That’s interesting. What exactly is the right way to look like I’m in pain? Do I need to limp? Have bruising to actually SHOW the pain? Moan and groan all day? Complain constantly?
Would that make you more comfortable or make it more believable?
Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it works. I think you’ll find that if you pay attention to the little things, you really will see the coping mechanisms so many people use while in pain, and that sharing that pain with the world isn’t really all that easy. Here’s a few of my own coping mechanisms…
Heat – while at work, I sometimes put the little fan heater on under my desk, no matter how hot it is outside. That direct heat to my legs can be a life saver for joint and muscle pain.
Tea – you’ll notice I switch from normal black tea to herbal tea when I feel a migraine coming on.
Movement – I often get up from my desk to clean the kitchen and other little things around the office when I’m in pain. Sometimes sitting still just makes me crazy in that situation.
Rest – that’s an obvious one, but one you wouldn’t ever see. I often can’t sleep from the pain, but I can’t do anything else either. So I lie in bed with my eyes closed, sometimes just hugging a hot water bottle.
Now those are just a few of my own, but you don’t really realise the strength in people until you realise that they’re not showing their pain, no matter how debilitating it feels. However, the sad truth is, they often feel scared to show it when they really need to. Will I be judged? Am I being annoying?
It’s interesting and sad to me that even through that pain that so many people with chronic illness feel on a daily basis, they feel the need to hide it for other people’s sakes. Why? But then when you finally reach the point of needing to say something when it gets too bad, you’re then judged for not looking like you’re in enough pain. It’s really a lose lose situation.
That’s not something I can be angry about though. It’s very hard to empathise with something if you’ve never experienced it, and we’ve all been guilty of that.
A little more compassion, a little more understanding, and a little more awareness would go a long way 💫