Chronic Pain Is A Thief (And How You Can Stop It)

If you live with Chronic Pain, or know someone who does, you probably know that there’s a lot that is missing from life. Chronic Pain is a thief – it takes from so many areas of your existance, but rarely gives back. I want to talk about this in more detail, so we can hopefully find ways of fighting back.

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Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Chronic Pain Robs You Of Your Daily Life

Chronic Pain affects every aspect of your health, from the conditions that cause the pain to your everyday normal functions. Moving, exercising, taking care of the house or children…all of these are extremely difficult with Chronic Pain and often something has to suffer in order to get through each day. Perhaps you use more processed foods in your cooking instead of “from scratch” meals. Maybe the laundry goes unwashed for another day so you can spend time with your kids. Whatever the situation for you, you still have to deal with the fact that Chronic Pain has changed your daily life.

Chronic Pain Robs You Of Your Sleep

Painsomnia is the term used for Insomnia that is caused by pain. When you can’t sleep, you effectively lose your ability to function well the next day. Pain at night keeps you from getting the refreshing REM sleep that is so necessary to repairing the body.

There are medications that you can take to enhance your sleep, but they often don’t work and even when they do, you can end up groggy in the morning and feeling “hungover”. That feeling, combined with pain, makes for a difficult day indeed.

Chronic Pain Robs You Of Contributing To Society

If you live with Chronic Pain you may find that you have to give up your job or hobbies in order to function. It can be very demoralizing to leave a career you love or a job that you’ve worked at for an extended period of time. I went on disability in 2009 because pain and brain fog robbed me of the essential skills I needed to do my job well. I was at the top of my career as an Administrative Specialist and Event Planner, and was working at a great company with lots of potential for my future.

After too much time taken off because of health issues, I realized I wasn’t doing anyone any favours by staying at work, so went on short term disability that ultimately ended up becoming long term disability. I was devastated to leave work, but my HR team was helpful and encouraging and made the process easy for me. It took me awhile to realize I was never going to be able to go back to work, but oh, how I cried when it finally hit me.

If you are a volunteer or have special hobbies, you may find you’ve had to give them up as well. It’s hard to watch the world go on while you’re stuck in limbo. Even when you push yourself to maintain a working life or hobbies, you still have to deal with the reality of pain on a daily basis and that makes everything more difficult to manage.

Chronic Pain Robs You Of A Social Life

Living with Chronic Pain makes it hard to socialize with others. When you’re no longer involved in your regular activities such as work or hobbies, you tend to not be invited out to social gatherings with the gang. Even when you are invited, you may struggle to attend functions, or if you do attend, you pay the price for days (or weeks) afterwards.

Sometimes it’s easier to say no to something, knowing how you will end up feeling, but doing so puts you at risk of not being invited to events in the future. It’s a Catch-22 and there is no right answer for how to manage.

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Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Chronic Pain Robs You Of Companionship

If you are in a relationship, Chronic Pain can rob you of the companionship you used to enjoy with your partner. You may have given up work or hobbies, so you have less to talk about, and it’s hard to hear how well someone else is doing when you’re suffering on your own. Sex can become painful and thereby less frequent and intimacy starts to dwindle – even just cuddling can cause discomfort.

You may find your list of friends depleted because no one has time for you anymore. You’re not the same funny outgoing person you were and other people get tired of hearing about your struggles. When you have nothing new to add to the relationship, it slowly begins to die off and the effort of maintaining friendships becomes too much. Especially if you’re not able to go out and socialize like you did in the past.

So how do you manage life with Chronic Pain? How do you navigate this new world that you live in?

Some people find that Chronic Pain strengthens their faith and seek solace with the religion they practice. I personally find that prayer really helps me when I’m struggling – I remember all that Jesus went through in His life and it puts things in perspective for me.

You may find that while you’re no longer able to work, you can manage some volunteer activity based on what it is, and what is being asked of you. I belong to 4 different committees that all have a health focus, but the time requirement for each is minimal. I’m able to attend meetings online when they happen and while I do travel to a different city for one of the meetings, getting out for the day/overnight can be refreshing for the time, even though I know I’ll pay for it later. Just being with grownups discussing how to solve problems helps me realize my brain isn’t dead and I still have a lot to contribute.

