doesn’t work for chronic migraines, but mildly for FM. I have little that can be done for my migraines. So I suffer. When it comes to the regulations I speak more so for those in the States and in BC Canada who seriously are in need of opiate treatment and have been taken off completely due to this or dropped as patients because their doctor doesn’t want to ‘deal with a pain patient’ or had their dosage severely reduced. And they have no rights. No voice. They are not addicts. These laws were not designed for them. They are just being punished for them.
Nevertheless isn’t that what society wants? For us to not complain? Do they realize what no quality of life means? It tends to mean no work for one thing. No being productive. No capacity to do anything. To means an existence of survival mode. Just getting through the pain and nothing else. Dooming someone to that is cruel. It is ironic. There are far more chronic pain patients than there are addicts. Addicts will get their drug of choice whether these regulations exist or not and everyone knows it. So all the ones that will suffer are those that suffer quite enough already.