Chronic Pain: I’m Gonna Hurt No Matter What I Do

No matter what I do in life, it is going to hurt.

At every given moment, my entire body is in pain.

Walking, getting dressed, putting on my makeup, typing up this article, crooking my little finger at you…it all hurts. Everything hurts. All of the time.

I look just like any other healthy, happy woman in her early thirties.

But I could calmly sit across from you and tell you that right now, my pain is approaching a seven out of ten.

I could calmly tell you that my joints are pulsing, my arms and legs are burning with a fire that is never extinguished, and the fatigue, well, don’t even get me started on that!

I could smile at you as I said all of this, laugh, probably grimace a little at the irony of it all, then go back to smiling.

I could calmly tell you that despite the pain, I have worked today.

I met a friend for coffee and lost myself in the joys of chatter, cake and a cuppa tea for a couple of hours. I even went to the beach for a long soak in the ocean.

If you didn’t know me you would probably be left scratching your head and saying, “WTF? How can she be in ALL THAT pain and still do that stuff?”

Because I can.

  • What you don’t know is that working is a welcome distraction for me and a key element of my chronic pain management.
  • What you don’t see is the energy and determination it took for me to get out of bed and greet the day, much less show up for work and engage my brain to actually be productive.
  • What you can’t comprehend is that the simple act of lifting the tiny teapot containing my scrumptious soy chai latte caused the fire in my arm to flare with a vengeance.
  • What you don’t hear is the constant internal pep talks to keep myself moving forwards.
  • What you don’t hear is the scream of frustration, you don’t see the smarting of tears, when the overwhelm threatens to take over.

It doesn’t make me brave to be able to tell people this. It’s not a badge of honour that I wear.

It doesn’t mean people should jump to conclusions about my pain thresholds or the ‘realness’ of my situation.

It doesn’t make me the poster girl for inspiration because I can somehow function under high levels of pain when there are others who can’t.

It’s simply my reality.

I take calculated risks – the analysis that goes on in my head before I undertake anything cannot be underestimated – and I make informed choices everyday to live fully, balancing treatments and chronic pain management.

So yes, that often means that I make my own pain levels worse.

I’m not a sucker for punishment. I don’t enjoy making my pain worse.

But I do enjoy being able to live my life on my terms.

And the way I see it, pain isn’t a deal breaker or barrier for me to live my best life.

“As long as you make an identify for yourself out of pain, you cannot be free of it.”

– Eckhart Tolle.

I came across an article last week on The Mighty by Meghan Bayer, “Why I do things that make my chronic pain worse, that goes to the very heart of this matter.

I was fist-pumping and yelling ‘YES!’ as I read Meghan’s piece.  

I completely understand why she does the things she does on a daily basis and why she embarks on exciting adventures that can cause days, weeks or even months of consequences.

There isn’t a whole lot of other choice available when this is your lot in life!

I have lived with constant, chronic pain every day for the past 11 years.

That’s right, 11 years.

I’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to not be in pain.

The scary part is no longer the pain itself, it is the knowledge that the pain may never stop.

The knowledge that I will still be hurting tomorrow, will probably be hurting in a year, and will quite possibly be hurting for the rest of my life.

Not exactly a thrilling prospect, now is it?

Which is exactly why chronic pain can’t be the obstacle that stops me from living my best life.

As Meghan so eloquently put it, “So if we sit around waiting for the pain medications to kick in or our pain to break completely, we are wasting valuable time in our short lives for relief that may never come.”

I’m gonna hurt no matter what I do.

So the way I see it, I can either sit at home, feel sorry for myself and be all-consumed by the pain, or I can make the best of my situation and do the things that make me happy.

Even if the things that make me happy also make my pain worse.

Happy and in chronic pain or extremely unhappy and in chronic pain?

I’ve made my choice. What is yours?

Like this post? Then share it!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

All photos and content the property of Starbrite Warrior and Bree Hogan. Not to be reproduced without permission.

