Imagine never knowing what it felt like to live without chronic pain. For those of us living with chronic pain this is quite easy, we remember our lives before our chronic illness took over our bodies. We can remember running, dancing, or just being able to sit up without pain. We not only remember what it is like to live without constant pain, we also long for those days to return. But what if we were born with this pain? What if we never knew what it felt like to be without pain?
As someone who suffers from constant chronic pains, I can attest that my tolerance level has changed over time. The longer that I live in pain, I find pains that I used to find unbearable are now tolerable. This doesn’t mean that the pains themselves are less, it is just that I have gotten used to it and/or new, more intense pains have entered my life making the old less intrusive. Getting used to a pain doesn’t mean that I am able to physically do what I used to before it. Instead it means that I am able to tolerate it better or in some cases able to do a little bit more than I used to when experiencing that particular level of pain. I imagine never knowing what it is to be pain-free would be similar, as new pains were added.
I humbly admit that it took me over a decade to come to terms with my conditions and to accept my limitations. Once I was able to do this I began to create a life that works for my body, my mind, and my family. My desire to be “normal” is gone. Not because I don’t want to live, but because wanting to be “normal” was keeping me from living the life I had.
I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had been born with my pain level where it is today. One thing is for sure, I would have nothing to compare it with. There would be no longing of the life I used to have. On the flipside, I would probably find myself longing to experience a pain-free moment, because who wouldn’t dream of not feeling pain. However if I only knew a life filled with physical pain, maybe I wouldn’t have waited so long to figure out my new way of living.
I am curious about a few things regarding the age in which your chronically pained life began. The first is, at what age did chronic pain disrupt your life? For me that age was 31. My second question is, from that point, how long did it take you to make adjustments to live your new life in pain? It took me close to 7 years to get over myself and start using mobility aids. And lastly, how long did it take you to stop living in hopes of returning to your old life? It was 12 years before I finally realized that I will never get my old life back and that it was time to create a new one.
I guess it doesn’t really matter when our life with chronic pain begins, however what does matter is our attitude and our will to create the best life possible no matter what!
Wishing you a day filled with gentle hugs and many smiles,