I’ll be giving away a variety of photography-related things on my photography page/blog this week.
You can click on the “Photography” tab each day in my navigation bar to see what’s new,
And/or you can subscribe to my photography feed.
Hint: Today I’m giving away ONE copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4!
September is National Pain Awareness Month.
Originally, I didn’t plan to write a post in “honor” of it.
But, as I contemplated meeting with my pain management specialist today, I changed my mind.
I know most of you have followed my story long enough to know I’ve been to the depths of hell pain-wise.
Most of you already know about the car accident, and about the many surgeries I’ve experienced in the last six years.
You already know I live with day-to-day challenges, and seemingly always will.
I’ve gotten a lot of support from a lot of people the last six years.
I don’t want to whine, “It hurts!” over, and over, and over again.
But guess what?
Over, and over, and over again.
Sometimes the cruelty of people’s words hurts too.
People who don’t “get it” at all.
Are there people in this world who “fake” being in pain for attention or to gain access to prescription drugs?
Yes, there are.
Are there people who embellish the pain they actually feel because they want attention and/or drugs?
Yes, there are.
Are either of these two situations the case for the vast majority of the estimated 75 million Americans living with pain?
No, they’re not.
Most people who live with chronic pain are doing everything they can to strive for a better quality of life.
It isn’t easy.
It’s damn hard.
I really can’t emphasize that enough –
It’s damn hard.
Most people experience pain in their life – usually for a short while.
To live with pain as a companion day in and day out for years is exhausting.
It takes a toll on a person’s body, relationships, work, and demeanor.
I met a very nice woman at the beach the other day.
A chance encounter turned into a long conversation.
At one point, as she asked about my photography, I mentioned the fact my right arm doesn’t work.
She was surprised.
“I’d never know!” she exclaimed.
I moved my sleeve and her eyes widened as she saw just one of my (many) scars.
This is the thing …
You can see scars, but you can’t SEE pain.
Pain is an invisible demon.
I can’t speak for other people, but I know I do my utmost to appear cheerful and happy and positive even when my pain levels are high.
And yes, there are times when I’m cranky, or bitchy, or quieter than normal because I can’t pull my shit together enough to be otherwise.
My pain doesn’t ever go away.
I’ve put together a couple lists of suggestions for those of you who know someone suffering from chronic pain:
Things you should NOT say to a person living with chronic pain:
• So-And-So had surgery and was back playing professional football a week later.
• You get what you put out into the universe.
• You seem depressed.
• I know pain; I sprained my ankle once.
• I work-out to the point of pain. I know pain.
• You must have bad karma.
• No pain, no gain.
• If you pray, God will take your pain away. ** Please see the comment I wrote in the comments section of this post about this. **
• You can just push through it.
• You just want attention.
• Don’t think about it, or you’ll make it worse.
• Snap out of it!
• You take pain meds? You must be addicted!
• Be grateful – it could be worse.
Suggestions on what to say instead:
• I’m sorry you have to go through this.
• If you’d like to talk about it, I’m happy to listen.
• Is there anything I can do to help you?
• I’m here for you.
• I know doing XXXX is difficult for you, I’d like to help.
• Can I give you a hug, or would that hurt you?
Many times the best thing you can do is just listen.
People living with chronic pain need to be able to talk about what they’re going through so they can preserve their sanity.
I sincerely hope you, and the people you love, don’t ever have to experience
chronic never ending pain.
I also hope, in some small way, sharing my experience will make the path a little easier for others.