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What Does Chronic Pain Really Feel Like?

Posted on February 16, 2017

It isn't always easy to put into words the pain we feel everyday. It helps to talk about it with others who understand, so we asked our friend and blogger Bridie to describe chronic pain in her own words. Here's what she said:

From the outside looking in, it's unnoticeable, it's invisible, it's ordinary, it's nothing to muse over because it's not directly and plainly problematic to the population. For me, it's waking up exhausted, it's attempting to continue my daily schedule exhausted, it's going to bed exhausted, it's being so exhausted you can't sleep for the malaise. It's having no control over how you'll feel. It's making the decision of taking a break away from desolation to enjoy yourself knowing full well you'll suffer for a recurring period afterwards. It's questioning whether it's worth it. It's applying makeup and savouring style because putting on a mask means it's easier to hide, right? It's a "yes, I'm fine thank you, how are you?" whilst smiling away the devil's agony gnawing away at the snippets of your skin.

It's having people speak on your behalf as if you're an illusion unable to answer for themselves. It's being told how you feel and having no fight left in you to tell the responder they're wrong. It's the disconcerting reality of having no escape route, no cure, no positive progression. It's never finding the right words to explain, to erase the prejudice and bring some understanding to people who have no idea. It's dealing with ignorance. It's the misinformed perceptions. It's the strain on relationships. It's cancelling plans. It's counting down until you can reach home, turn off the false happy face, stop pretending and crumble in the only space you feel secure. It's always needing to prove this is happening. It's the fear of not being believed.

It's the emptiness on the inside but the hammering on the exterior. It's the vivid emotion. It's the sadness. It's the isolation. It's the worry. It's the misery. It's the anger. It's the guilt. It's the paranoia. It's the envy of normality. It's the avoidance. It's forgetting how you used to identify. It's the elevation slowly breaking away a piece of confidence and worth. It's not feeling sorry for yourself but not feeling proud either. It's a game of yo-yo. It's not knowing what it feels like to be pain free. It's making the most of every moment but still experiencing the wrath anyway. It's a delayed reaction. It's exhilarating a breath of fresh air as you have a brief relief only for it to return with intense force. It's being struck down with a sedative. It's being enclosed in a glass case of woe. It's the constant struggle. It's desperation. It's the obstacles. It's the setbacks. It's the barriers. It's the stop on regularity. It's the disruption of balance. It's motivation levels reaching zero. It's the strength you never knew you had. It's being a coping extraordinaire. It's not giving yourself enough credit.

It's the nagging in your ear that won't go away. It's never eloping your attention. It's holding everything in until you're ready to falter, unfold, and explode. It's the way your body feels like concrete; movements causing pain, environmental factors causing pain, a trigger to the mood causing pain, anything causing pain. It's the takeover. It's the unforgivable. It's being a human stuck inside a misfortune. It's having the weight constantly on your shoulder. It's the battle of medication and doctors appointments. It's having to rely on somebody else. It's not being able to continue with what you had in mind because resting is the only option.

It's the steps backward outweighing the forward. It's having no set protocol to make it better. It's wanting to give up but having no choice but to carry on. It's tears that get washed away by the desire to fight. It's setting yourself up for failure. It's the fiery attack that drains you of every inch of energy. It's the overload of senses. It's the reflection staring back at you protesting against hope. It's taking years to build yourself up only for one single thing to destroy every self made improvement. It's having someone think they hold the power to inform you of your capabilities when even you're not sure of what you stand for anymore. It's the rawness of the limits. It's constantly being held back. It's a 23-year-old living as a 90-year-old. It's life.


I'm sorry to be so morbid on a miserable Monday that requires optimism, but lately I've been lumbered with the effects of this persistent horror more than ever. It's not just the pain itself, it's the baggage that comes with it, and when I feel as though it's ready to break me, that's when I feel it necessary to spill my thoughts onto a page. Of course I also hope it speaks to the hearts of those who suffer with chronic pain because if anyone knows how much comfort some knowledge can bring and how sharing your ordeal with someone else who requires a voice, it's me. On that note, I wish you all a good week ahead. Remember: Love and best wishes will always be a reason to look forward to tomorrow.

How would you describe chronic pain? Comment below:

Bridie is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger and occasional writer from the city of Leeds, UK. She is a teen stroke survivor living with central pain syndrome. As well as enjoying her passions, Bridie is striving to raise awareness and erase misconceptions about chronic health conditions. She takes each day as it comes and enjoys life to the limit her pain allows; seeing friends and family, travelling, photographing, and sharing her daily musings over on her website.

A MyChronicPainTeam Member said:

I am feeling exactly the same thing. Ur right when u said it's knowing others are with you. I'm 52 now so I think my body is 187. Too much pain for too long. Diagnosed with arthritis when I was 2. My… read more

posted 15 days ago

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