101 Replies to “Chronic Pain: I’m Gonna Hurt No Matter What I Do”

  1. Hi mrs bree… i am dr yanie, we’ve met in Bali…your writing is amazing, i wish to share this to some of my friends and colleagues who has a lot of pain because of their disease, hopefully this will encourages them a lot to keep struggle while in pain, no words coupd help them to ease the pain but now with your writing i believe some words could help them to cope and embrace it well, especially if it were comes from the people who had it all the times, you know how they will feel and how they will need not just painkiller, more than that to leave as normal as you can while in pain. Thank you!

    1. Hi Dr Yanie, of course I remember you! I can’t thank you enough for all your help with my Mum, you were so kind and caring, sitting with her when she was so unwell. I will never forget it.

      Thank you so much for your praise of my writing. I hope that sharing my words with your friends and colleagues helps other people in similar situations to find some comfort/hope/solace.

      All the best! Bree xx

    1. Thanks Ashley, I’m smiling over here at your “love this!” comment. I’m sorry you can relate to what I’ve written – cos that means you live with chronic pain, too – but I’m glad you stumbled across this post. Sending hugs xx

  2. Fantastic article, Bree! I’m fist pumping too! Actually, sitting here reading this while I’m waiting for a couple of friends to show up so that I can drive them to an event a couple of hours away. Evenings are always tough for me with pain levels going up and energy going down, so I was beating myself up for once again volunteering to be the driver. Your post was just what I needed right now!

    1. Thank you Paula 🙂 I’m glad it provided you with what you needed in that moment.

      And I hear ya re: evenings, with pain levels going up and energy going down. I hope the long drive was ok and didn’t put you into a flare. Xx

  3. I read your post (but not the 80ish comments) and while I too suffer from occasional joint pain, I can’t imagine what it would be like to have it ALL the time. I have had a lot of my previous medical conditions, that as a child no one could correctly diagnose, completely eliminated since becoming Vegan. And every now and again, I have excruciating back pain from sitting at my desk all day writing and researching, but if I rub coconut oil on my back, yes, I know weird, but I don’t take OTC meds, so everything is holistic in our house. Anyway..the pain goes from a 10 to about a 2 within a few minutes. Not trying to say that your pain is cure-able, or preventable, since your post did not explain the reason behind it, if there is one…just something possible to try or think about. Good luck in the future. 🙂

    Candace

    1. Hi Candace, thanks so much for stopping by to share some of your story. I actually went vegan over 5 years ago now because of my medical issues and honestly, it was the best decision I could have ever made for my body and my situation. I know I would be in a lot worse shape if I hadn’t taken that path. I also love coconut oil, I use it in my cooking all the time and I slap it all over my body. Unfortunately it doesn’t do anything for my pain but it does help to hydrate my skin and its elasticity. All the best, Bree 🙂

  4. Great article, so true, very well written. Wish everyone would read this and understand. So tired of people talking behind my back, because they cannot see what is going on in my joints, my nervous system and the pain responses in my brain. I’m not at the point yet of not caring about what anyone else thinks, even though I know it doesn’t matter on the rational level.
    I also push myself to live as normal as I can, which makes people totally not understand. How could there possibly be something wrong with her? She must be just crazy. Yes, I overheard my neighbors grown son say that.
    I’m going to be out in the world though, going to learn to run again (my 11 year old is coaching me on walks through the wood paths.)
    Not able to hold a job yet, since my memory is still pretty off too, besides the physical pain.
    Bree, you are a great writer and a great inspiration for all of us with invisible illnesses, well at least invisible until I walk into a wall or fall on my face, lol.

    1. Thank you for your lovely kind words Dagmar and for sharing your personal story and struggles on this page. I know it will help other people to see that they aren’t alone in this chronic pain battle!

      It’s such a tough situation, isn’t it? When people can’t see what is going on inside our bodies, even though on the outside we may look relatively ok. To be constantly questioned and made to feel like a fraud. It can seem like we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

      I love how you are still determined to get out in the world and live your best life. Good luck with the woods walking and your running goal, what a lovely supportive kid you have in your 11-year old! 🙂

      Lol, your line about “invisible until I walk into a wall or fall on my face,” gave me a good giggle because it is so true (and we’ve gotta have humour and laugh about it, don’t we?). I do both things we alarming regularity…whoops! Xx

    1. Yup I agree, Katie! I saw a cool quote while scrolling through Facebook today that kind of sums it up: “Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.” (Unknown)

