Pain can disguise itself in many different forms. It can come in the middle of the night when you least expect it or hit you like a championship boxer and knock you off your feet. Whatever the intensity of the pain is, there is a common trait: It hurts.
I can still remember what it was like to carry both my daugthers during pregnancy, but what I don’t remember is what the labor pains felt like. I know I had them, but for some reason all I remember is the end result. Not that either pregnancy was easy, I just recall feeling like it was all worth while.
But looking at my everyday struggles with pain, I realize there will never be a big payoff in the end. Yes, I may be stronger or it might make me a better person, but did I really have to suffer in order to accomplish that?
I am angered when I hear others talk about having a cold and they act as if their world is going to end. Or they use the term, “Kill me now” to describe being sick.
If they only knew that I would give anything for something as small as the flu. I would give anything for a curable infection as opposed to a lifetime of hurt.
When a person compares their circumstances with that of someone else who is in a worse situation, they learn to appreciate what they have. Both the bad and the good. I’ve learned to do the same. Getting so much feedback from readers or people I meet helps me realize my life could be harder. I could be fighting alone or not have access to medications I need in order to function.
I know no one will ever fully understand my life or the emotional roller coaster I am on, but there is such a thing as sympathy. Instead of giving a person who parks in the handicap spot at the grocery store a disgusted look, try to understand that they may be fighting to hide their disability from others but obviously a doctor felt they were in need of a handicapped card.
Disabled people are not only found among the elderly, they are everywhere around us. You can see the pain in their eyes, the tears they’re fighting back or the sadness that rocks their very core.
Some days I can be completely fine one minute and then find myself crying because my two year old tells me, “You’re not my best friend anymore.”
It isn’t her words that hurt, it’s the snowball of emotions I’ve carried for far too long.
I feel like I need to cry to start the healing process, but as my husband has pointed out he doesn’t always know what to do when I cry. So I feel torn and prefer to hide my sadness and frustration.
I don’t know what hurts more, the physical pain from my auto immune diseases or the emotional pain. Some days they have the same effect on me, while on others I would rather be emotionally numb because there is no pill to help me cope with that part of my life.
One thing is certain, pain has no boundaries. It prefers no race, age or gender and doesn’t care if you have children or a family you need to care for.
So before you hurt someone with your comments, judgement or disregard, remember that you could be in the same boat someday. I lived 22 years pain free and now I know what so many individuals cope with on a daily basis. Don’t hurt those of us who are already suffering.
Arlene Grau lives in Lakewood, California. She suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, migraine, vasculitis, and Sjogren’s disease.
The information in this column is not intended to be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Only your doctor can do that! It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s personal experiences and opinions alone. It does not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of National Pain Report or Microcast Media.