A Small Window into Living with Chronic Pain
Last updated: April 2023
I recently hurt my back. I’ve always had a somewhat weak back and can strain it easily, but years of core strengthening and stretching mostly nullified these issues, and I was fine.
But then I went traveling, and my workout routine went out the window. I was working every day from beds, sofas, and less-than-optimal desk setups.
Back pain started to creep back in, and then a few weeks ago, I pulled it badly.
The mental and physical strain of chronic pain
But why am I telling you all this? Being immobile and in significant pain for an extended period has given me a window into how my partner and many endo warriors live their lives.
At first, it made me grumpy. I would snap at my partner over little things and feel frustrated over tiny inconveniences that would put more strain on my back, like having to pick something up. But then I noticed other symptoms.
I was feeling exhausted by the end of each day. I was struggling to focus on my work, and I was even struggling to remember words for certain things. My frustration was turning to misery.
I wasn’t depressed by any means, as this was happening for a couple of weeks, but I could see how chronic pain would lead to feeling depressed and overwhelmed.
And that’s the point I’m getting at; I experienced severe chronic pain for a couple of weeks, and my work and mental state started to fall apart. I can only imagine the mental and physical strain that a life of chronic pain puts on people and the kind of strain endometriosis and its associated conditions can put on people.
A window into living with painful conditions
I always knew that chronic pain sucked. That part is pretty obvious. But I didn’t really have a window into the other symptoms, like fatigue and brain fog, until recently. This tiny exposure to a world many people live in every day has changed my understanding of living with a painful condition.
So to those like me, who are partners of those with endo or similar conditions and don’t have much experience with chronic pain: please understand that there is more to chronic pain than just feeling the pain. I have always known this in theory, experiencing it secondhand through my partner.
But having experienced it practically, even just 0.1% of it, I understand it more clearly now than ever.
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):