    1. Wow thank you so much Heather! I’m very humbled by your words, all of them. I just might submit this one yet. Xx

  5. I suffer from something different, but I relate to all of this. Sometimes I think the hardest thing about suffering from a chronic condition is how everyone else seems to forget you suffer from it – except for you. You can get through your daily life, but even still, there can be limits – something not everyone understands. I admire that you’ve learned to live with your condition so well. I’m nearly there, too 🙂

    1. Hi Chrisy, thank you so much for reaching out and contributing to this discussion.

      You are absolutely right, the hardest part is that we never forget what is going on inside our bodies – how could we possibly? – but the outside world often does. Usually because on the surface we don’t look sick or in pain or any of the above and so people just naturally forget – even if they don’t mean to. I don’t think it means they stop caring – at least when it comes to family and friends – I just think it becomes so much a part of the norm, of everyday life, and when we are seen to be ‘coping’ with it all, it’s just part of human nature to move onto the next thing that is immediately obvious. Then when you have a really bad day it’s almost like “Woah! Where did that come from?” and you’re like “It’s always there, today it’s just a bit more visible and I’m letting it OUT!”

      Sending smiles and happy vibes your way, Bree xx

      1. This is so true, and hits a nerve. Almost everyone I love and hold dear forgets (frequently!) that I’m constantly in pain. It’s difficult sometimes for me to -not- get angry at them when I’m in so much pain, and push myself to be with them (most times to the point where I pay dearly for it later)…but it’s also a confirmation to me of how I’m not allowing the pain to lord over me like some narcissistic pain-in-the-arse! …And yes, I visualize my pain as a Disney-esque villain and myself as a princess who won’t allow it to take her down without a fight! Lol!

        1. I love the imagery you invoke with the Disney-esque villain and princess scenario! I totally do the same!

          You’re right Christina, even our closest family and friends can forget the level of pain that we live with. I don’t believe it’s intentional, I just think that it becomes such a part of everyday life that it starts to fade into the background. Particularly when we are outwardly happy and are adept at just getting on with things. Then it’s a sudden slap in the face reminder for them when the cracks do start to appear. The roller coaster ride that is chronic pain management! Xx

  6. I have chronic back pain, and understand what you are going through. Keeping your mind off of the inevitable/actual is the best thing to do at times. I’ve tried so many different therapies, injections, etc and am trying to not have to go in for surgery at this point. Stay strong – you definitely sound like a strong woman to me!

    1. Hi Dana, it’s lovely to virtually ‘meet’ you. 🙂

      I empathise with what you go through with your chronic back pain. The list of treatments just keep adding up as you roll through one after the other in an attempt to find relief. I hope that you can find a workable solution in the very near future that isn’t super risky and invasive for you.

      Take care, Bree

  7. All so true, and I love your approach to this. I feel the same! I go to events and such I know will cause flareups, because the condition will only worsen over time and I don’t want to look back in ten years and wish I had done XXX when my body would have allowed it a little more

    1. Thank you Yiasza. It is a tough one to mediate, isn’t it? How much is too much, could I do a little bit more today, what will be the consequences of doing that? Etc etc. Some days we strike it lucky, other days it’s a big “Whoops! Sh!t! [Insert other expletive], overdid it a wee bit much today!” type scenario. Bree xx

    1. Thank you Justin. Chronic pain is definitely not enjoyable – understatement of the century, lol! – and the more we can help people to understand what goes on behind the scenes with this largely invisible illness, the better. Take care, Bree

    1. Thank you Georgianna. You’ve certainly got a few illnesses to contend with in your health bag – it often seems like where there is one autoimmune condition there will be more that come along! Stay strong. Bree xx

    1. Thank you Frugal Mom. My hope is that if this post can help to educate more people as to what life can be like for those of us who live with chronic pain, that there will be more understanding and compassion for this largely invisible illness.

