April 18, 2017

The thing about chronic pain...

The thing about chronic pain is, well, it's chronic. It never goes away. It's always there, like a dark, lingering force fighting you from the inside day and night. And it never gets tired. But that doesn't mean I don't. Quite the opposite, really, because I'm in a constant state of exhaustion. I have good days and bad days. But don't ever confuse that with painful and not painful days. They're all painful. No, I think the better term for it would be functioning and not-functioning. Because that's what it really is - days I can fake it, and days I just can't.

On my good days, I'm able to move and think more clearly and focus on the task at hand for periods of time. But that doesn't mean I'm not struggling. Because even on those good days, I am thinking about my posture and facial expression as I talk to you. 'Don't let it look like you're unhappy', 'Make sure to smile and nod a little', 'Try to look interested and don't betray that you really have to move or you're going to scream out in pain' are regular internal monologues. And all that internal battle, that constant fighting what's real and what people expect, is absolutely exhausting. Especially when what people expect is for you to be still and quiet and attentive for long periods of time. But in addition to being exhausting, it's painful. So painful, that by the end of the day, when I collapse into bed, there is no sweet relief of sleep, because sleep cannot come. I hurt too much, you see, for my body to ever hit that restful state.

And on my bad days, well, it's just worse.

Explaining this doesn't change anything. And really, it doesn't make me feel any better. So I'm not sure why I feel compelled to talk about it today. I think maybe it's because, despite my swollen, red hands, today might be one of those rare functioning days. Something I haven't experienced for a while.

But the sun is shining. And Spring is here. And my coffee is hot. And for that, I'll be thankful.

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