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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pain vs. you? NO!

In the following paragraphs the word you is intended to be a general you, not a specific person. This post is not directed at anyone specific either. It was sparked by one person, but this is something I have run into many times with people and I feel that it is an important topic, hence I am writing it here.

I have had many people, upon learning more about chronic pain, say something along the lines of the following:

  1. "I shouldn't complain about my (insert pain or condition here) because it is nowhere near as bad as yours!"
  2. "My pain is only intermittent whereas yours is all the time, so I shouldn't complain"
By comparing your experiences with pain to someone else's experiences with pain, and then deciding that your pain is somehow less, you are devaluing yourself and your experiences as being of no consequence.

This is just not true and it is very unfair to you. It is saying that you are somehow not worthy of understanding, compassion, etc.

Every person experiences pain differently. We all have different tolerance levels for pain. The medical condition that may cause your pain differs from someone else, even if the diagnosis is the same how it affects you physically may vary from another person's experiences with the same condition. Just because your symptoms are not as severe, or not constant does not negate the fact that you still suffer because of that condition.

By saying that you shouldn't complain about your condition because it is not as severe as someone else's you are saying that your experiences are not worthy of compassion, understanding, and assistance. You are saying that you are not worthy of these things and telling other people that you don't deserve these things. By doing so you deny those who care about and/or love you the opportunity to show that caring/love by being there for you in whatever way applies to your situation. Some people even take this kind of thought process to be a rejection of them as a person and of their emotional/psychological attachment to you.

Personally I do not agree with this. As far as I am concerned if anyone suffers from a condition that causes pain, be it occasional pain or constant pain, they are just as deserving of assistance, compassion, understanding, love, and support as anyone else.

Pain is pain whether it is constant or just occasional. The effects on the patient are the same. Pain causes depression, inability to function the way we want to, taking of medications if needed, missing school or work etc. It does not care what you are scheduled to do on any given day. It does not care if you are a male or a female, a parent, spouse, child, or sibling. It does not care about your income level, your work status, or whether you are in a relationship or not. For the period of time in which you are dealing with and suffering because of the pain, your whole life is affected for that time. Whether that time be 2 hours or every minute of every day, you still suffer that pain and its negative effects.

Your pain is just as important as someone else's pain!

Your pain matters just as much!

 In fact, I have found that since chronic pain became a part of my life I am a lot more compassionate and understanding of other people's pain than I used to be. I do not rank other people's pain on terms of whose is better (meaning whose is worse) and thus more deserving of attention. I do not compare their pain to mine and dismiss that person as not deserving of my compassion/understanding if their pain doesn't equal or surpass my own. I understand fully that for as long as they are in the grips of that pain, their suffering is just as real as my own. Their suffering is just as deserving of relief, understanding, etc. as my own.

Do not put yourself down because your pain is different, it is still pain and it still hurts and it still affects your entire life while it is active. You are as deserving of compassion, understanding, assistance, relief, love etc. as anyone else.

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Thank you for taking the time to read and/or comment on my blog. For people who are chronically ill and/or in constant pain, it can be difficult to socialize as frequently as we would like to do so. Talking with others online is a way for us to socialize, chat with others, make new friends, reach out to others in similar circumstances and many more positive effects.

Knowing that someone has read my posts and commented on it, helps in many ways. The biggest two being that it helps ease the feeling of being "alone" and that no one could possibly understand. Secondly, it reminds us that others truly do care and that just feels wonderful!!

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and/or comment on my blog, it really does mean a great deal to me and is helpful too!