      You mentioned that this was your life for 6 years, does that mean that your chronic pain has either subsided significantly or gone altogether? If so, what a wonderful thing for you, that’s amazing! It’s always so refreshing to hear a good-news story, particularly when someone has battled with chronic pain for so many years. Xx

  8. So true, its all in the voices we make – to choose or not to choose to be happy! You are really brave and strong for pushing yourself and choosing to stay happy through your pain and discomfort in life!! More power and love to you.
    xx, Kusum

    1. Thank you Kusum. The choice to be happy isn’t always an easy one – and isn’t always possible, some days! – but by and large, it’s what I choose to focus on as it makes me feel better. Bree xx

  9. This post is wonderful. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like to live with Chronic pain, but I can imagine the kind of strength you must have because it emanates through your writing and your positivity.

    xxox
    Laura

    1. Thank you Laura, what a lovely thing for you to say about my writing and the way my message comes through. Beaming smile over here, Xx

  10. i have been living with chronic pain, diffused axonal brain injury, nerve damage, ptsd, post concussion syndrome and of course secondary depression,anxiety for 6 years now after being rear ended while stopped at a red light. my entire life stopped at that moment and i was given a different life. my pain is always at a severe level. i get 30 nerve blocking injections every week to help ease the pain so i can continue to push forward and do the best i can every day. i’ve been told “why dont you just try not to feel it” along with many other hurtful statements.people commenting about me using an electric cart at walmart instead of walking like everybody else. they think because i look young and strong and “normal” that it must all just be in my mind. “c’mon how can u be in pain all the time, its only pain just push through it!”. the comments are very hurtful. i’ve been a perfectionist my entire life and now my best is not good enough anymore. even my work insurance treats me like i’m full of shit. its like being imprisoned and tortured inside yourself, then forced to live at the mercy of a world that has NO MERCY. i stopped going to parent teacher interview because of the other kids teasing my boys about having a crippled up mother. and now with 4 children ranging from 20 years to 2 years all of our lives have been affected on a daily/nightly basis. i’ve learned that through all of it theres a little spark of hope that keeps you pushing forward and yes my 100% now is comparable to my 20% post accident. but that is the best that i can do and when i’m told thats not good enough its heart breaking. i’ve learned that sometimes these days more often than not i need help from other people. to go from completely independent to completely dependent on other people.

    1. Hi Polly, thank you so much for stopping by to say hi and to share some of your story on these pages. You have certainly been put through the wringer with the ramifications of your accident 6 years ago. I’ve had a nerve block procedure in the past but I couldn’t begin to imagine what you go through having 30 nerve block injections per week. You are a warrior!

      My heart goes out to you Polly that you are on the receiving end of so many hurtful comments and so much disbelief about your condition. The comments that you describe are thoughtless and hurtful and exactly why we need to get the message about chronic pain out there on a bigger scale. I’ve heard them all before too, more times than I care to remember. Most people can’t understand what they can’t see and haven’t directly experienced themselves. It almost beggars belief that the human body can be in chronic pain for 24/7 and yet still function, so until people actually experience it for themselves (and we’d never wish it on our worst enemy!) they just don’t get it. Which doesn’t help those of us who live with it all day, everyday. I found that being young and in chronic pain is one of the worst combinations for tolerance, particularly when, as you say, you can look relatively ‘normal’ on the outside, even though your body is screaming at you on the inside. It’s the iceberg and Titanic all over again!

      We can only do the best we can, some days that will look like more and some days it will be not so much, but that comes with the territory of chronic pain and it’s ever-changing, unpredictable nature. I’m sure you can relate to this – even on days where I haven’t done much, and didn’t do anything the day before to induce a flare, I can just wake up and know that it’s going to be a bad pain day. For no other reason than it simply IS. Frustrating beyond belief!

      It can be a hard thing to swallow that we need help to do things in our everyday life. I rebelled against it a lot in the early days but I am more accepting of it now because it saves my energy to do the things that are important to me. And my family and friends want to help, it’s one of the few things they can actually do for me and feel useful – because it’s bloody hard for them to watch from the sidelines and know there isn’t anything they can do to take the pain away.

      Sending a big virtual hug your way. Bree xx

  11. Thank you Bree. You have hit the nail on the head! I’ve been moping around for months feeling sorry for myself, being in pain.
    If I’m in pain doing nothing, I may as well get pain doing something worthwhile!
    I’m not saying I’m going to join a gym or run a marathon, just enjoy life rather than just existing!
    Thank you!

