There’s something about the words top-secret stamped across a file, that invokes a visceral response, we want to know what is in the file. We can’t help ourselves, it’s a wholly human response. Sort of like kittens and their unlimited curiosity, something that I have had a lot of experience with the last couple of months! So why are we so secretive about our pain?
For many years life with chronic migraine and fibromyalgia for me meant, living in isolation, fear of the unknown, symptoms that were frightening and I didn’t understand, darkness, unrelenting pain, stigma of having both the diseases I was now living with being so misunderstood. Sadly it wasn’t family or friends who didn’t understand my chronic illnesses it was my doctor. At that time I wasn’t as knowledgeable about my chronic illnesses as I am now. My doctor made me feel guilty about my pain, accusing me of being a drug seeker, when my husband ask about seeing a headache specialist out-of-state, he told us that wasn’t necessary as my condition didn’t warrant it. Through a series of events that I have blogged about before, I bid that doctor adios and indeed saw the headache specialist out-of-state. Where I finally began to become more knowledgeable about my chronic illness and that was empowering!
Another thing that I have learned that can be empowering is to share your pain with others who are on the same journey you are. For far too long we have hidden our pain because we were afraid of the stigma attached to migraine and other chronic pain conditions. I think that the time for hiding is over no more putting our pain behind a top-secret stamp and filing it away. I think that the Elle magazine #migrainepose furor showed that many migraineurs are more than willing to be heard. A big part of advocating for yourself and others is being open about your pain. How can we talk about caring for the chronic pain patient and the opioid crisis if we never share our own experiences with pain?
The journey with chronic pain is a daily struggle, but I meet each day with hope, that today will not be a high pain day, with thankfulness, for my supportive husband and migraine warrior sister’s, with knowledge, if it is a high pain day I have the skills to deal with it and with empowerment, hoping that the pain I share can help someone else that day. The top-secret stamp has been thrown in the trash!
Live with hope,