People who aren't in pain often wonder why we aren't better yet. How can anyone be in pain that long, they ask? It's just not possible.
Except that we can, and we are, unfortunately. It's real. It's physical. It's tiring, and it demands the utmost of our inner fortitude and emotional stamina to keep going and not sink into a blob of misery on a regular basis.
While we're doing our best to manage our ongoing pain day in and day out, people around us are moving on with their lives. They're moving forward while we, seemingly, are staying in the same place. This can lead to misunderstandings and frustrations on both sides of the experience.
We become frustrated with our pain, with our physical condition, and with ourselves for not healing faster. Others become frustrated with us as well.
Everyone's Got An Idea
We have been told any number of things about why we're still in pain:
- maybe we aren't really working at healing ourselves
- maybe we just have to try yet another therapy or supplement or magic wand
- maybe we want to stay in pain
- maybe it's emotionally based (which usually translates into maybe it's not real), or another version:
- maybe it's all in your head (I'm never sure what that really is supposed to mean. Pain is pain. If someone were cooking up their physical or emotional pain in their head, then they must be in a lot of pain already at some level to have to do that.)
Pain Turns the World Upside Down
Yet when others announce that our pain cannot be real, they are dismissing our experience and our reality. It's like saying, you aren't real.
It's a level of denial, I guess. It's scary to see someone in pain for a long time. It turns the world upside down for people. It's not supposed to happen. Sometimes it's easier to disbelieve someone who reports experiencing pain for months or years, than it is to admit that relentless, ongoing pain can be a reality...because then it becomes a possibility for anyone, and that might be too much to let in.
And sometimes I think people deny other people's pain so they don't have to look at their own.
How Long Will It Last?
Sometimes we just don't have an answer for that. But because we don't understand how it all works yet, or how to move through it to the other side, doesn't mean it doesn't exist or it isn't real or that we are wrong or mistaken or have failed in some way just because we're still navigating our way through it.
Is there a far shore without pain for those of us who have lived with it for years? I honestly don't know the answer to that question yet. I'd like to believe there is. But I do believe that all of us who must deal with pain on a daily basis are doing it in exactly the right way for us, whatever that may be.
This journey is completely individual, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and, whether anyone else wants to believe it or not, those of us who have lived with chronic pain for any length of time understand that there is no quick and simple answer.
How long will it take to be out of pain? I guess the only answer to that is not a very satisfying one, but it's accurate.
It will take the time it takes.