    1. I’m right there with you on the no marathon or joining a gym either, Lisa! A bit beyond my body’s current abilities me-thinks – unless fellow gym goers want to see a human puddle on the floor that is Bree, lol!

      We want to get out there and live life to the best of our ability, but it still needs to be within the body’s realm of physical possibility. The trick is working out what those limits/ranges are – not easy when it has a huge degree of variability about it and changes all the time! All the best with your journey, Bree xx

  12. It’s been a long haul journey here to with Fibro. In my early days I was able to push through my days with pain but the Fatigue was huge for me. Now my body is worse, I know longer have my legs with me which is a bummer but I do get out when I am able with a crutch/s. It will hurt like hell, but I still smile. Folk will remark on how quickly my face drains of colour and I look awful but that’s just part of the pain drain process, the body’s way of coping with the pain, just like the volcanic heat eruptions when the pain gets to much or the fits that come on. It’s just part of the Fibro. I do have reduced days where my physical abilities are very limited now, but when able I’m out there pushing it. High Fives to those that still have the gumption to push and live and experience life physically getting out there when they can.

    1. Hi Debz, thank you for reaching out and sharing some of your story.

      You sound like one heck of a determined person! What a warrior. I have a couple of friends who live with Fibro and it’s bloody tough. Although my condition is different to yours, I understand what you mean when you talk about pushing through the pain only to get halted by the fatigue. The body is going through so much to not only keep functioning, but to also deal with the constant onslaught of pain. It takes a lot of energy to do all that! Energy that we just don’t usually have in the storage tanks.

      The pain drain process is one of the few visible tell tale signs of chronic pain, but it’s still something that I find many people don’t notice or understand. Close family and friends can see the signs in me but not too many other people, particularly if I have a smile pasted to my face. Good on you for getting out and doing what you can on the days when you feel like it is a possibility for you. It’s always so hard to know how much it is worth to take the gamble – and some days it quite simply, as you say, isn’t possible – to do what we want to do. Ahhhh the constant ups and downs that is the chronic pain roller coaster!

      Sending virtual hugs your way, Bree xx

    1. Thanks Lezley. It can be hard yakka – boy can it ever! – but each day is a new day to try again. Some days are better than others. Some days all the positivity and happy thoughts in the world aren’t going to make a difference, it’s just gonna be a bad day. That’s when you hope that tomorrow will be better. One small step at a time. Xx

    1. Thanks Jessica, I appreciate you stopping by to say hi! Humour (sometimes highly inappropriate, lol!) and trying to find the positive are my coping mechanisms; what gets me through the day. If I don’t laugh then I’ll cry, and I know which alternative I prefer!

  13. I could not relate to this more. I have chronic pain and literally every single second of my life is filled with pain but I have gotten so used to it that all I can do is smile through it and not let it stop me. Working, writing, being with friends even though it hurts, those things are the best distractions possible.

    1. Hi Courtney, thank you so much for jumping on here and sharing your story. I feel for you. It’s amazing how the body can still function when it’s battered by chronic pain stimuli 24/7, and yet somehow, it does. It can. No wonder we are constantly exhausted! I’m the same, you just learn to smile through it and try not to let it stop you as much as is physically possible. Which I’m sure as you know, those tolerance limits change daily (if not more frequently). Stay strong, xx

  14. I am so glad that you’re speaking out about still living life with chronic pain and not letting it make you a victim. I was diagnosed with a rare for of bone tumor at 16 (almost half my life ago) and have had chronic pain since. Some days I handle it better than others but it’s not an excuse for not living. In fact, it’s truly an excuse for living even deeper. I go on more adventures, I write more, I push for more things because I know that I can do hard things.

    Thanks for writing this!

    Katy

    1. Hi Katy, thank you so much for stopping by to contribute to this discussion and share your story. What a huge journey you have been on and from such a young age, too. It just goes to show that illness really doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone at any point in time.

      The nature of the beast/roller coaster that is chronic pain is that some days we are going to handle it better than others. Some days are just going to be, well, to put it as politely as possible…they are going to be just poo. But we just keep truckin’ along to the best of our ability. I’m reminded of the song by Chumbawamba, “Tubthumping (I Get Knocked Down)” – so appropriate for our various situations!

