I have never really considered myself the activist type.
Let me rephrase that: Until the Opioid ‘Crisis’ I never considered myself the activist type.
Now, I won’t shut up.
I knew what I was going through since weaning off my meds in 2017. I didn’t think things would spiral into the depths of hell for too many in the chronic pain community. I’m not sure that anyone could have foreseen what the situation has become.
Doctors getting arrested for doing their job.
Doctors quitting practicing medicine because they don’t want to practice in a world that won’t let them really help their patients with their conditions.
Stage 4 Cancer patients being told to take a Tylenol.
The death of compassion.
Watching as the powers-that-be still find a way to point their fingers at the chronic pain community because certainly, one of us must have freely given up our meds so that the addicts would become addicted.
Pardon the double negative that there’s absolutely no recognition of the addicts that we are not.
How could I not become an activist?
I cannot find a doctor who is willing to treat my chronic pain. They are too scared.
I’m tired of being collateral damage. How could I not find my voice?
I’m still in pain. The media talk daily about the ‘Crisis’ in language that doesn’t include the chronic pain community—millions of people who have become the victims of this abominable government behavior.
My friends are suffering as well. We vaguely remember the days where we picked up our prescriptions once a month. Where we could schedule that stop into a day of running errands because – ironically – we were allowed to medicate. We were allowed to not be in horrific pain every day. We could do normal things. We were functional.
Let me say this again—We were still in pain, but we were able to function responsibly.
Now, if we even had that luxury of some degree of pain relief, we might be able to pull off a functional life.
Without our meds though?
Not so much.
Functioning in constant pain sucks. Functioning while being judged for things that we haven’t done and for being people who truly are not is even worse.
It makes me angry. But I realize that anger and frustration is healthier than letting the hatred build.
Sometimes, I feel like I don’t have the guts to keep going.
Sometimes the pain just becomes too much.
Then I find myself sitting up in pain in the middle of the night. My brain going a mile a minute. Feeling the familiar urge to write, and grateful for the distraction. Distraction is a poor substitute for what little pain relief we were able to get from our meds.
However, I feel like if I don’t write, my pain won’t just be physical any more. If I don’t at least try to be heard, then I will just be worthless collateral damage and feeling worthless isn’t okay with me. Despite everything, I feel driven to speak out.
How far will they go though, this Government of ours? Our doctors are getting arrested for prescribing because they are trying to doctor. Will they try to silence the activists next?
We only want to get the truth out there. Are they going to want to stop us too?
Hasn’t there been enough collateral damage already?
Editor’s Note—if you are doing something to try and influence local, state or federal officials, please let us know: Email the editor: email@example.com
Denise Hedley was initially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2009. Her condition has worsened, and was diagnosed with bilateral RSD in January, 2019. She also suffers from Osteoarthritis, 2 herniated discs, and Systemic Lupus Erythematosis. She is a frequent and valued contributor to the National Pain Report.