Thursday, April 21, 2016

From Our Eyes: A Perspective On Living With Chronic Illness


The never ending and relentless monster that is always hovering over your shoulder. It masquerades in a million different forms. Burning, stabbing, dull, achy, sharp, throbbing, and so much more. But all of those are just words to describe something deeper. Chronic pain strips us of our identities, and who we are. It takes away our jobs, our friends, our physical abilities, essentially, our entire lives.

Can you imagine just waking up one morning, and suddenly being in excruciating pain all of a sudden? If you’ve never experienced chronic pain, than it may be hard to imagine. It isn’t the kind of pain that gets better, either. Imagine trying countless treatments, medications and therapies, siphoning countless amounts of money into the hope that something will provide the littlest bit of relief.
Imagine being looked down upon by those who don’t understand, and instead of trying to, just telling you to ‘stop being lazy,’ or ‘get over it.’ Imagine being accused by doctors of the pain being “all in your head,” and being called a “drug addict,” for merely wanting a small respite from the never-ending pain. 

This is the reality that so many people, thousands, no, millions all across the world live with, each and every day. But what can cause such pain, you ask? Injuries, illnesses, stress, and more. But pain isn’t even the extent of what we feel. In addition to pain, we also feel extreme fatigue, feeling as though we’d lost days worth of sleep, when in reality we just woke up from an 8-10 hour sleep.

And still, they persevere on. They still wake up each and every day, taking that one courageous step forward. One foot in front of the other, each and every day. Like every other person on Earth, we greet the sun everyday, we take a deep breath each morning and start our days with hope.
We still enjoy doing the same things that others enjoy. But the difference is, we may have to go about doing them in different ways, ways that may seem odd to you. But please do not judge us, we are trying to adjust to our new lives, living with chronic pain. Instead, please be there for us.

You cannot see our pain outwardly, this is something that many call an “invisible illness,” but despite that unfortunate moniker, our pain is very, very real, and very intense. The pain can manifest in many ways, in the forms of burning, stabbing, throbbing, dull, achy, and so much more. In addition to the pain we feel, we may also experience other symptoms such as cognitive impairment (more commonly known as brain fog,) digestive issues, vertigo, muscle cramps, and swelling, among many others as well.

Living with chronic pain each and every day can wear down our emotional well-being. At times, we can feel like we’re falling into a never-ending pit of despair and depression. This isn’t by any means us feeling sorry for ourselves, but us genuinely mourning the life that we used to have, or could have had before chronic pain struck us down and knocked us out of the playing field.

Life, even without a chronic illness, is simply a constant learning process, and with chronic pain, we are always learning what we can do to improve our quality of life. We’re not going to let the pain defeat us, because we’re going to come out the other side of this, fighting. Not one person’s battle is the same as another, and we’re all fighting something different. Because, that is truly what we are, fighters, each and every one of us.

I realized I never actually shared what I live with on a daily basis. I battle Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Sciatica, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease, Endometriosis, A highly specific form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder and a pending diagnosis of Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

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