A woman living with pain and uncertainty shares her secrets to living life to the fullest in all circumstances.
My friend Allie lives with chronic, often debilitating pain. She has been to many doctors to find out her cause but there is no answer and no diagnosis.It is painful to see her suffering and she sees the invisible world of illness. let me point Recently, I asked her a few questions about her life with chronic pain in hopes that her experience and her wisdom could help others in similar situations.
What does your chronic pain look like on a daily basis?
Honestly, the last two years, every day has been different. Currently, there is a lot of joint pain and it is difficult for me to walk on my own. I am out of balance and very stiff. Plus, I have dizziness, so I get dizzy. I have severe headaches and head pains once or twice a week. And in response to stimulus overload, my body does something akin to seizures and fainting.
For example, after listening to loud noises, the body often becomes immobile. I collapsed and couldn’t move for 15 minutes to an hour. It’s not necessarily painful, but not being in control of my body is mentally challenging and jeopardizes doing many of the things I love to do.
What’s the hard part about living with unexplained chronic pain that people don’t understand or see?
With invisible chronic disease and pain, I may seem perfectly normal all the time, but in reality I feel bad all the time and have no end in sight. I think it should be explained. Especially since I don’t quite understand it myself and it varies from day to day. Sometimes the pain is so bad that I have to cancel an appointment at short notice, but I look fine but confused. Also, I don’t have a diagnosis, so it’s very difficult to explain the lack of answers or the way I speak.
What are some ways you can support a friend or loved one who is in a similar situation as you?
Ultimately, people travel with me and help me by being flexible. There will be bad days and good days, and you never know when they will come. Already in so much pain, having to cancel plans or not being able to do something feels terrible. This journey can be very isolating, so any supportive and flexible method, such as having a conversation or spending time with someone with a chronic illness, is helpful. For example, if you have an appointment with someone and you have to cancel it, offer to come to that person and sit with them instead.
What methods have you found to cope with your daily life?
First, get lots of rest. Rest (not necessarily sleep) is a chronically ill patient’s best friend. Second, check your outlook. Many coping is your way of thinking. I worked 40 hours a week, had a vibrant social life, and he worked out at the gym five times a week, cooked a lot, and transitioned into a painful and very different life. Now I have to do another less active job. I can’t exercise because of my symptoms. You cannot drive long distances to visit friends or family. I also can’t cook much because I’m in danger of picking up a knife or passing out in front of a stove. When you look at your previous life compared to your current life, your head space tends to be negative.
So to deal with it, you have to stay positive. Remember what your body can do. Say something like, “I woke up today and washed the dishes” or “I was able to go for a walk today!” Third, offer your suffering to others. Ask God to use this suffering to help others. And last but not least, ask for help!
How has this unexplained pain affected your relationship with God?
There was a time when I was angry with God because I had a narrow view of how much pain I was in, and then I moved away from Him. But I also have good days where I am very grateful and remember that he has a plan and that I am okay and provided. That’s not all.
Surrender novenas are a big part of my prayers, surrendering my pains, frustrations, and everything I have to Jesus. . I try to choose one person each day to provide my pain for them.
What would you say to someone else experiencing chronic pain?
Don’t believe the lies of the world when it comes to your worth. It’s so easy to feel “less than”. A fulfilling life is a painful life. A life with chronic pain is still a life worth living. Everyone is different, but this is your journey. Please accept it. It’s okay to be upset on a bad day. But try to rejoice in your good days. Seize every moment and recognize the blessings of being alive. This life is fleeting compared to eternity. Oh, and ask for help!