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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 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.
THE DAILY STRUGGLE
I’ve been dealing with chronic pain for several 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.
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 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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I suffer from Piriformis and sciatic nerve problem. The pain can be totally off the chart.
I’ve been to therapy. I’ve taken shots and medication. I do the exercises use heat and ice. I use a cane when I feel safe enough to walk. Mostly I use a walker. It is much more stable for walking.
Getting rid of the inflammation is not hard but keeping it away is tricky. Losing weight is important if you can lose it.
Getting in and out of bed is a real learning experience. As a widow l have to adapt and change things all the time.
My hope is that l will be able to overcome this nightmare and be normal again. What ever normal is. Having Piriformis syndrome is hard on the body as well as the spirit.
Thanks so much for sharing your experiences, I can only imagine how hard it is to deal with all your going through. I totaly agree with you on keeping inflammations away, its no easy task and takes some real dedication.
I really hope you are able to get the support you deserve, emotionally, mentally and physically!
Send you lots of healing and virtual hugs x
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia last year. I’m still struggling to accept my new me. It’s been so frustrating and deflating, all the pain all the time. Can’t even enjoy a cuddle or hug because my skin thinks it’s something else and it’s just screaming don’t touch me. The planning….ug the planning. Is there a spot to rest, my knees and joints have been failing me now too. Can I walk it? Is it worth pushing for and having days of debilitating pain afterwards? I have 2 kiddos too and I just hate the fact I can’t keep up with them or do anything with them anymore. Chronic pain sucks…
I can’t even imagine what you must be going through. I completely understand the pre-planning of trying to do certain things such as going for a walk and worrying about pushing it too far. I hope in the very near future things get better for you! It must be really hard not being really hard not being able to do things with your little ones, but your still doing an awesome job! You’ve brought kids into this world that alone makes you awesome. Sending lots of virtual hugs xx Feel free to drop me an email if you ever need someone to talk or vent too xxx
I have fibromyalgia, too, and have had it for 15 years. I really don’t like the person fibromyalgia has turned me into. I’m irritable and angry, and then I get people telling me that being in pain is not excuse to behave that way, even though they have no idea what this feels like, or the guilt I carry because of it.
I’ve been through the same thing! But your feelings in all forms are valid! You’re allowed to be angry and irritable at times. I find music really helps me and taking time to myself to allow myself helps with my moods. xx
I have been living with chronic pain now for 6 years – the last year has been the worst yet. I have a hypermobile sacrum – that’s the base of my spine that twists and turns throwing off all my lower body muscles and joints. My friends have all but abandoned me – my marriage is strained and I am trying to raise a teenager as well as run my own business. I am losing hope, I miss the old me so desperately… just having a real hard time coping. Thank you for this article, at least I’m not alone in this.
I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been having such a hard time. I really do hope that you don’t lose hope completely. I know how hard things can be and its hard to stay positive, but your amazing no matter what. We’re in this together! Feel free to reach out to me anytime, if you need someone to talk to. Sending lots of love and light xx
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 15 years ago with no idea what that would mean to my life. I, also have degenerative arthritis in my spine and joints. This is a combination that is not consistent with any self-help program, nor any independent life style. At 71 the reality is that I will have to rely on family as long as possible, before I will have to look into assisted living. That is a very humbling realization. I fear becoming so restricted that I will be like a soft-shelled crab, unable to dress, bathe or feed myself. That is in addition to things I have already had to surrender: driving, shopping, going out for lunch or a movie, dancing, riding bikes, well you get the idea. My biggest piece of advice is to find a good pain-management doctor, and a primary care physician that knows his/her way around Fibromyalgia!
The particular symptom that has/is causings the most misery is the inability to control my body temperature. In fact, I had to discover that this was a result of fibro myself as none of the physicians I’ve mentioned the symptom to have made the connection. My bed is a tangle of sheets, blankets ( I also have Restless Leg Syndrome), & a “cool”& a “hot” nightgown, besides my glass of water, meds & my phone. I would be interested if anyone has found a solution to being hot/ cold all the he time. Thank you for your patience!
Thanks so much for sharing your story. I totally resonate wiht the fear of being unable to do things for yourself in the future. I totally agree with your advice on finding a good pain management doctor and primary care physician so key! I really hope you’re able to find a way to manage the heat fluctuations! Sounds so frustrating!… Sending you lots of love and light xx
Thank you for this honest post. I’ve lived with pain and a wide range of symptoms from chronic lyme disease (and co-infections) for 8+ years and it can be hard to verbalize how overwhelming and exhausting it can be. People think we must be used to it by now, but the truth is every day is a struggle to stay strong. I can especially relate to the point about fashion/style…with GI issues, limited hand mobility, and other symptoms, my focus is on comfort and function!
Thank you for speaking up on what is sometimes a ‘taboo’ topic!
Thank you so much! I really appreciate the support x
I also have had Lyme for approx 26 years and have only in the lady 8years known what was wrong. I find clothing actually hurts, back, neck, hip…..everything pain and sweats from Babesia are the pits. Here in Australia Lyme isn’t really that widely known and treatment very hard to get. I live 250 kilometres from the city so that makes it harder. I, thankful I have a nice partner and I work with my family so that makes a huge difference.
I hurt my lower back in 1987 when I was 35. In 1995 I in was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I just turned 71, and the years have brought 1 suicide attempt, and many years of PAIN and suicidal ideation that I have fought off, mostly successfully. My good friends are very supportive and understanding. Chronic pain makes me pretty cuckoo. I find some relief from my dogs. They love me and support me, and give me a reason to get out of bed everyday and not feel sorry for myself. Not much helps me, and I’ve learned to ignore my pain level until it hits a screaming 9. Recently referred to a pain Dr. And have received injections in my lower back. For about 3 weeks pain level drops to a tolerable 6. I’m sorry to write such a long comment but it feels good to share. There is still life.
Thanks so much for sharing! It definitely makes me feel cuckoo at times too! I’m so pleased to hear you have a good support system and your fur babies :). There is always still a life! Sending lots of hugs xx