Note: I wrote this post several weeks ago. I’m still in pain, yes, but I’ve just gotten a cortisone shot, and the pain is much more manageable. I’m not even wearing the left brace during the day anymore. Fingers crossed…
For me, writers block comes and goes. Sometimes I have so many blog ideas that I can barely keep up. But, at the moment, I’m staring at an empty, Sahara-like, monochrome, inner-landscape of nothing.
I’ve spent the last couple of hours looking for blog ideas online, in newsfeeds, and even in random word generators, but nothing is inspiring me. It’s extremely frustrating when you pile on the fact that I’m going to be going on vacation soon and I need to get ahead on my blog posts so I don’t have to stress out while traveling. So as a last resort, I’ve decided to blog about what is preventing me from blogging. And that is that I’m in horrible, excruciating, mind numbing pain. Tendonitis times ten.
Unless you’ve experienced chronic, agonizing pain, there is absolutely no way that you can understand how pain changes you. You become like an animal that only has one focus. And that focus is that you hurt. And if you can’t find a way to get past that hurt, then you just sit there in that pocket of agony and everything else falls away. You have no past or future, you barely even have a present. You don’t care about anything else. In fact, nothing else exists.
If this pain has been going on for a long time, you have the added burden of realizing that it’s completely invisible to everyone around you. If you mention it to them, you sound like you’re complaining rather than trying to explain your mindset. People lose patience with you, and you don’t have the energy to care.
For you the pain never ever goes away, but for them it becomes something they really would rather not hear about if there’s nothing that can be done to help. Your pain makes other people uncomfortable because they can’t relate to it or do anything about it. And because of that, pain is the loneliest thing in the world.
I know many people who are in chronic pain. And even though I’ve been there before, it had passed, and once it’s gone you can’t really remember it in all its many dimensions. One person I know, who is in chronic lifelong pain, let me down several years ago, and I resented her for it for a long, long time. But now I get it. I’m there. If she needed me at the moment, I’d let her down, too. Right now I don’t care and I can’t care and I don’t have even one more sh*t to give about anything other than the fact that I hurt.
The scary thing is there is no easy cure for my type of tendonitis, so I will most likely have to learn to live with this pain, and that makes me feel profoundly hopeless. This level of hopelessness is also something that most people can never relate to. I’m not sure I can stand it. I just feel like curling up in a fetal position and howling. And the whole concept that there may be no end in sight is terrifying.
It’s a safe bet that your primary instinct right now, dear reader that you are, is to leave advice in the comments section as to how to get past this pain. Rest assured that I am seeing a specialist. And rest assured I’m trying everything that I can possibly try.
The whole point of this article is that I’m not looking for advice. And most people who are in chronic pain aren’t looking for advice from anyone besides their medical professionals. What they’re looking for is compassion and support and patience and kindness and maybe the tiniest bit of assistance in toting that barge and lifting that bale.
They want to feel not crazy. They want to feel seen and understood. They want to feel less alone but at the same time they want to be left alone, and that’s a weird dichotomy to live with. At this exact moment in time, I would just love for somebody to show up and say, “Hey, I know you aren’t feeling well, and I’m so sorry. I brought you some coffee ice cream, some potato chips, and I’ll get you your softest jammies and your fuzzy weighted blanket, and here’s a list of recommendations for fun things to watch on TV that don’t require much mental effort to follow, and I won’t expect a single thing from you. Now I’ll leave you alone. But holler if there’s any way I can help.”
I just want to feel like a human being again. I want to be able to go through life and give my body no thought whatsoever and just assume that it’s going to be there for me when I need it. I long for the days when I could take things for granted.
Now I can’t even count on the fact that I can write legibly from one moment to the next, or put on my shoes without help, or grasp anything for any reason. I’m even having to dictate this blog post and it’s making me realize that I’m barely enunciating properly because of the pain and the dictating software doesn’t know what I’m saying half the time.
Here’s a random fun fact for you. “Excruciating” comes from the same root as “crucifixion”. I totally get that.
I hope there will be a day when I can reread this blog and barely relate to it my own self. But I also hope that someone else in chronic pain reads this and feels seen and understood, probably for the first time in ages. This is not a club that anybody wants to be a part of, but here I am, so I just thought I should introduce myself.
Hello. I am that ball of bright red, jagged, unrelenting torture that’s just out of sight on the other side of this computer screen, desperately clawing at it from the yawning abyss that I hope you never have the misfortune to enter. Nice to meet you. I’ll be here all week, and then some.