      Keep smiling and doing what you are doing. Bree xx

    1. No, unfortunately they don’t, Brittany. I don’t think people can fully understand until they walk a mile in your shoes – and you hope like heck that they never have to do that because you wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Stay strong, Xx

  15. This post really resonates with me. I think you put into words everything I feel on a regular basis. I have gotten daily headaches for as long as I remember and when people ask me how I deal with it, I almost thinks that’s an odd question because the answer is… I just DO. It’s my normal and I don’t know how to do life any other way.

    Karin

    1. Hi Karin, thank you for sharing a little bit about your journey. I think you have just hit the nail on the head there with you words “I just DO. It’s my normal and I don’t know how to do life any other way.” That’s exactly how I feel. What is the alternative when this could be a lifelong thing? As much as we might like a different kind of ‘normal,’ the reality is that chronic pain is our normal, at least for now. So we just get on with it to the best of our ability. Bree

  16. Thank you for posting this. I (and every woman in my family) has/had fibro and/or RA. I HAVE been wasting a lot of my time waiting for pain pills to work (and rarely do). I need to get off my butt and start living (even if it means laying on a couch for a few days after overworking myself. Lol)

    1. I hear ya Kristin, the couch and a good netflix marathon are key elements in the recovery process! But on a serious note, please try not to be too hard on yourself. We all heal in different ways, we all cope in different ways, and we all do things in a time that feels right for us. You are awesome 🙂 xx

  17. This is a fabulous post! I too have dealt with chronic pain for the last 11 years and it is absolutely awful but like you said, you just have to accept it and keep on truckin’! Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s not easy to have an illness that people can’t always see or understand, but we/you are doing the best we can!

    1. Thank you Tiffani 🙂 We certainly are doing the best we can, and that’s all that we can ask of ourselves. 11 years with chronic pain is a long time; I never thought when I first got sick that the pain would be present all these years later and I’m sure you probably didn’t either! One of life’s many curveballs. Love your attitude to keep on truckin’! Bree xx

  18. I love your outlook on this and I REALLY needed to read this this morning!!! I have the similar thoughts on this as well. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and an unspecified auto immune disorder 10 years ago. I have 5 kids aging from 19 to 9. I have to be strong for them. I have to be the mom they need. Like you, I sometimes over do it for special events and just recoup as long as I need to. They only have one childhood and I don’t want them feeling sorry for their mom. I recently got back in to martial arts with my oldest. So twice a week if I can, I am doing jui jitsu and am training to be a self defense instructor. My illness and pain won’t win!

    1. Wow Natalie, you go girl! I’m seriously impressed/in awe. Not only with your ability to do jui jitsu and train to be a self defence instructor, but also to raise 5 kids while living with a chronic autoimmune condition. I’ve no doubt that you have many moments when you think how can you keep on going, it’s not fair, etc, but your kids are your inspiration to keep on getting up and living your best life everyday. Even when it hurts. Take care, Bree xx

  19. This is so true. I went through a year of constant pain before surgery made it mostly better. It’s hard for others to understand what chronic pain is like and that you still have to get up and live your life. I’m glad you are finding moments or laughter and distraction and I hope relief comes for you.

    1. Hi Christine, I’m so glad that surgery managed to make your pain largely better. What a blessing and relief (literally!). It is very hard for others to understand and imagine what it is like to live with chronic pain 24/7 – and you wouldn’t wish it on them to experience it, either, knowing how much it sucks! There isn’t a whole lot of other choice available to us other than to get on with things and live to the best of our abilities. Especially when this could end up being with us for the rest of our lives. We find ways to cope and this looks different for every person.

      Thank you for your kind wishes for my recovery. I too hope that there comes a time when I can kick chronic pain to the curb! Xx

  20. I love your approach to living your life. I’m not sure I’d be able to be as positive if I were in your shoes. But you’re right, you can either be happy and in pain or miserable and in pain and happy should win.

    I’ll be a little mad at the universe for you because your situation isn’t fair and I don’t like things that aren’t fair, and hopefully that’ll free up a little cosmic space for a little bit more happiness to creep into your day.

