The trickiness of chronic pain is its chronic-ness. It’s ongoing, unending. Auto-correct suggested chronic mess for chronic-ness, that seems sadly apt for how I feel and sometimes how I feel I am seen.
Researchers use the words chronic and persistent to describe pain, fatigue, nausea, itch, ulcers, wounds, stress, sadness, fear… The whole Pandora’s box of ills that humans can experience that carry on beyond the “normal” or “expected” healing time.
Chronic and persistent are neutral words that convey the time aspect but not the emotionality of the experience. Not the draining of you and the disruption to your place in your world that happens when the pain doesn’t ease.
Our society isn’t set up for those of us with chronic illnesses. It doesn’t know what to do with us.
We may not be productive in the usual ways the social systems we live in expect. We may need support or accommodations for elements of our daily lives. There may be no label for our constellation of symptoms. No pill or surgical intervention to right us.
I’ve had people ask “what’s wrong with you now?”. I violate the expected course of illness.
By violating the expected, I sometimes feel like I hover on the edges of life. Statements like “what’s wrong with you now” confirms my feelings that I am the b word.
With no medical ease to my pain, I turn to non medical solutions. Here is a list of all the Western medical and alternative remedies/approaches I can remember trying to help manage my different pains, in no particular order:
- Other anti-depressants/drugs originally developed as antidepressants
- Saline injections
- Bowen therapy
- MELT method (stretching with using a foam roller)
- Vitamin D
- Numerous other supplements
- CBD oil
- Shakti mat
Some of these made no difference, some had awful side effects, some helped but the relief didn’t last, and some help me manage my pain. I’m sure I’ve forgotten many things I’ve tried. Now I use a combination of approaches that are a mix of Western medicines, seeing professionals, and things I can do myself. I’ll talk about what I do in an ongoing fashion in another pinch – managing pain is a full time job in itself!