If you have chronic pain, you know it SUCKS, but I had to remember I was more than my struggle.
In the 7th grade, I was diagnosed with Scoliosis, which meant my spine was crooked instead of straight. On top of my crooked spine, I developed back pain that got increasingly worse over the years, especially during high school.
No matter how uncomfortable I was there always seemed to be an excuse for my discomfort like, “It’s probably just my backpack,” or “You’re bending over all day at work.”
It wasn’t until I was almost 19 that I was finally diagnosed with a pain disorder called Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome.
Over time, the physical pain became mental as well. I was losing touch with myself and who I was beyond the pain, it was hard to feel like life could be anything more.
Pain made me feel disconnected from my friends, and more importantly, myself.
My pain made me feel so separated from my friends. They tried to understand me, but there’s only so much empathy can do. Unless you deal with chronic pain, it’s hard for people to imagine what I experience on a day to day basis.
I didn’t feel normal, and I felt like a burden
Telling my friends I couldn’t hang out, or that I needed to go home early, took a large toll on my mental health. I was so afraid the people I loved wouldn’t understand that my pain affected every aspect of my life.
Driving long distances hurt more than I enjoyed them, and regardless of how much I wanted to go dancing all night, I knew the pain and tears that followed the next day were not worth a few hours of fun. Even sitting in class became difficult!
Thankfully I had my bestie, the heating pad.
Still, I felt bad about myself.
I couldn’t do the same things as everyone else and that fucking bothered me.
All I wanted was to keep up with my friends and I felt like my pain was holding me back.
I was embarrassed about my treatment.
I’ll never forget the first time I ever wore my tens unit in front of my friends. If you don’t know what that is, essentially it’s a device that sends electro waves to my brain to trick it into thinking there’s no pain.
When I wore it for the first time my friends began teasing me for it.
They pointed out the wires hanging from my back, and even though the device significantly lowered my pain levels, I couldn’t bring myself to wear it out of the house.
I was too conscious of what people would think.
I wasn’t just the girl with back pain, I was also the girl who looked like a robot.
I was getting treated for the agony I was dealing with and all I could think about was the opinions of others.
Over time I realized calming my pain was more important than the opinion of others. That epiphany came with its own set of agencies.
And gaining agency meant taking control of my life, and that meant some hard decisions.
My pain made it quick AF to see who my true friends were. The people close to me didn’t just care about my mental health they cared about my pain on a daily basis.
Some of my friends truly did not give a single shit.
No matter how much I expressed the pain I was in, they were insensitive and always placed their needs before my own. It was always, “I slept the wrong way last night. Will you take care of me?” or making me sleep on the floor when I was already in severe pain.
There was no balance.
I began to weed out the fake friends and make more room for healthier ones, as well as really relying on my support system.
I explained my limits, they asked questions and listened, and from that point on we became a team.
I no longer had to battle my pain alone. Instead, I had a group of people behind me, supporting me in a way my spine doesn’t.
I had to remind myself that I’m human and expressing my pain is okay.
I had to learn to stop seeking validation from people and find joy in the things I could do, rather than angsting over the things I couldn’t.
Throughout my pain management journey, I constantly have to remind myself that it’s OKAY TO FEEL THE WAY I DO!
I am human! Even if my pain doesn’t always let me feel like it.
If you experience chronic pain, remember that you and your body have boundaries.
You do not owe anyone any explanations as to why you can’t do something everyone else can. You are HUMAN, and your mental and physical health is more important than anyone's bull shit opinions.
Wear your tens unit, use that icy hot, take your meds, and do what you can to help you!
~Trust the good vibes and spread all the love