Time To Talk About Pain
I’ve just taken some pain relief medication which means I’ve got about thirty minutes before I start feeling woozy and this post descends into nonsense.
I’ve been catching up with writing and putting off taking painkillers so I can focus. But this is the last post I need to get done and since it’s about pain it felt appropriate to do it while waiting for the medication to kick in.
For the last year or so I’ve been experiencing intense pain in my lower back and hips. It’s a creeping pain that lurks deep within my body. It’s not so agonising that I can’t move, but when it sets in it’s constant, wearing, and impossible to ignore.
It’s become a feature of my daily life. I’ve spoken to my doctor and had some great support from my local hospital’s physiotherapy team, but so far what’s causing it and what can be done long term hasn’t been identified.
The only medication that helps has a significant impact on how alert I am, which means I’m reluctant to take it at work. Yesterday I was in a lot of discomfort from early on but I had a performance to do in the afternoon so I put off taking any medication until afterwards.
Over the last year I’ve had to adjust to having this gnawing pain whether I’m working or out socially. It doesn’t suddenly get worse if I move, so other people are unlikely to notice anything unless I tell them. But it’s hard to know if, when, or how to do that.
Nowadays I always explain my tics to people straight away – after all they’re hard to miss. But up until recently the only people I’ve talked to about pain are my support workers and Leftwing Idiot. In fact even with them I don’t really talk, it’s more of a grumble.
I’ve realised that it’s not just the pain that’s wearing me out but also the impulse I feel to cover it up. But this pressure is something I know I have the power to ease, so from today I’m making the following promises to myself:
– To talk openly about pain with people around me so they can understand and support me.
– To develop new language that communicates what I’m experiencing rather than relying on wincing and groaning to express my discomfort.
– To adjust my day and my expectations if I’m struggling – this might mean changing my plans, taking medication or doing something in a different way.
– To keep pushing to understand why this pain might be happening and to be open to trying things that might help reduce it.
That’s about all I can manage for now because I’m just starting to feel the medication kicking in.
Chronic pain is a relatively new part of my experience and I’m aware that there are many people for whom this is a much more familiar part of their lives. Please do share your own thoughts, perspectives or any advice below.