    1. I think I love you just a little bit right now Jessica (it’s ok, not in a stalker-ish way, lol!), what with you firing up and being just a little bit mad at the Universe for me and freeing up more cosmic space in my day. It gave me equal parts belly laughter and a big beaming smile at the inherent humour and thoughtfulness behind the gesture. Absolute gold! Xx

  21. Thank you . It has been 28 years since my diagnosis of severe rheumatoid arthritis and fibro. This puts into more eloquent wording what i have been trying to tell my husband and my children for 28 years. They don’t understand why I don’t just sit. I know there will be a time when I won’t be able to so until then bring it on…..

    1. I love this Barbara, “So until then bring it on…!” What a rockin’ attitude!

      It can be very hard for loved ones to watch from the sidelines as we do what we do. They don’t want to see us get hurt anymore than we already are. But my family have slowly come to realise that I’m the one in control and I’m not going to do anything that is going to really set me back (the earlier days of diagnosis were a different story!). So even though I can still see them dancing on the edge of their seat and itching to tell me to stop, most of the time they reign it in…most of the time! Bree

  22. I couldn’t agree more Starbrite ☆ Chronic pain due to illness is a given for many of us – the most important thing I’ve learned fromm chronic pain along the way is that suffering is a choice. We can reject living with chronic pain by spending out time and energy with anger resemtment & being miserable, or we can accept living with chronic pain and choose happiness and joy. It’s about surrendering with grace to do the things that fill our hearts with joy. I loved your article and how it made me think about that all important choice ☆

    1. Hey hey China Girl! Articulate and emotive as always in your expression of your chronic pain journey. I see you hurt on a daily basis and yet you always seem to have a smile for everyone you meet and the happiness still radiates from you. I’m looking forward to our next tea n’ raw cake n’ kombucha n’ jams catch up. Sending hugs xx

  23. Your outlook on this is so admirable! I can’t even imagine but I have a lot of patients who live with chronic pain and this gives me a little more insight. Thank you for your transparency!

    1. Thank you Angie. I’m so glad that my article has given you a greater insight into the world of chronic pain so that you may better understand what your patients are going through. Trust me when I say that every bit of understanding about this beastly condition helps a lot! Bree

    1. Thank you for your uplifting words Liz.

      I joke that everyday I go to war; it’s like my own personal fight club over here! Bree

    1. Me too Dia, me too! I’ve no doubt that there will be some kind of medical breakthrough in the future, we humans are so clever and new things are being invented everyday. So we continue to live in hope of the next big thing.

  24. This post brought tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine how hard it must be. I have two sons with an auto immune illness and they struggle daily and I know they also push through the pain daily. I hope you continue to find strength.

    1. Thank you so much Sara. It must be heartbreaking for you as a Mum to watch your sons’ struggle with autoimmune illness. I know from the conversations I have had with my own Mum that it’s been one of her biggest hurdles in life – watching her kids (my brother also lives with a chronic autoimmune condition) go through so many medical challenges and not being able to take away the pain and hurt. She was very emotional reading this article as it brought it back for her. In some ways I think it must be harder for our loved ones, watching from the sidelines, knowing there is only so much they can do to help. I can’t even begin to imagine the helplessness that my parents have felt at so many points in both my brother’s and my journey. Sending virtual hugs to you and your sons. Bree xx

  25. Bree, I hear you, loud and clear. This too has been my life for the last 6 years. I choose happy and in chronic pain.

    Absolutely, our thought processes are in constant overdrive, analysing and contemplating how things will play out. Menial tasks for those not experiencing and enduring chronic pain are massive achievements for us. I know that on a super bad day, taking myself from bed to the loo is like I’ve just won a gold medal!

    Distraction certainly does help to take the focus off of the pain, I completely agree. Of course the pain is still there, but having focus gives us purpose, well it does for me at least. I feel like I am invincible and that nothing is wrong.

    We are incredible human beings, together we can do it all.

    1. High five Hollie! We are all incredible human beings and we should never forget that.

      You gave me a good chuckle about winning a gold medal for dragging ones butt from the bed to the toilet on the really bad days. We’ve got to have humour in our lives otherwise we’d go nuts!

      Distraction has been one of the key tools in the management of my chronic pain. When I’m not distracted I focus on the pain a lot more – which is why nights can be the worst. Nothing to do but flip and flop around the bed, trying to get comfortable while the fire burns and the limbs go numb. Oh yeah, it’s cool to be me/us, lol!

