Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Step Four: Being Honest

In my completely unqualified opinion, the fourth step in understanding your pain is being honest and avoid the instinct to hide your pain from others.

I suck at this step.  I know I am saying it's part of the Beginner's Guide...but I like REALLY, REALLY suck at it. 

If you've frequented "pain" blogs or articles they are often titled "things you should never say to a chronically ill, chronically in pain person.." and they all talk about how you should never tell someone they don't look sick, or that they are "fine."  They are also talking about the things that we say to hide pain like, "I'm fine, it's not bad" and the list could go on.  And while there is ABSOLUTE truth to it, WE LET IT HAPPEN!

It's all my fault, I will take full responsibility for it.  I often use these phrases and statements because honestly, I'm super uncomfortable to answer it any other way.  Half of the individuals in my life don't know how bad I actually feel and the other half don't seem (just my observations) to understand.  Do I need them to care or understand? Well, yes actually I do.  But like I said, it's my fault!

I'll give you a little story.  I was recently talking to someone about a pain I was feeling.  They are an amazing individual and always support me 100%.  But, I finally said to them "you know I don't tell you every part of my body that hurts when you ask."  They naturally asked me why. My response, "if I told you everything that possibly hurt me in a day, you would think I am crazy and a complainer."  But, there is the reason right there.  I don't want people to think I am crazy. And the list began....and continued.  I got a pause of silence and then "wow, I had no idea."  Now, here is the crazy part, this person is my husband. 

If we can't be honest with those closest to us then how can we truly understand our experiences.  So here I go, a little honesty. 

I go to bed a decent time each night between 10-11 pm. By the time I decide to go to "sleep," I have already been in bed since 8 laying on heat.  It's been turned it off and back on at least three times before I fall asleep. I CAN'T fall asleep without the heat.
I sleep with a maternity pillow so that I can prop my head and knees without the pillow falling out of place.  Then I usually wedge a pillow on my other side so I can't move because lord help me, if I roll onto my side, I wake up in a lot of pain. 
Now, let me explain what I mean by "fall asleep."  I sleep extremely lightly, any movement or sound wakes me up.  Every time I readjust I wake up.  On average I am "in bed" for about 8-10 hours with the chances of sleeping at about 4-6 on a good night. 

Following me still? I wake up about 1-2 hours before I actually get out of bed.  This is so I can lay on my heat to take away the stiffness of not sleeping and muster the energy to shower in order start my day. 

Now to the good stuff, on average my back/hip hurts me about 85% of the day.  The other percent is for when I am deep in thought or meeting clients and I can focus on them and their pain instead of my own.  My pain scale for back is usually between at 5-40 (lol) okay, 10.  Average day is about a 6.  Today on the other hand is a 10. 

My scale goes like this:
0-3: No idea.... I have never experienced this as long as I can remember
4-5: I guess I'd compare this to a pulled muscle which is tight, slightly achy, and an annoyance
6-7: Next level pulled muscle, feels very tight, 50% movement, and deeper ache
8-9: 30% movement, pain with moving, starting to find it difficult to concentrate and move around
10: Limited movement, pain with movement, unable to sit comfortably, unable to stand comfortably, don't bother laying down, unable to think about anything but the pain, have I done anything productive today? Did I complete any work? What was I talking about?

On top of these, I experience other aches and pains, in combination with headaches and migraines (less frequently). 

There you have it, my honesty and our step four.  Even if it scares the crap out of you, or makes your feel like a giant complainer--just be honest.

Want to share your honesty with someone? I would love to hear from you, leave me a comment so I can share in your misery? Confusion? or whatever you want to call it. 

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