The information provided in my blog posts is strictly from my own experiences and is not intended to replace medical or professional advice. Do not disregard any medical advice you have received after reading any of my posts. For more please read my disclosure page.
Dealing with chronic pain affects more than people may realise.
Aside from being in constant agony, there are many more side effects. Which over time turns you into someone you no longer recognise.
Relentless pain affects everything from your mental and physical health, personality, career and relationships.
THE DAILY STRUGGLE
I’ve been dealing with chronic pain for a number of years and as a result I’ve had to make changes and accept that I’m a totally different person.
But, accepting that things you used to do with ease are now difficult isn’t easy!
It would surprise you how many things change or become difficult for those of us living with chronic pain.
Getting dressed is no longer about looking good
Getting showered and putting on a cute outfit, was the part of my morning routine I enjoyed most. Now getting washed and dressed, is the most painful part of my day!
I take a lot of pride in my appearance and maintaining good hygiene, but I’ve had to make adjustments to accommodate my pain.
It’s no longer about being on-trend and looking cute, but more so about being comfortable. So instead of grabbing a tight pair of high-waisted jeans, I grab a cute pair of joggers.
Chores feel like a workout
Doing household chores have become a workout and pain enhancer all in one.
Vacuuming makes me feel like I’ve done a serious session at the gym, and I’ll probably be in pain for a few days after.
Which is why I recommend investing in a Roomba, a robot vacuum to do all the work for you.
Or, if you have some extra funds, hire someone to do the chores for you.
Going out is like planning a secret mission
Gone are the days where I could be spontaneous and book a random getaway.
Now, wherever I go out I have to calculate in my mind, how long I’ll be out? Will there be somewhere to sit down? Is it easy to get out? Not having the answers to these questions can definitely deter me from going anywhere at all.
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NETFLIX AND HEATING PADS
Having to cancel plans often
Along with trying to plan our every move comes having to cancel plans, A LOT!
Chronic pain is unpredictable, meaning at the time of an invitation you may feel okay to accept. But when the day finally arrives you feel like crap and have to cancel.
Over time, you may miss a lot of birthdays, trips and special occasions. Having to cancel all the time can make you feel guilty and like a party pooper, even though you desperately want to be the life of the party!
Living in a constant state of “maybe” can also lead to a feeling of isolation and like you don’t deserve to be invited anywhere because you have to let people down.
CHRONIC PAIN DROVE ME TO THIS
Constant mood swings
I’m going, to be honest, my mood swings are a b***h and sometimes so am I!
I’m trying my best to get it under control but being in constant pain naturally affects your mood. It’s hard to be your normal pleasant self when you feel like your body is under attack.
Imagine being at work trying to be great at your job and productive whilst you’re in excruciating pain.
One day you may just snap!
Although it’s understandable, not everyone will understand especially in a work environment. A constant change in mood can make you can come across as unapproachable or even unprofessional.
Chronic pain is a full-time job that can cause brain fog or cognitive difficulties.
Concentrating or remembering things can become difficult. From forgetting where you put your phone to trying to focus whilst having a conversation.
Thankfully, there are ways to help you cope with brain fog.
Having a don’t give AF attitude
Dealing with chronic pain day in and day out can harden your heart. I know that makes me sound like a super b***h but hear me out.
After many years of being in pain, I’ve become less sympathetic towards people’s everyday problems.
Like seriously, you’re complaining about breaking a nail, when my entire body feels broken and I can’t grow another one, I’ve checked.
Finding genuine friendships is difficult no matter your situation, and having chronic pain highlights that so much more.
You may have to weed out a lot of toxic friendships. Having understanding people who won’t judge you or make you feel guilty about your health is key.
I’ve lost so many friends over the years and only have a few genuine ones left.
Seeing the true colours of those you classed as good friends hurt. But over time you learn to appreciate the supportive friends you do have.
Single and NOT ready to mingle
Having chronic pain or any chronic illness whilst being single can be a weird space to be in.
You may dismiss romance because you don’t feel comfortable explaining your pain or dealing with someone else’s feelings about it.
It can also be daunting thinking about whether a potential partner will understand your pain, so you avoid it entirely.
Or, if you have started dating, it may scare you to tell someone new about your pain out of fear of being judged or rejected.
Relationships are complex and throwing chronic pain into the mix can make things a little more challenging.
Being unwell can cause romance and intimacy to dwindle. As things can start to feel more like a carer patient relationship and like you rely too much on your partner for support.
It can also be hard for partners to accept the pain of their loved one and accept that their inability to do certain things is not because of them but solely because of the pain.
Chronic pain can really affect your career and cause you to change your original plan. You may have to change your working hours, switch career or stop working entirely.
Although we try our best to be great at our jobs and show up every day, that’s not always possible as we have to prioritise rest.
Meaning, we may have to take more sick days than others, cut hours or work remotely.
Being forced to adapt is a difficult transition and it can feel like you may never reach your full potential or actualise your dreams.
WHO’S THAT? OH SH*T That’s ME!
Dealing with chronic pain can feel like a constant tug of war between yourself before pain and yourself now.
6 years ago I was pain-free and living my best life, but the pain has definitely changed me.
I’m no longer carefree, but careful. I’m no longer spontaneous but calculated. No longer a dreamer, but a realist.
Although chronic pain has changed me, I’ve gotten to know the new me a little better and still find ways to find joy in life.
Dealing with chronic pain can change you in so many ways and although those changes can be hard to accept, over time they become things to come to terms with and embrace.
Even though chronic pain may have changed you, it doesn’t have to define you!
Has chronic pain changed you or your outlook on life? Leave a comment below.
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