There’s a meme going around Facebook about chronic pain. Imagine if your visit to the doctor was like a fire crew coming to a burning house. You tell them, there’s smoke coming out the roof, my gutters are dropping fire water into the yard, my bookshelf, television, and curtains are all on fire. I need help. The doctor says, “well you’re probably just going to have to deal with the curtains being on fire. What about the couch that’s on fire?”

You reply, “oh, the couch is always on fire. I just ignore that.”

Pretty quickly you start to see just how silly and foolish the approach to treating pain is. And that’s because the main thing that they use to put out the fire–water–is suddenly not available. Nope, can’t use water because someone might use too much of it. People might turn to illegal water sources to get their water. People might become addicted to water.

September is chronic pain awareness month, and I’d like to talk to you about what it’s like to live with chronic pain.

My experience is different from many because due to the rural nature of where I live and the lack of medical choices, I don’t have any medical care. As soon as a doctor hears that you’re a pain patient, there’s “nothing they do can for you.” If you, like me, have fibromyalgia which doesn’t show up on any blood tests in this backwards neck of the woods. (There is a blood test that looks promising, but is under study right now.), well they tell you that you’re faking it. That it’s all in your head. And you can’t get any medical care. Since most of my readers are women, I feel pretty comfortable sharing that I can’t even get birth control pills because flat out no one wants to deal with a chronic pain patient when it comes to medical care.

So why do I talk about my chronic pain? I do so because while there is a month devoted to chronic pain awareness, we need more awareness. With awareness there will be more empathy in the medical community. With awareness we’ll have fewer politicians talking about the opioid crisis without mentioning chronic pain patients. With awareness we might have more money devoted to chronic pain research, rather than the paltry amount that’s now given to it.

I speak to remove the stigma surrounding chronic pain. I speak because there are those who can’t.

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