Something I often hear from people who do not have chronic illnesses is: “You’ll get used to it.”
There is something I wished everyone around me would understand. Chronic pain always hurts. There is no time off.
I also would like people to understand that learning how to live with the pain, doesn’t mean that it’s any easier to endure. Yes, you get used to being in pain all the time. Yes, you do function at pain levels that would cripple most people. Yes, you modify your life around the pain, and learn to function while in an amount of pain that would be disabling to someone else. You learn to avoid the activities that make it worse, wear only soft, stretchy clothes, and split up the chores over different days.
No matter what you do, it still hurts every single every single minute of every single day.
Unfortunately, when people dismiss our pain, we feel like we don’t deserve the attention or should hide it so that we don’t become annoying or become an inconvenience on others. I know I live in constant fear of losing my job because I can’t compete with my able-bodied coworkers or even with the kind of employee I used to be before I got sick. We constantly worry about how we are being perceived. We constantly find ourselves justifying what we are doing because we feel like our pain isn’t valid and does not warrant a moment or a break.
Taking a moment to step outside for a fresh breath of air should not be disgraceful, and pain should not be something to downplay. Our society values productivity, busyness, people who are always on the go, both at work and at play. I use all my energy to get through the work week, I don’t have any left to have a life. It only makes me feel like I’m failing my family.