If you are no longer working, you may find yourself in a position where you can start a activity for the first time, or devote more time to a long-standing hobby. Even if you’re only able to start reading more or colouring or knitting, it’s something you weren’t able to manage before and that can be empowering. Learning a new hobby doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult, it just needs to be something that brings you joy.

When it comes to socializing, you may be happy to give up a whirlwind of activity and discover that you’re a homebody after all. Perhaps you invite people over to your place more often, instead of going out. You’re able to set the pace which helps you manage your Chronic Pain in a better way.

Chronic Pain is a thief, there’s no doubt about that, but with careful planning, you may be able to trap that thief and get back what’s been taken from you. A cheerful and positive spirit can go along way in helping with that. There’s simply no point in wallowing about the negatives in life as it serves no purpose and only makes you more miserable. Don’t let Chronic Pain rob you of your essential being. Fight back and try to find ways to incorporate joy into your life again. It’s the simple pleasures that give the most reward.

There Is Always Hope

 

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12 thoughts on “Chronic Pain Is A Thief (And How You Can Stop It)

  1. Amen to that! Chronic illness & chronic pain can take so much from us, and affect our lives so profoundly in so many ways that those on the ‘outside’ don’t necessarily even realise. But you’re right, there are other perspectives to take on the lives we now lead, new things to try in place of what’s been stolen, so we can still live the best lives we can, with the situation we’re in and the bodies we have. Great post as always!
    Caz xx

  2. Wow Pamela, I have learned so much about chronic pain by reading your blog. I have never personally known someone who has this so I had no idea how hard it is. Thank you for educating me, and the world! Love how you present it, great blog!

  3. I had to stop by, as I can relate! With having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, I am in chronic pain every day. I am in the process of trying to titrate off a medication, but the withdrawel is testing my sanity! The pain is higher and I am not sure I will continue. I do have “painsomnia” some nights which can increase my anxiety and make it even harder to sleep.
    This was a great article and I enjoyed reading how you found ways to adapt. It was tough leaving a job I enjoyed, but have found pleasure in writing my blog. It is a change for your life, and a challenge. I say prayers as well. Do take care!
    jess xx
    http://www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

    • Thanks for stopping by Jess. I’m sure that with you having EDS, you understand what it’s like to have things taken away because of illness. I hope you’re able to find fulfilling things to fill your days. Blogging is the best!

  4. I am going through this right now! Leaving my 25 year career and for the first time I’m going to be home. My sons are young adults, one is flown and the other a junior in college. While I look forward to being able to manage better self-care and delving deeper into my blog and community, I am scared of an identity crisis, time management, and being expected to “do more” because I am now “home all day.” Thank you, it’s good to know I’m not alone.

    • Wishing you all the best CinDiLo…you may be in for an unexpected treat being home after working for so long. I know it did wonders for my health after I realized I needed to leave the workforce. Volunteering is what keeps me active as I can do things at my own pace. I hope you find many things to keep you happy and fulfilled!

  5. Chronic pain, if its not my back – lower. I have Tuberous Sclerosis and it has affected my kidneys with ver large angiomyopalomas that have made my kidneys large and therefore puts added pressure on my lower back. Every now and then…NOW my back goes out due to it. Plus I have fibromyalgia…osteoarthrithis…the list goes on and on…I use heat packs, dencorub, tiger balm…I take pain killers….keeping warm in winter, and cool in summer. I don’t “swim” anymore…but if i get to a pool I walk in the pool as swimming even though its in water still put pressure on my joints. I walk my dogs when I can. Some days are couch or bed days and learning to say no…this was a great post..

  6. Embracing the things in life we can do is certainly paramount to our happiness, I agree. It was a big part of how I got things turned around, myself. I’ve had to give up a lot of big dreams in my life; the house, the kids, the teaching and writing careers I wanted, but once I finally talked myself into stop looking backward and concentrating on figuring out what I could do, it turned out that I also got some of the things I had lost back. Thank you so much for another hope-filled post. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been doing it, the reminder to keep looking forward instead of back is always necessary. Thanks for another hope-filled post, my dear! xx

  7. Pam, I’m so sorry you deal with this. I’m a caregiver for my mother who has several medical conditions causing chronic pain. I have tremendous compassion for both of you. 💓💓

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