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20 Things Only People With Chronic Pain Can Relate To

20 Things Only People With Chronic Pain Can Relate To

Millions of people live with chronic pain every day in the US, and they struggle to do basic day-to-day things like getting dressed and going to the shop. Despite their constant pain, their voices are rarely heard by the media because they look ‘normal’ and it is difficult to see the cause of their pain.

Here are 20 things that people in chronic pain can relate to.

1. We try very hard to look ‘normal’

People often say to us that we don’t look sick, but it takes a lot of effort to look normal. We often have to nap before going out to deal with the exhaustion, and we normally take pain meds before meeting up with people.

2. The pain won’t pass in a few days or weeks

This isn’t a cold or the flu, and it won’t go away in a few weeks – we may live with the pain for our whole lifetime.

3. It’s not all in our heads

We are not hypochondriacs; just because you can’t see the cause of our pain doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

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4. We have dreams and goals

Just like anyone else, we have passion and dreams that we would like to achieve in our lives. We are not defined by our illness.

5. We are not making a big deal for no reason

We are probably in more pain that you think we are in. It can be pretty difficult to understand chronic pain, and we don’t need your sympathy – we just want to know that you understand our situation.

6. Sometimes it is impossible to get out of bed in the morning

Some days the pain is too bad for us to get out of bed, but we don’t let that get us down. In fact, we will probably Skype our friends or partners so we can have a giggle to take our mind off the pain.

7. We hate being called lazy

Every job is twice as hard if you’re experiencing chronic pain, so we don’t feel lazy – we feel super accomplished for getting dressed and going to shops.

8. Chronic pain doesn’t become less painful with time

Pain doesn’t become less painful over time, but you become better at dealing with the pain. I am still in pain; I’m just not letting it rule my whole life.

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9. We don’t always have enough spoons

Christine Miserandino, a woman with lupus, created the ‘spoons’ analogy to describe living with invisible pain.

When you have chronic pain, you start each day with a certain amount of spoons. Every task, like making a sandwich, takes a spoon away from you. Once you have run out of spoons for the day, you cannot complete any more activities – your pain is too much. This analogy helps us to complete our tasks without exerting ourselves too much.

10. If we don’t work, it is because we can’t

We don’t shy away from work; in fact, we would do anything to be healthy and able to work full-time. Sadly for some chronic pain sufferers, this just isn’t an option.

11. Just standing in queues is uncomfortable and painful

Having to hold your body in a certain position for even a few minutes can be extremely tiring and painful, and sometimes we have to ask our friends and families for help.

12. Good days do happen

Some days we wake up feeling better than normal, and we get super excited! Normally we will try to be productive and social on these days, because we don’t know when the next good day will be.

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13. But so do bad days

Some days are very painful, and on these days even going to the bathroom is a difficult task. On a day like this, brushing your teeth is a huge accomplishment!

14. We feel guilty about not always replying to our friends

Pain can be mentally exhausting, and sometimes it means we feel too tired and ill to reply to our friends. This makes us feel bad – we love our friends and we hate not replying, but thankfully our friends don’t take it personally when this happens.

15. We are so thankful for the friends and family who are there for us

Often we have to ask our loved ones for help with tasks like cooking and shopping, and we are so grateful for the help. Our friends are more than just friends; they are lifelines and saviors.

16. Medical help can be frustrating

It can take years to diagnose chronic pain due to a lack of training, and when we find an understanding doctor, we try to keep them in our lives for as long as possible.

17. We don’t seek drugs – we seek pain relief

Sometimes chronic pain is treated with medical marijuana and opioids, but that doesn’t mean we seek drugs. We seek anything that will help us to control and manage our pain.

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18. We don’t need advice (unless you have chronic pain yourself)

We really appreciate people who are trying to be helpful, but it can be mentally draining to repeatedly discuss the same pain-management methods. We always look out for ways to help manage the pain, so the likelihood is that we have already tried most suggestions.

19. We hope to heal one day

We don’t want to live our whole lives in pain – we want to heal and get better. We will always look out for answers and cures that could change our lives.

20. Love and support helps us to keep going

From strangers and co-workers, the little gestures like offering to help with our bags can really help to make our lives easier.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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