September is Pain Awareness Month. Those of us with chronic migraines will be very aware of course.
In light of this I will spread this awareness upon this blog:
Chronic: I have chronic daily migraines with aura and persistent migraine auras without infraction. Every day I have a migraine. I don’t know if people understand what that means. Often they do not. It means pain from 7-9 every day. This isn’t a low amount of pain. This is severe pain. Occasionally we can treat it down to a 6 or even a 5. Often that doesn’t work long in my experience. At least not for chronic migraines. Triptans even will just dull it, work temporarily and then back again. If at all. On days we can use triptans of course. All because medications do not do much for chronic pain, which is why we have to try dozens of complementary treatments to help us manage our pain. And we will still have pain. Just a fun fact. That is the nature of the game. We just want Manageable pain.
I am referencing this pain chart.
Coping– I have a very difficult time coping and functioning with this pain. With chronic pain, which this is, you are expected to adapt, cope and function to some extent. People want you to continue working. And doing things. And this is extremely difficult. With episodic migraine there is no way in hell a person would try an function with a migraine, but when they are chronic this is your new life. You have to. You must. Even when you feel like you can’t. Even when you fail. Everything becomes so much harder. Just the thought of of moving pains me. Forcing myself to function, to put on a facade like it doesn’t hurt me like it does… it is like madness and torture. To say otherwise would be a lie. There hasn’t been a time since the chronic migraines became daily on top of the depression and fibromyalgia that I have coped Well. I know what to do. I do all the things. I have been in the game long enough to know every single thing that is supposed to help manage pain, but I do not cope well. I think due to excessive amounts of pain and comorbid conditions. Either way, coping is a process, there are times when we actually attain a sustainable balance that works for us and times when it is very much a struggle. Nevertheless we want to live our lives as well. So we push our limits too. Try to get as much life as we can in there. And to do that we have to have the coping skills to adapt to the pain that exists despite treatment.
Suffering– I suffer. There are emotions that come with pain. And that creates suffering. I suffer from depression due to the pain. I have had suicidal ideation. Two suicide attempts. I am always drained and fatigued from the pain. Always struggling. And my mood suffers from it. My sleep suffers from it. The constant battle gets to you after a while. If not the first decade, then the second. I do many things to combat this suffering aspect, as in to try to reduce the stress of having chronic pain. Meditation being one of them. But managing This is a constant process as well. Just the constant stress of the pain has to be managed. Let alone comorbid mental illness factors that add a difficult factor into the situation.
There is no winning– at the pain game. We sacrifice all at the alter of pain. We make every compromise we can to just survive. If we still work, we suffer more. If we can’t, we have financial instability. If we work, our employer will have no love for us. If we don’t, our insurance company won’t. And not one of them will care about your actual pain. There is no winning here. There is just the compromise that works best for You to survive. If that thing is what it takes then do that… because we aim to survive.
That isn’t to say I don’t try. And try. Try that. This. That other thing. Just to say if you want to talk about pain awareness, well, we are fighting a battle, mostly alone with few people having our backs for the rest of our lives. It is one of the most difficult battles to experience. It eats at you. Your self-worth. You self-esteem. You very self-identity. Depression seems to be a natural consequence of this to be honest. It isn’t, but it is for me. When the pain prevents me from even thinking about sleeping I think about ways to make it stop. We have to constantly try to distract ourselves from it. But it distracts us back, from every single thing we do, or experience.
Then we live our lives in there. Amidst all this we try to function enough to have a life instead of an existence, which there are times we fail at that. The very point of all pain management, or should be, is to increase quality of life. I remember someone saying they wanted to thrive not survive. Not sure I could thrive, but certainly I want to be able to not exist in survival mode. I think we all deserve to have pain managed well enough to have a life.