A letter to people about pain killers
I see a lot of websites were people in chronic pain are asking for help from the community or from Doctors. These questions range from how do I stay awake or alert when my body is always so tired all the way to questions about how to poop when you are on pain killers.
A few things to consider first: People who genuinely need to be on painkillers are not dope addicts so don’t treat us like it is somehow our fault. Just from my experience I see a Doctor every month which means I get my blood pressure taken, weight, fill out a pretty personal questionnaire and talk to a doctor about how I am doing. Not to mention random urine screenings to make sure that one I am taking the right medication but more importantly that everything is alright internally with things like my kidneys. So when you give me advice that I did not ask for it is not helpful and frankly insulting. You know absolutely nothing about my situation and frankly your intermittent back pain that goes away if you take a hot bath or a few Tylenol does not qualify you to tell me I don’t need medication to get over my pain.
A not so quick side note about what it is like to be in chronic pain. If you have not experienced this you literally cannot understand because everything in your life up to this point has had an end. I’m speaking a little for other sufferers of chronic illnesses here as well. When you get sick somewhere in the back of your mind you know you will get better soon. That horrible headache that feels like it will never end eventually does, when you hurt your back or break your knee or rip all the tendons out of your leg. Still you don’t understand, because even if you don’t know exactly when your nightmare has an end.
Now imagine that your worst flu or the time you fell down the stairs and hurt yourself so bad you hoped you could die, imagine if those symptoms never went away. Imagine dealing with that flu or back pain for years, not off and on or just when you stand up but all the damn time. Imagine if it woke you up in the middle of the night. Imagine if even in your dreams your body is screaming at you for some kind of relief. Now go deal with that for a few years. It is a little like having a nail in your skull that someone taps on with a sledge hammer every 2 to 10 seconds and you don’t know when it’s coming. Then someone comes along and tells you it is all in your mind. Then they try and tell you that rubbing essential oils on your feet and thinking about puppies will make it all go away.
You don’t think we have tried literally anything that might help? (I don’t go to two hours of physical therapy every single day because it’s fun, it F&$%@ing hurts. I can barely move after I’m done it gets so bad at times my body literally shuts down because I cannot handle a single ounce more pain.)
Now let’s add all of that fun stuff up the fatigue + the wear and tear + the damage to our psyche + the emotional toll it all takes. Now let’s take you dear reader let’s add up all the stuff you go through on daily basis and add to the total. The bad days, the restless nights, getting sick, and paying bills. We still get to do all of those fun things as well.
So now that you have all your problems and add on a nice steaming pile of never ending searing hot pain on top. Do you really think that after all that I want to hear a lecture about how being on pain medication is bad? Don’t you think I would give literally anything to make it stop? You think I want to be on pain meds? I hate them I hate everything about them.
But just because some jack off decides his life isn’t interesting enough and drives his car into a wall on meds doesn’t mean any of us are like that idiot. We aren’t using pain meds to escape reality we are taking pain meds to be part of it. So next time someone asks you for advice don’t lecture us on homeopathic medicine and how getting off the pain meds would magically make all our other problems go away. It sounds like you use this magic fairy dust of alternative medicine and still have problems so why would my life be any different? You are not a doctor and certainly you’re not my doctor.
I came to you for help and you told me I was living my life wrong. It’s like I came to you because I was hungry and you told me hunger was just an illusion. I came to you because I was sad and you told me I was breathing wrong. I came to you on the internet because I feel so closed off from the world that I had no one else to turn to and you told me it was my fault. I told you I was bleeding and you offered me a snide comment and essential oils. (Seriously what is it with people thinking essential oils can literally cure anything?)
Try to understand I am not trying to attack you, we lash out because we are always under attack. Our bodies are attacking us, our minds are attacking us, even those we reach out to attack us. We get dirty looks from pharmacists like we are heroin addicts or untrustworthy. We are constantly questioned by our doctors our insurance companies and our own families.
Even when we have medical proof because they cannot see our pain they don’t understand. They say things like “you look like you are feeling so much better.” When really we just learn to hide it from others. So please when we ask you for help it’s because we are near the end of our rope. So don’t slap away our outstretched hand with condemnation and judgment. Just answer the question we asked, in short try not to be a dick.