I’ve been in constant agonizing pain for 8 years. Every single minute, every single second of the past 8 years my body has been screaming at me. It screams that something is wrong and that feeling this way isn’t normal. Also, it screams that it needs help and that no one can live like this forever. To add, it screams that no one can endure this kind of suffering. The pain screams every time I try to use it in the most basic normal way. It protests even the slightest touch because even the most basic contact is agony. It protests every time I try to make it work the way everyone tells me it supposed to. (See also Why most women take Adderall
Pain is meant as a warning. When our bodies feel pain it triggers a fight or response that tells us we are trouble. But when the pain continues our body doesn’t know what to do so they sensation of pain continues to increase to get our attention. Yet, society has determined that treatment for pain is no longer necessary (sometimes cancer patients can get treatment, but increasingly even they are out of luck).
For several years I was able to get a small amount of medication to treat my pain, but that is no more. My doctor is theoretically still willing to prescribe it, but she’s being harassed by the medical board and has had to implement ridiculous procedures ($3,000 drug tests every 3 months not covered by insurance). Since I’m not independently wealthy I can’t afford those kind of costs, and between the pharmacy and insurance company it was almost impossible to get my medication anyway. So off I stroll into the arena of untreated chronic pain.
What does untreated chronic pain mean?
For me it means losing a lot of the life I was living before.
- I gave up volunteering at my child’s school
- I’m rarely able to blog anymore
- My social life is non existent
- Now my mental health has suffered as I’m stuck at home more
- Also, my kids have suffered because I’m more physically limited
- I’ve can’t exercise
- No more vacations that involve any walking (good thing I went to NY and DC last year because I won’t be able to handle that kind of walking ever again).
- My house isn’t as clean
- I can’t cook as often
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Mostly what untreated chronic pain means is a lower quality of life, and that the pain usually wins in a fight. I’ve fought for eight years to keep as normal life as possible, but a normal life is now out of view. Of course, I can live with the comfort that I’ll never been an addict, but since 4 years of pain medication didn’t turn me into addict, I don’t really find this comforting.
Pain is complicated
Pain is not a single uncomplicated entity like it’s portrayed in the media these days.
I’ve talked before about the side effects from constant agony. These side effects are not things that are easily overcome with a positive attitude and acceptance of the pain. Pain has a devastating effect on the body. Besides the danger of pain killing you (yes pain can kill you) chronic pain actually impairs the hippocampus which is the part of the brain the regulates learning, memory, and emotional processing.
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Pain has had a devastating effect on me. I used to be social, talkative, and friendly. Nowadays I’m mostly a homebody with an ever shrinking circle of friends. I just don’t have the energy for anything besides my family anymore. The higher my pain levels get, the less I sleep, and the less I sleep the higher my pain levels go, which sucks me of any energy. Interventions that don’t require medication ,while usually beneficial, are not helpful when I get to this point. I used to be able to interrupt this cycle with pain medication, but that is no more.
What I wish healthy people realized is that many types of chronic pain cannot be wished away, ignored with a positive attitude, or solved with essential oils. No person is the same and no pain is the same, which is why it should be treated with a multifaceted approach instead of brushed off. There are millions of people living with chronic pain that have lost access to their medication, and therefore lost their quality of life. I wonder when someone will care.