We’re A Society Knee Deep In Chronic Pain
As she sobs quietly, unable to bear the immense pain, my heart breaks into tiny pieces and my mind races with questions.
Why is this happening? Why does she have to suffer so much? Why can’t anyone help her?
The questions go unanswered for this precious soul. They have for a couple of years now. I go and sit next to her, holding her tightly – fighting back my own tears because I’m supposed to be the strong one. I tell her I’m so sorry she has to go through such a horrific thing. She tells me she’s so tired of the pain, the agony, and the fear.
“I’m so sorry you’re going through this. You’re certainly the bravest person I know.”
What do you tell someone who is in so much physical pain day after day that the thought of death sometimes delights them?
How do you console someone whose body is attacking itself with a vengeance?
Slowly. Deliberately. Relentlessly.
Pouncing on her with an unbearable pain throughout her torso and limbs that pain medication does not touch. Oh, maybe it takes a tenth of the edge off, but gruesome stabbing and stinging all the way to the bone remains.
Chronic Pain Abounds
As a frequent visitor to social media support groups for chronic pain, I read all sorts of stories from sufferers. Tony, 25, went to the ER last night in excruciating pain. After several hours hoping for just one doctor to be able to offer him some sort of clue as to what the heck is causing him intense chronic pain, he hangs his head in disgust.
“Maybe it’s all in your head”, insinuates the doctor.
Effing moron, he mumbles under his breath.
Tony visited 18 doctors before finding one that had compassion and empathy for his “conditions” that cause him to live in agonizing pain each day. In fact, it takes many people who suffer from chronic pain years to even get an accurate diagnosis. Some never do. Many live in constant frustration, depression, and hopelessness.
A big shoutout for the movie, Cake, that stars Jennifer Aniston playing the role of a chronic pain sufferer due to an accident. The movie gives us a glimpse of the hellish struggles of those who have to navigate life each day with chronic pain. Aniston’s role gives us a raw and real look at the life of someone who is obviously struggling mentally, emotionally, and physically due to pain.
There are more than 100 million men and women who suffer from chronic pain in the United States. There are another 24 million suffering from one or more of the 120 plus autoimmune diseases out there, which happen to cause significant chronic pain and extreme fatigue.
That’s a lot of people in agony day in and day out and much of society has no idea. They don’t see the struggle. The tears. The fears that plague the minds of those in the midst of an epic battle.
There’s no magic pill to stop chronic pain. I like to believe that there is hope in holistic and alternative medicine like acupuncture, energy healing, meditation, food medicine, etc., but there are so many who are simply not open to such.
Then, when things like medicinal marijuana come onto the scene to maybe give sufferers some relief, masses go crazy in judgment. How dare they legalize such a drug? Won’t that promote drug abuse? (This, coming from a society where alcohol, quite legal, is the most commonly used addictive substance at over 17 million people.) 
Who are we to look at others in pain and judge their pain? Tell them it’s all in their head? As if we’re some sort of pain expert adept at assessing what others are experiencing in their bodies. Honestly, we have no right.
What can we do?
What we can do is show unconditional love and compassion to those suffering from chronic pain. Help them out. Help them bear the burden. Stop judging. Stop acting like we know all the answers and what’s best for them. Stop allowing selfishness to prevail.
Those that suffer in pain are humans. They’re struggling. They have feelings and they don’t want to be stigmatized, criticized, or ignored. They certainly don’t want to feel pain day in and day out.
They are important, lovable, worthy, and valued.
We don’t have to understand it and we certainly shouldn’t ignore it. I am grateful to messages that can come from movies like Cake. I appreciate the message it sends to a society that does just about all it can to ignore, numb, and run from pain.
Life doesn’t go as planned and yes, mental and physical pain abounds. In order to get through the toughness and madness, we need each other. We need human connection, empathy, compassion, authenticity, and hope.
Let’s move forward letting love and compassion lead the way in whatever way that unfolds.
And if you’re reading this and you struggle with chronic pain, know that you are not alone. And, I deeply feel for you and what you’re experiencing.
Again, you are important, lovable, worthy, and valued, and I honor you for how brave you truly are.
August 8, 2022
August 6, 2022