As many of you know, I’ve had to cope with severe pain on a regular basis for a few years now. It doesn’t get any easier to cope with however it has got easier to “hide” it from others.

What do I mean by this? Well, if there’s one thing that I hate, that’s folk fussing over me. Therefore whenever I’m in public, and am in pain, I try my best not to let others know just how much pain I’m in. This has its plus side as it means I don’t end up with folk fussing over me, however there is obviously a down side to this too – Because others don’t know I’m in pain, they expect me just to get on with things in my usual way without any fuss or problem.

This was brought home to me again last week at work – A couple of weeks ago there were a number of us on a training course, which included an exam on the final day. On that day, one of the other people on the course was in obvious pain due to a sore neck, so folk were sympathising with them not only having to be at work, but also having to sit an exam when in so much pain. Then after getting our exam results (which we all passed!) last week, I was with some others who were commenting on how well they felt the person who was in a lot of pain during our exam, had done to pass the exam because of the pain they were in that day. Some of the comments made included, “it must have been so tough for them that day”.

Yes, it must have been very tough for them that day. However consider this, was everyone else feeling fine and in no pain on the day of the exam? There is only one person that day we can all comment on truthfully, and that is ourselves! Before I go any further I want to say that I am not, or have I ever been, looking for sympathy (particularly as I don’t like people fussing over me), but my pain was particularly bad on several days of that course, including the exam day. All I’m trying to say (probably very badly), is just because someone doen’t look in pain, doesn’t mean they are pain-free.

Why am I saying this? Well I just want to remind you all that just because someone looks ok and doesn’t look in physical pain, doesn’t mean they are pain-free.

Sometimes people think they know us, know what we’re thinking, or what’s going on in our personal life, but the honest truth is that unless we have actually told them these things ourselves, they really don’t know.

We can’t tell by looking at someone what’s on their mind, or going on in their personal life, so why do we think we know how someone is feeling, just by looking at them?

So please don’t just and comment on others situations because of what you see, because what you see may just be what that person want you to see. i.e. A front they put on so no-one sees the pain they are having to cope with on a daily basis.

Comments
  1. With all due respect (and, yes, I know this is culturally and gender determined to some degree) — speak up!! I finally had my left hip replaced Feb. 6 after enduring two years of chronic, 24/7 pain. Every step hurt. Every single activity was tiring and painful and drained me of energy. I had to nap a lot. I was often bitchy and withdrawn — and by the end was limping so badly it was obvious something was indeed very wrong with me.

    I am now more compassionate because so many people ARE in chronic pain and it is invisible. But suffering in silence isn’t always the best choice either.

    • Dot says:

      I understand what you’re saying about speaking up. However it really does depend on the kind of pain being suffered and the circumstances surrounding it. E.g. Consider this, person has 2 major ops and countless subsequent tests but no cause of ongoing pain been found. Not nice, particularly having been thru same situation prior to first diagnosis of serious condition after suffering chronic pain for 2.5 years with no diagnosis.

      Those that need to know how I’m feeling do, but I’m not gonna share it with everyone as theres no need to, it’s personal.

  2. […] Pain Isn’t Always Visible (thedistinctdot.com) […]

  3. […] Pain Isn’t Always Visible (thedistinctdot.com) […]

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