Living with chronic pain is a constant grind, one that you have to experience to really understand. These disorders are just starting to be acknowledged and understood, so sufferers constantly have to explain and defend their disease. Here are just a few of the challenges that are part of your everyday life with chronic pain.
It Wears You Out
Chronic pain turns every day into a struggle and a gamble – if you do the laundry, will you have the energy to go to the grocery store? If you spend an hour playing with your young kid, will you be spending the rest of the day on the couch?
Sometimes it feels like chronic pain is forcing you to choose between doing one thing or doing another. It limits the scope of your life, keeping you indoors for days at the worst times, or interfering with what you really want to do.
Chronic pain always seems to be waiting in the wings, ready to intensify to crippling levels at the worst possible time. Even when it’s at a manageable level, you can still feel it sapping your energy. But what makes it even harder to deal with is…
People Don’t Get It
Even the most understanding friends and relatives often don’t understand how chronic pain works. Those who are supportive do their best. They offer dubious cures orsuggest you try yoga. But some people will even go so far as to suggest that your pain doesn’t exist – that it’s all in your mind.
These people resent you for your debilitating illness, seeing you as lazy or a freeloader. When your pain becomes too much to manage and you have to miss an important event, they don’t sympathize – rather, they think you are avoiding them or using cheap excuses to get out of social obligations.
These accusations hurt. It’s bad enough to deal with constant, chronic pain, but the additional burden of having to prove your illness to those who are close to you just makes it that much worse. However, there is one place where you expect understanding and sympathy for your chronic pain…
Doctors Don’t Care
Even if the majority of people don’t understand your chronic pain, you expect that your doctor will be able to legitimize and explain your disorder. So little is known about chronic pain – at the very least, the doctor’s office will be able to give you some answers.
When many chronic pain sufferers go to the doctor’s office, they are met with suspicion and rejection. Doctors suggest that their patients visit psychiatrists, or refuse much-needed pain medication,suspicious that they are opiate addicts “doctor shopping”. These accusations discredit your legitimate pain, making many people unwilling to talk about their debilitating disorder.
As if to compound all these issues, chronic pain sufferers are often forced to miss work or pay hundreds of dollars in medical bills – only for doctors to tell them there is nothing wrong and they cannot get disability benefits.
If you are suffering from chronic pain and your doctor refuses to advocate for disability benefits, it may be a good idea to get a new doctor or even look into disability lawyers.