That I have chronic pain issues is something that I’m fairly open about. There’s no shame in it, because it’s just part of who I am. I don’t go into detail publicly about what my specific issues are, or how I got this way, because it’s not really anyone’s business. I will acknowledge that I have been judged before, and treated as less-than, because of it. There isn’t anything visibly wrong with me, so some people assume that I’m faking it. That’s why I remain guarded. I don’t take prescription painkillers, because I fear becoming addicted. I also fear the pigeonhole I’d get shoved into, being treated like an addict simply because I took medicine that others all too frequently abuse.
Thus far in my life I have managed my pain with lifestyle changes. I try to eat right and get a moderate amount of exercise. My furniture is comfortable and gives me the support I need, where I need it. I can’t sit too long, or stand too long, so I routinely get up and move around. I fill my life with people who get it, who don’t judge me for having to do some things differently, who don’t push me when I get frustrated, and who tolerate my moodiness.
This is why I love writing. It doesn’t hurt. I can sit in a comfortable chair and use my brain and my hands. I’ve written before about being chained to a desk in the corporate world, and being held to a schedule and standards that physically don’t work for me. Just because I have to work a little differently doesn’t mean that I’m incapable of being productive, or even excelling. When I’m writing I can stop when I’m getting uncomfortable, and do what I need to do in order to address my pain.
More importantly, it doesn’t hurt socially or emotionally. I don’t have to listen to people telling me to “suck it up”, or “tough it out”, or accusing me of trying to get attention. I don’t have to explain why I need an accommodation, or to justify my need for a little comfort. I’m not forced to share personal information with people that I do not want to share with, just so I can be in a bit less pain. I don’t have to try to hide the fact that I’m in pain, or feel ashamed of it, or fear that other people are going to treat me differently because of it. Because I can write, I don’t feel that I have to beg people for scraps of compassion.
You can read more about Why I Write here.