Support for Chronic Pain

What You Do Not See

They say a picture says a thousand words; I beg to differ.  Have you ever gone on social media and seen pictures of mothers disciplining their children or spouses on separate sides of their couch with tears running down their faces?  Have you ever seen videos on social media of friends arguing, young girls crying in dressing rooms because they think they look ugly or fat because of a certain outfit?  No.  People take and show pictures of the good times and when they are able to put a smile on their face even if it is not real.   Who wants to showcase the raw, true pain a person may feel at times?  We hide behind our shell of a body pretending everything is wonderful inside when at times right under our shell we are falling apart.

I took this picture this morning after my workout.  I cannot remember the last time I took a ‘selfie’ as I am beginning to find them rather ridiculous (no judgement to those who take them, rock out!)  I may be sweaty and mildly tired as I had just finished an hour workout and it was before six in the morning but I look like a healthy, happy, focused, in control person who is ready to get the day started.  And for the most part all of that is true.  However, I will tell you what you do not see.  You do not see the girl who was in bed in the middle of the night close to tears because of chronic pain.   You do not see the beating of my heart and the adrenaline running through my veins at four forty this am as I remembered the physical pain I had felt in the middle of the night.  You do not see the fear in my mind that I will not always be able to manage chronic pain as well as I do now.  You only see my shell.  As most of you know I manage pain naturally after spending a third of my life on medications and living a life of pain.  There were not many pictures taken for a good ten years of my life and the ones that were taken were mostly at parties with my friends that sadly I do not remember because I was too drunk, self medicating my physical pain.

At three in the morning last night I was having a very difficult time with pain, which does happen from time to time despite how well I am able to manage this invisible illness.  I felt like I was suffocating in pain and truly found it hard to breathe.  Call me crazy, but at that moment I did not think about grabbing my phone and taking a quick selfie.  If I had then you would see how I really felt mere hours before this picture was taken.   Now, some of you may be thinking if the pain/anxiety was so terrific how and why was I working out before six in the morning?  Believe it or not but I was exercising because of chronic pain and anxiety.  Fifteen years ago I would have just laid in bed with a racing heart and have spent hours crying solely focusing on pain.  I no longer do that.  I had a bad night but I refuse to allow a bad night to control today.  I get my butt out of bed and exercise which does wonders for both my personal chronic pain and anxiety.

Many of us, myself included seem to compare our lives to the pictures we see of others.  Comparison is truly the thief of joy but more than that you and I are comparting our lives to pictures, not actual situations.  A picture does not say a thousand words for if it did there would be many more pictures taken of the pain and sadness we all face during our lifetime.


2 thoughts on “What You Do Not See

  1. Greg Golden says:

    So beautifully said! Just today I was telling someone in the gym that the act of working out produces endogenous opiates and that I get so much pain relief from exercise and see it as the only way to treat my chronic pain. I have a connective tissue disease called Marfan Syndrome and there is a lot of chronic pain associated with the orthopedic manifestations of this condition. People look at me and say, “You look healthy”. They have no idea that I have damaged joints and that I use a walking stick to walk on concrete.

  2. Michele Ritchie says:

    This was perhaps the most powerful one yet, for me anyways. This will stay with me forever. Thank you.

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