Posts Tagged ‘Chronic pain’

When you think of pain, what do you think of?

Do you think when someone is in pain it is always visible to others?invisible pain

Don’t be fooled by a common misconception that someone’s pain is always visible. In fact I would like to point out that there are many people who go through each and every day in severe pain, but because they don’t show it on their face or don’t vocalise their pain to others, it is invisible to everyone but the sufferer.

Not all scars show.
Not all wounds heal.
Sometimes, you can’t always see the pain someone feels.

 

Therefore, do not judge others or assume you know how they are feeling, just because “they look ok” – looks can often be deceptive!

The last couple of days I’ve give you some examples of situations where the physical pain being experienced by someone, can be easily overlooked or ignored by others. Today however I want to remind you that although I’ve focused on physical pain for the last couple of days, it’s not just physical pain that people overlook.

Physical pain can be debilitating and draining but emotional pain can cause just as much pain and fatigue. Unfortunately though, emotional pain is often dismissed something the sufferer can just turn off when they get in the way. However those sentiments couldn’t be further from reality!

Having struggled both physically and emotionally on a number of levels for some time, I can honestly say that I’m not entirely sure which is worse, physical or emotional pain. In some ways physical pain is actually easier to cope with because normally there is at least a reason for the pain and pain killers can often help ease the pain to some extent. However when you’re suffering emotionally, there is no quick fix, as there no “emotional pain-killer” that can just turn off your feelings and suddenly make the world seem brighter and more appealing again.

So please remember that just because you can’t see anything physically wrong with someone, doesn’t mean they are necessarily well physically or emotionally. So don’t judge others, particularly when you’re simply doing it based on what you can see.

Over the next few days I want to talk about pain, and in doing so share a few examples of people dealing/coping with pain.

A few days ago someone said to me:

She’s 10 years older than me, but she’s not got any problems as she’s able to walk ok, unlike me.

I was annoyed, though I made no comment as I didn’t want to upset or anger the person who said it to me. It’s all back to that “invisible pain” things again isn’t it! After all the person who said this had no idea whether the person they were talking about had any serious or significant illnesses, but simply judges their state of health based on what they could see…and it’s only ever going to be physical ailments that are visible!

I must be honest and say, as one who suffers from severe pain on an almost daily basis, I find it annoying and frustrating how many people assume you are well and healthy just because they can see no obvious physical impairment. If only all physical pain was that easily identified!

I personally don’t like a lot of fuss, and certainly don’t like being the centre of attention, so for me trying on a daily basis not to let other see my physical pain is an almost full-time task.

Today, I just want to remind you again, that just because someone seems well and healthy to look at, doesn’t mean they are, so don’t make rash comments or judgements about others based only on what you can see.

I was chatting with a friend recently about how when you look back at some situations/circumstances you’ve been through in life, you now wonder, “How on earth did I get through that?“.

We all have times in our lives which challenge us to our limit, and which we find incredibly difficult to cope with at the time, but somehow or other, we do!

For some, these kind of situations arise when they have to deal with the death of a close family member or friend, or when they or a loved one suffers a serious illness.

I’ve had a couple of times in my life, that now I look back on them, I wonder how on earth I got through them. The most recent of these events I’ve talked about a few times in my blog, and that was when I became very ill a few years ago. The other occasion was a number of years ago, in fact 2 months after I got engaged, when my dad took seriously ill. To cut a long story short, hubby and I got engaged in the December and were due to get married the following August, but in the February my Dad took seriously ill. For a while it was touch and go whether he would survive and even if he did, whether he would be able to walk me down the aisle…

I was always a Daddy’s girl when I was growing up, and always into football, tennis and music, just as my Dad was. I think it was this that made it harder for me to comprehend what it would be possibly get married and my Dad not being there…those where very very difficult weeks and months.

As you’ll have gathered if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, my Dad did survive, and he was able to walk me down the aisle when I got married. Yes, Dad was quite slow at the walking and his Father’s speak was very short but I was just so happy he was able to share my wedding day with me after the uncertainty of whether he’d survive.

Looking back at those times when Dad was seriously ill and also more recently when I was very ill for a number of years, I have no idea how I got through those times. When I was ill I was in severe pain constantly yet I managed to keep working, although I do remember I spent a lot of time in the ladies toilets trying to keep myself in one piece and cope with my pain. As I consider my pain levels these days and how difficult I find things now, I find it incredible that I was able to carry on working during that time,as my pain levels now are a fraction of what they used to be and I know how difficult I find life now!

So how did I manage to get through those times?

During those times, particularly my own illness, I didn’t feel at the time that I was “getting through it”, and I certainly felt as if I was totally alone. However in hindsight, I now realise that at no time during either of those occasions or indeed any other time in my life, have I ever been on my own, because God as been firmly by my side, holding my hand and guiding my though those difficult times.

In fact these last few months when things have once again been very difficult due to hubby’s health problems, Dad’s dementia, supporting Mum and my own on-going health issues, I have kept reminding myself that God is with me during all of this, and He is there supporting me, even though at times it may not seem as if he is.

So how did I manage to get through my difficult times? I got through them with God’s help.

So no matter what you’re facing in life, do not think you’re ever on your own, because through it all, God will be with you.

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.