The annoying endurance of chronic pain.

I suffer from chronic pain. My version is neuralgia. Neuralgia is a “stabbing, burning, and often severe pain due to an irritated or damaged nerve.” The nerve(s) can be anywhere in the body. Mine are in my head. I have trouble with my left and right trigeminal nerves caused by damage I sustained in a car accident twenty-three years ago.

I should’ve held out for a bigger insurance settlement.

Neuralgia is agonizing. I struggle to find the words that will explain how truly awful it is. Misery. Agony. Torture. Unbearable. Insane.

It’s like having a pickaxe slam into my head at random intervals twenty-four hours a day for close to a week. It near to makes me crazy at times.

I function when it flares. I take my pills. I get up. I go out, I do things, I write. I don’t exercise much but mostly I carry on with life. Albeit with a degree of bitching and moaning. But I carry on. Which means, the people in my circle, the people I encounter, don’t think it’s all that bad.

And when I can’t pull it together, when I can’t rise above the pain to think much less function and instead beg off visits and plans, they get testy. There is a downside to soldiering on. People fail to appreciate the magnitude of the struggle.

But what am I supposed to do? Take to my bed for a week every month or three weeks? Because that’s how often I get attacks. Ten to fifteen times a year, a week’s duration on average, for twenty-three years. Should I give up that much of my life to prove that I suffer? What good would that do? How, exactly, would it serve me?

It doesn’t surprise me that neuralgia is among the leading causes of suicide with chronic pain sufferers. It is utterly brutal.

There is a surgical treatment available. You can have the nerves severed. Possible side effects include trouble swallowing, trouble breathing, and facial paralysis. I have not signed up.

I get that other people’s problems are not our problems. My pain is my issue. And, I deal with it. But I wish sometimes that people wouldn’t assume I’m overreacting or have a low pain threshold. No Susan, I’m not that desperate for attention. No, I’m not faking it or courting drama. And yes, your cousin’s neighbour’s sister’s migraines sound absolutely awful too.

I don’t need sympathy. Okay, maybe a little. Coddling when you feel punk is nice. But understanding would be okay too. If I never here the question, “again?” when I tell people I’m suffering a flare-up, that’d be great. Chronic actually means chronic.

I get that my pain is a source of irritation and frustration for those around me. I’m sorry that people with chronic conditions are an inconvenience. But perhaps instead of getting irritated and impatient, people could try empathy. I get that other people’s problems can be difficult and inconvenient for people.

How do you think people who are actually feel suffering feel?

Be kind. You never know what someone is going through.

14 thoughts on “The annoying endurance of chronic pain.

  1. You never know what someone is going through is so true, I’m sorry to hear about your pain Em. I used to work with a girl who had Fibromyalgia and after a while I had trouble being sympathetic and got frustrated with not being there when I needed her.

    I tell myself I can deal with psychical pain easily vs mental pain but I don’t really know to your degree.

    Take good care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear that you suffer from neuralgia. It’s one of the worst types of chronic pain because your control options are severely limited and mostly ineffective. I am sure you have researched every possible avenue of pain management so I’ll spare you the unsolicited advice. My witnessing of people in chronic pain has shown me how totally altered a person can become and that’s really sad to me. So true- we never know what is going on in someone’s world. Thanks for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry to hear that neuralgia is causing you so much pain and suffering. If only people would take the time to consider that people with chronic conditions will repeatedly suffer.

    I’m experiencing a form of insomnia at the moment, and it’s been for several months. A friend of mine knows, and I spoke to him yesterday about it. His response was “you had a good night’s sleep a couple of weeks ago. Instead of validating my experience he attempted to convince me that a rare night’s sleep is good enough. Validation is all that I need.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “But I carry on. Which means, the people in my circle, the people I encounter, don’t think it’s all that bad.” That. How insane is this? I have people believing that there is nothing wrong with me and that another person is absolutely dying just because “they can’t get out of bed.” … I will not turn this into a negative rant.

    I hope that today it’s not painful for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Trying to cope with chronic pain, and enjoy ones existence becomes a juggling act. The anticipation of ones next unbearable episode of pain, weighs heavily on the mind. The Term; “Unless you’ve walked a mile in my shoes”, does apply here. Because, we can be judged by those around us for their own inability to see our pain. And, when the balls come crashing down onto the floor, we alone…are stuck to pick them up.

    Liked by 1 person

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