      I totally agree with what you said, that focus helps to give us a purpose away from the pain. The pain is always going to be there but if we are focused on other things, the hope is that the pain will not be so forefront of mind. Some days this holds true, other days, really bad days, the pain voice will win out. It’s a constant battle but one which I am determined to win. And it sounds like you are too!

      Keep smiling and fighting. Bree xx

    1. Thank you for your kind sentiments Carol. Chronic pain affects more people than many of us realise. My heart goes out to your friends who are living with this wretched invisible illness. Take care, Bree

  26. I have Lupus (and a few other linked invisible diseases)… and yes, it’s a choice to stay positive and keep going. I think it starts with self-care too. Getting emotionally and physically healthy is what I write about on my blog. Somedays are better than others but having a positive attitude every day, no matter what, helps. Take care.

    1. Hi Jen, thank you for stopping by to say hi and to share some of your story. Invisible illness is definitely a hard road to walk but it sounds like you are navigating that road to the best of your ability and with a smile on your face.

      I agree that self-care is a big catalyst and a key part of the positive management of chronic pain. I didn’t do the self-care thing so well in the early years of diagnosis and I definitely suffered more because of it. Self-care is absolutely mandatory for me now. It’s why go to the effort of doing things like going for a soak in the ocean – in the summer months! –as it helps not only with my physical body but also my overall sense of wellbeing, which is just as crucial in the healing process.

      You are right when you say that some days are better than others – boy, are they ever! – but trying to stay positive and find pleasure in even the smallest of things can absolutely make a world of difference.

      Take care, Bree

    1. Hi Becky, thank you for being part of this discussion. Anxiety can be a rough gig and very paralysing from what I understand. It’s definitely not something to be underestimated and I’m sure it takes a huge amount of inner strength and determination to get through a particularly rough patch. Stay strong and keep smiling. Bree

  27. I’m so impressed by the choices you are making each day to live life to the fullest even in the midst of so much pain! I can’t even imagine to know the struggle, but thank you for sharing your story! I hope it encourages others who live with chronic pain to keep on living and doing things that make them happy!

    1. Thank you for reaching out Emily and for your words of encouragement. It means a lot to me and I’m sure to anyone else who lives with the daily grind of chronic pain. Take care, Bree

  28. I was recently diagnosed with scoliosis and it is a constantly backache for me when sitting. It’s so frustrating to know that this is going to be part of my daily life forever. I can try my hardest to build up my muscles to support my spine… but it’s been almost a year now of daily pain and I’ve just come to accept it. It’s definitely something you don’t realize you take for granted until you’re faced with it!

    1. Hi Kaley, I’m sorry to hear about your struggles and recent diagnosis of scholiosis. It must have been an incredibly challenging time for you. I understand how frustrating and scary it can be to know that the pain may never stop and it becomes a question of how it can be managed to the best of our abilities. It sounds like you have a realistic attitude towards your situation and are determined to make the best of the cards you have been dealt. And you’re right, we definitely don’t realise what we have until it’s gone. One of life’s greatest lessons right there…although I kind of wish I had figured out a different way to learn it! Stay strong, Xx

    1. Hi Brittany, my heart goes out to your husband. Chronic pain Is such a beast of a condition to deal with, it has so many ups and downs and choosing happiness can be really freakin’ hard at times! And happiness doesn’t always happen because let’s face it, there are going to be days where we need to just wallow in the sorrow of the unfairness of it all. Stay strong, xx

  29. This is a beautiful post. I don’t suffer from chronic pain, and my heart is with you, it must be really difficult. But I want to thank you for writing such a great post about what it is, and how it makes you feel. I have learned something very valuable today, and I do agree with you – living life on your own terms is the choice I go for every day as well. Love and light. Murielle

    1. Thank you for your kind words Murielle it makes my heart sing. 🙂 Raising awareness for the condition is so important; chronic pain is often misunderstood because it is a largely invisible illness, yet it affects so many people around the world. It is very difficult to live with and yet we have no other choice, so we’ve gotta do what we’ve gotta do to live life to the best of our ability. Bree

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *