1. You cancel social plans despite actually wanting to attend.
Chronic pain is like having that one shitty, sloppy relative you barely tolerate ask if they can stay with you for a week…and instead move in permanently. And by that I mean, what little energy you have left for social interactions often gets zapped up by that incredibly rude house guest.
2. You struggle with spontaneity.v
Again, it’s not that you don’t want to indulge in random adventures. It’s that you’re not sure how your body will react and that’s a terrifying thought. The last thing you ever want is to be a burden to those around you just wanting to have a fun time. So, you err on the side of caution and just, don’t.
3. You have an irregular sleeping pattern.
Insomnia has a tendency to go hand-in-hand with chronic pain syndromes. Have you ever tried sleeping when you have the flu and all-over body aches? Yeah, not easy, right? Chronic pain can make sweet dreams a little difficult.
4. You can occasionally come across as grouchy.
It’s hard to maintain a super positive, upbeat attitude all the time when your body is throbbing. Tell your loved ones to be patient. You will have off days. That’s okay.
5. You have difficulty remembering things.
Chronic pain doesn’t JUST mean it’s isolated to below the neck. Brain fog is very real and an affliction many chronic pain sufferers have to deal with.
6. Sometimes you appear fidgety.
You’re constantly trying to settle into your body. As people when something hurts, we have a tendency to squirm. We’re looking for a better position, a place that feels okay. You do that, whether you’re conscious of it or not.
7. You might look “fine” but that doesn’t mean you feel fine.
Probably one of the hardest things to explain to the outside eye – just because you look okay doesn’t mean you feel okay. Chronic pain isn’t always visible. That can make explaining its severity much harder.
8. You can’t always keep up, physically.
I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that your body already has more mountains to climb than the average. That means if you join pals on a hike, the next day you might not be able to hit up spin class. Your body hurts more than the average body your age. That means your recovery time is also a lot longer. Just remember, you’re not lazy or even out of shape. You just have to listen to what YOUR body tells you.
9. You escape into things.
Be it Netflix, music, or some other form of entertainment, you’re no stranger to escapism. TV shows, movies, video games, you name it, they all become a distraction to your body. They become a new thing to focus on.
10. You pretend everything is okay.
Because sometimes, it is. Sometimes things are okay, chronic pain and all. Doesn’t mean it’s easy. Doesn’t mean you wouldn’t trade it for a normal, healthy life. But you’re still brilliant and talented and capable of so, so many things. Sometimes you pretend everything is okay. Because it reminds you that, overall, everything is still okay.