What My Life With Chronic Pain Looks Like

Imagine waking up one morning, but before your feet even touch the floor, you can feel pain radiating from your hips and into your lower and mid back. You didn’t do anything differently the day before. You didn’t lift something too heavy or strain a muscle while exercising. This is just your normal. No amount of Advil, Extra Strength Tylenol, or deep breathing can ease the dull, yet persistent ache you feel throughout your entire body. As you surrender to the realization that today will be a difficult day pain wise, you get up, knowing that you can’t stay in bed all day, even though you’d prefer that over living in the hell that is chronic pain. You stand up, and while that feels like a feat in itself, the true test will be attempting to move.

You move your hand along the mattress and then transition to trailing your hand along the wall in order to make it to the bathroom, shuffling your feet slowly and cautiously. You do this because of how uneasy you feel. However, you know in the pit of your stomach that simply placing your hand against the wall won’t prevent you from falling due to your already unsteady balance. Right when you make it to the bathroom door, there is a millisecond when you know what’s coming. You see it play out as it has so many times before, but there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Your breath catches in your throat. As you fall, your arms shoot out in front you, trying to grasp onto a chair, a door handle, anything to prevent you from going all the way down. But your hands come up empty. You hit the floor, falling back-first into the door jamb. The breath is knocked out of you, there is a shooting pain coming from your hip joint, and you want to cry out. You open your mouth. Just as the darkness of early morning envelopes you, so does your own silence.

With shaky hands, legs that feel like jelly, and tears streaming down your face, you turn onto your hands and knees and push up with as much strength as you can muster, using the stability of the wall near you to stand back up. You’re standing again. You feel steady. But you know, in the back of your mind, it’s only a matter of time until it happens again. Until your body decides to let you down and you fall, again.

And yet, that moment, that moment of falling again and experiencing a pain that radiates like fire through your bones, that moment has not yet arrived. There is relief in the continuous shallow breaths you take as your world comes into view again. Your world is one of never-ending pain, but it is also one of gratefulness. Gratefulness towards the boyfriend who offers you his arm for support. Gratefulness towards the best friend for consciously slowing down her pace so you don’t feel left in the dust. Gratefulness towards the body that, no matter how painful, is still moving…still allowing you to stand back up, just one more time.

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6 thoughts on “What My Life With Chronic Pain Looks Like

  1. Gareth, I’m forwarding this from my daughter Amelia’s WordPress blog. She has CP. Check out the April 12th post. We really enjoyed 5-3-1 the other night and look forward to next month’s. How does you and Brian’s schedules look for dinner in the next few weeks? Blessings, Ben

  2. Hey, Amelia. Good for you. I’m nearly speechless, or writeless in response to this post, but I wanted to show support for your life’s journey. I’m touched by your story of living with chronic pain. My son doesn’t experience pain with his CP, unless it’s a normal cause of pain like knocking his head or banging his knee, so you have educated me with your physical experiences with CP. I said I was nearly speechless, but that is out of character for me šŸ™‚ Cheers to you!

  3. Amelia, this is beautifully written. I don’t experience chronic pain the way you do, but when I first wake up, it’s extremely painful for me to walk. I admire you, your strength, and your courage so much! I love your blog, and am so grateful I found it. Please keep sharing your experiences- they’re helping me and so many others!

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