Living with fibromyalgia or chronic pain can take its toll. Thinking, hearing, or saying the phrase, “I want to die,” or any variation of that is not an uncommon thing. To hear it from someone can kick in the reaction mode immediately. Thinking it can also kick in the reaction response. Now, before any feathers get ruffled, everyone must take things into perspective.
First of all, the moment we are born, we are effectively dying. Along the journey in life there are many things that may speed this process up, cancer, terminal illness, drugs, car accidents, catastrophic events, etc. however, chronic illness can be added in to this list. We are all know about the death of Prince. We are all aware that cause of death was essentially due to overuse of pain killers.
However, the more truer diagnosis was that he died of chronic pain. Millions of people suffer from chronic pain or chronic illness. Most of the diagnoses that fall in that category are not terminal in and of themselves. However, the long term effects of these chronic illnesses may in the end be terminal, literally or figuratively. People who suffer with chronic pain or chronic illness really only want one thing, relief.
For many who suffer these debilitating illnesses, relief can be difficult to find. I can attest, not all people find relief in any treatments that are offered. Unfortunately this can feel like a dead end road, or a death sentence. Those with chronic illnesses spend a lot of time trying to find a diagnosis to fit the symptoms they are suffering. Many people spend endless amounts of time and money trying to find an answer, a reason for the misery they are feeling. This can certainly take its toll on mental and physical health.
But all of that aside, let’s discuss the “elephant in the room.” Chronic illness and chronic pain is not an easy burden to bear. It comes with so many ups and downs, and days of uncertainty. I think if you ask anyone suffering any of these conditions, they struggle to find any silver lining in the cloud of chronic pain/illness. There already has been, and will certainly be, days where you just don’t want to face it anymore, days when the thought of trying to participate in life, while feeling utterly miserable, just feels like more trouble than it’s worth. Days where you just look at the ceiling and think. Think about life, think about love, and think about what life has in store for you.
Chronic pain/illness is also a very lonely condition. So many tears are shed, and so many plans have had to be canceled because of pain, fatigue, or anything else that taps you from who you are. So now, life moving forward. Let me ask this, how many of you have ever felt like, “if I don’t wake up tomorrow, that’s ok, I don’t have to think about my pain, I don’t have to “feel” anymore. For many of us who suffer the debilitating effects of chronic pain, any day that we don’t have to deal with or struggle with chronic pain may feel like a vacation. But then looking at our daily life and, long therm, our possible plans, well, how can we plan a life around this?!?!?!
Most of us look forward to a life full of plans. Family, fun, adventure, and living. However, when chronic pain or illness enter the picture, all of those things come to a screeching halt. The life we once looked forward to living suddenly becomes a living hell that we try to grapple through and survive. We wake up day in and day out wondering what kind of day we are going to have. Will I be able to accomplish anything today or will I be spending my day in the arms of heating pads or ice packs and laid up in bed or on the couch? Eventually this pain takes its toll physically and especially mentally.
We are in a hole that we just can’t crawl out of anymore. The peace and joy we once faced the day with turns into dread and defeat. Everyday becomes a chore. A chore to get out of bed, a chore to take a shower, a chore to get anything done. Then the guilt and worthlessness sinks in. I’m not able to provide money for my family’s well-being, I’m not able to take care of my home so my family has a clean space to come home to, I’m not always able to put in that happy face and fake that everything is ok.
I just can’t live this life this way anymore. I can’t continue to “just survive” and be ok with his life I’m pretending to live. Chronic pain and chronic illness are killing me. They make me not want to wake up in the morning to face yet another day filled with pain and misery. But then my family comes home, we have supper together, we talk, laugh, and enjoy being together.
The smiles on their faces, the concern when they know I hurt, the things they do to try to help me feel better so I can continue to participate in life, and life with them. These are the things that keep me going and realize there is something worth living for.
A sunny beautiful morning, crisp fall air, an amazing full moon, and a soft peaceful snowfall are also reasons to get up every day. To be able to enjoy the little things in life is what it’s about. Look for that one thing in each and every day that makes it with the pain to get out of bed. Chronic pain my be killing me, but I won’t let it win.
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