Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Well, it might to those of us with chronic illnesses at least. I’m thinking many of you will have also had someone think or say you “should be used to it by now” or tell you “yes, but you’re always hurting,” as though that means their flu or sprain is somehow more important and painful because hurting is not their baseline like it is ours. Or that we should be able to get past it simply because it’s there all the time.
Recently I had a conversation of that nature and I didn’t know whether to laugh or be angry (even though there was no offense intended). Yes, I’m always in pain. Lots of it, actually. But that doesn’t mean it’s any easier to deal with as the years pass by. In fact, I suggest that it can be even worse. Acute pain or injury is horrible and I have huge sympathy for anyone experiencing one of these things. However, acute pain (mostly) comes with the knowledge that you will heal. Fibromyalgia pain for me and many others is there every second of every day, without any real hope of being cured. I’m not talking about a little ache or twinge either — it’s the kind of pain that could make me cry at any given moment. It’s relentless and it’s exhausting.
So, people who assume it should be easier to cope with my pain by now because I’ve had it for as long as I can remember — it’s not. Imagine waking up every day knowing that you had to live another day with the same pain and difficulties as yesterday, only today you are a little bit more exhausted. The pain and fatigue just keep piling up until eventually, I usually end up with a bad injury, sprain, or pulled muscle. Then it will start all over again the next day and I’ll have a new source of pain to try to manage as well.
As I said, I have nothing but sympathy, empathy and compassion for anyone in pain, acute or chronic. All I ask is that you don’t forget about the daily fight a fibro patient faces. Don’t minimize their struggle just because it’s always there.
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to being in pain, even though it’s forever present. So instead, I try to use it for something positive. Like sharing my experience so it may help someone else.
If you’ve read this far because you have a loved one with fibromyalgia, you’ve already helped them by caring enough to do so.
If you’ve read this far because you have fibro yourself, I understand how hard it is and you are not alone.