Some people are distraught by a 2 or 3/10 in pain, today I am going to teach you a little bit of how to escape being like this group of people. I am often asked how I handle my pain and the only response I can truthfully give is I’m human it’s just all willpower. That’s right if you have a strong will to live and you find reasons to live for and keep them in your mind then you will constantly succeed despite and chronic or terminal illness that might be present. Keeping an outgoing mindset is the key to finding the right friends both within the chronic illness community and in general let your personality guide you!
I’d like to start by confronting those with terminal illness, it really is a struggle for you all and one that I understand some of having a terminal illness myself which is also quite rare lucky me! Anyways I’ve found with terminal illness swelling on the issue sometimes cannot be helped but doing anything to get your mind off of it will be highly beneficial to you. Secondly find a hobby if you’re able perhaps you hate TV like me but want to watch only COSMOS or documentaries Netflix and Amazon Prime accounts are perfect choices for you as is a smart TV and/or a blu ray set that plays apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Youtube. Keeping up with the latest news isn’t a bad idea either it’ll keep your mind sharp and when you do meet up with friends you’ll be able to converse rather than being miserable and simply stating that you no longer live a normal life. Your friends already know this, at least the ones who care do so try to enjoy your time around them, let their mood uplift you, don’t let your mood bring everyone down with you nobody wants that not even you. If you have time perhaps explain the burden of invisible illness stigma you have and the challenges it causes you to face every single day, perhaps you’ll change someone’s mind and rid the world of someone who used to subscribe to neurological or invisible illness stigma! That’s all we can hope to do anyway is rid the world of people with these insane ideas 1 person at a time, by rid I mean changing their minds I don’t mean anything harmful. If they still don’t get it I highly suggest showing them the many articles on Spoon Theory and explain it to them that way, even my dog could understand Spoon theory so most people should be receptive to it even if they’re a bit dull or not the brightest lightbulb in the bunch.
Now lets move on to those with chronic illness you to fight a mental battle though far less daunting than dealing with one’s mortality the idea of being in pain for a long period of time or perhaps one’s entire life is excruciating. I feel for you I really do when I was in severe chronic pain before my illness went terminal I honestly thought that was as bad as pain could get. I used to say 10/10 in pain far more often, now I’m extremely conservative with those words because now after 3 years of this agony I know what a true 10/10 is especially with my cluster headaches, the damn things loves to spring upon me like a muscle-bound lioness attacking her pray. How do I deal with this around friends you ask? The same way you would as at home make the conditions as close to your home comfort zone as possible. If your friends are truly your friends then they won’t mind one bit but rather will offer any comforts they can because they care about you. Don’t worry about the following day or how your friends will now perceive you, you’re still human, they shouldn’t treat you any differently. In fact besides asking how I’m doing more often my best friends still treat me the same, I just cannot see them as much because they now have jobs and I unfortunately cannot work a full time job right now nor can I drive. The people that think a 2 or 3/10 in pain is bad will likely never be capable of stepping into your shoes they’ve been too fortunate and perhaps someday or in their elderly years they might learn what discomfort you go through but probably not till then if they ever feel anything similar to your pain. This group of people often consists of hypochondriacs too stay away from these people or change them immediately constantly diagnosing yourself via pubmed is not valid and they likely don’t know what true illness is.
Anyway to close I have to say the biggest thing is NOT letting these people get to you. Yes they might “think” they know what pain is but you feel it every day of your life so rest assured you DO know what pain is. So think about that they think they might have an inkling as to how you feel, you on the other hand KNOW from years of experience how your body should feel, how it does feel, and whether or not there’s a real problem. If you are really sick you shouldn’t need to look up your symptoms or even have the energy to do so you should be calling a friend or family member to drive you to the Emergency Room of your local hospital or making an appointment with your primary care provider(PCP). Trust me those of you who don’t know what true pain feels like are lucky and I hope it stays that way for you, with the way hospitals are packed these days we don’t need anymore people complaining of coughs and colds in the ER when others are brought there in serious emergencies.
So what should you do if confronted by one of these hypochondriacs who thinks they can relate to your every disease or one up it? One option is to let them know calmly that what they said is offensive and hurtful, then call them out on it ask what a 10/10 in pain feels like. Everyone with true pain knows how it’s described as they’ve likely used a variety of descriptions themselves and we all describe similar sensations. Another option is to simply walk away if you’re too upset or angered and fear you’ll act out of pure rage yelling or possible ending up in a fight, this is unnecessary and will only harm the situation. Another option if you have a friend who you really want to keep but has trouble understanding is to bring them to your psychologist or therapist with you. A visit may very well help them understand whether they simply watch and listen to your agonizing words or participate either is important and can cause them to understand your situation much better. Lastly just avoid these people as friends or if they’re already friends break contact and consider them acquaintances if they ask give it to them straight and ask that they change or the situation will have to remain the same. I’m sure either route they take they will understand and perhaps even admire your honesty with them.
These are my personal rules for dealing with people who’ve never experienced intolerable amounts of pain or excruciating pain as some call it. Those who have never been in agony will always have trouble understanding so giving your friends some time to understand is crucial. I promise you’ll find your true friends by seeing who stays and who goes in such a situation and honestly many suckers will probably leave you but they don’t know what they’re missing out on. People who are chronically ill read more, educate themselves, fight for causes, build home businesses to work out of, and a whole lot more few people do these things even whilst they’re well that’s why I say your friends who abandon you aren’t really friends and will miss out on your success. Good luck and best wishes from your friends here at Migraine Discussions, we are always here for you, and thank you again for reading!