What Does Chronic Pain Really Feel Like?

From the outside looking in, it’s unnoticeable, it’s invisible, it’s ordinary, it’s nothing to muse over because it’s not directly and plainly problematic to the population. For me, it’s waking up exhausted, it’s attempting to continue my daily schedule exhausted, it’s going to bed exhausted, it’s being so exhausted you can’t sleep for the malaise. It’s having no control over how you’ll feel. It’s making the decision of taking a break away from desolation to enjoy yourself knowing full well you’ll suffer for a recurring period afterwards. It’s questioning whether it’s worth it. It’s applying makeup and savouring style because putting on a mask means it’s easier to hide, right? It’s a “yes, I’m fine thank you, how are you?” whilst smiling away the devil’s agony gnawing away at the snippets of your skin. It’s having people speak on your behalf as if you’re an illusion that is unable to answer for themselves. It’s being told how you feel and having no fight left in you to tell the responder they’re wrong. It’s the disconcerting reality of having no escape route, no cure, no positive progression. It’s the steps backward outweighing the forward. It’s having no set protocol to make it better. It’s never finding the right words to explain, to erase the prejudice and bring some understanding to people who have no idea. It’s dealing with ignorance. It’s the misinformed perceptions. It’s the emptiness on the inside but the hammering on the exterior. It’s the strain on relationships. It’s the vivid emotion. It’s the sadness. It’s the isolation. It’s the worry. It’s the misery. It’s the anger. It’s the guilt. It’s the paranoia. It’s the envy of normality. It’s the avoidance. It’s forgetting how you used to identify. It’s always needing to prove this is happening. It’s the fear of not being believed. It’s the elevation slowly breaking away a piece of confidence and worth. It’s not feeling sorry for yourself but not feeling proud either. It’s a game of yo-yo. It’s not knowing what it feels like to be pain free. It’s making the most of every moment but still experiencing the wrath anyway. It’s a delayed reaction. It’s exhilarating a breath of fresh air as you have a brief relief only for it to return with intense force. It’s being struck down with a sedative. It’s being enclosed in a glass case of woe. It’s the constant struggle. It’s desperation. It’s the obstacles. It’s the setbacks. It’s the barriers. It’s the stop on regularity. It’s the disruption of balance. It’s motivation levels reaching zero. It’s the strength you never knew you had. It’s being a coping extraordinaire. It’s not giving yourself enough credit. It’s wanting to give up but having no choice but to carry on. It’s tears that get washed away by the desire to fight. It’s setting yourself up for failure. It’s the fiery attack that drains you of every inch of energy. It’s the overload of senses. It’s the reflection staring back at you protesting against hope. It’s the nagging in your ear that won’t go away. It’s never eloping your attention. It’s holding everything in until you’re ready to falter, unfold and explode. It’s the way your body feels like concrete; movements causing pain, environmental factors causing pain, a trigger to the mood causing pain, anything causing pain. It’s counting down until you can reach home, turn off the false happy face, stop pretending and crumble in the only space you feel secure. It’s the take over. It’s the unforgivable. It’s being a human stuck inside a misfortune. It’s having the weight constantly on your shoulder. It’s the battle of medication and doctors appointments. It’s having to rely on somebody else. It’s not being able to continue with what you had in mind because resting is the only option. It’s cancelling plans. It’s taking years to build yourself up only for one single thing to destroy every self made improvement. It’s having someone think they hold the power to inform you of your capabilities when even you’re not sure of what you stand for anymore. It’s the rawness of the limits. It’s constantly being held back. It’s a 23 year old living as a 90 year old. It’s life.


I’m sorry to be so morbid on a miserable Monday that requires optimism but lately I’ve been lumbered with the effects of this persistent horror more than ever. It’s not just the pain itself, it’s the baggage that comes with and when I feel as though it’s ready to break me, that’s when I feel it necessary to spill my thoughts on to a page. It’s been a while since I expressed my personal emotions and I’m at that point where I think it’s needed for me to at least gain a sense of solace. Of course I also hope it speaks to the hearts of those who suffer with chronic pain because if anyone knows how much comfort some knowledge can bring and how sharing your ordeal with someone else who requires a voice, it’s me. And on that note, I wish you all a good week ahead. Remember – love and best wishes will always be a reason to look forward to tomorrow.


Bridie x

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