cannot tell you how many times I have heard the phrase 'But you
Look So Good!!' or 'you look good, so you must not be in pain"
or even the cruel "well, you look good so you must like pain"
-- this last comment coming after someone had asked me how I felt
and I was having a bad pain day so I responded with something
like, "I am having a lot of pain today" or "I ache
all over" or something like that.
Can you imagine
hearing the phrase "well, you must like pain because you
happen to look So Good." The person who said that to me did
not realize how much the phrase had cut through my heart. It hurt
very much. The people around me prefer to ignore my chronic pain
problem or pretend like it is not even there even though I have
undergone multiple surgeries for my pain problem. I wonder sometimes
if they even care about me at all. I know they do, but chronic
pain is so much a part of w ho I am now and so much a part of
my life, how can they just ignore that part of treat it as if
it is nothing. It has destroyed my life really.
I had to quit my very good job with my very good salary and therefore
my life took a drastic turn downhill. Besides the loss of income
and living alone does not help this either, I am now forced to
count every penny and watch over one half of my disability income
go towards rent. Even landlords think everyone is making all of
this money. "Everyone" seems to be, except me!!
isolation and loneliness are sometimes as bad as the pain itself
to deal with. I was use to traveling for my work and being around
a lot of people when I worked for over 20 years. I have not worked
in eight years and have been thinking about trying to get out
there again and get back into the workforce. Most people around
me prefer to treat my chronic pain as "invisible" or
even non existing -- as long as they do not have to deal with
it themselves, they are very happy.
If I try to
talk about my chronic pain in front of people, the "subject"
will immediately be changed or I will be interrupted. This hurts
beyond belief! It is as if I am invisible as well. I sometimes
think my chronic pain would not be treated as invisible if perhaps
I were walking with crutches or in a wheelchair or incased in
a body cast. Thankfully, I am not experiencing any of those things
but inside my pain can be excruciating at times and I feel just
as bad on the inside as someone who may be in a wheelchair or
No one can
"see" pain! It is a feeling and an experience that each
chronic pain patient must endure alone. I think if the people
closest to me were really accepting of me, they would not mind
talking about my chronic pain -- not on a continual basis, of
course, but at least every once in a while. But they will not,
and that adds to my sense of isolation and feeling of "invisibility".
I am very
glad that Rest Ministries is sponsoring the National Invisible
Chronic Illness Awareness Week of September 22-28, 2003 and I
believe the title "But You Look So Good!" is SO appropriate
and I am sure all chronic pain sufferers have heard that phrase
at one time or another. This Awareness Week will, hopefully, facilitate
more of a dialogue with the general public and increase the public's
understanding of what a chronic pain patient must go through each
and every day!!!"