Dealing with Misconceptions About Chronic Pain

For the majority of my life, I have dealt with misconceptions. People have always judged me without knowing me. When I talk about my mental health struggles, I’m always seen as “crazy.” I have Bipolar disorder, and people assume that I’m “unstable and violent.” On the contrary, I would never hurt a fly. I have been treated for Bipolar disorder for the past 4 years. I take my medications everyday, and I am able to control the rapid cycling that I experience with having Bipolar disorder.

This year, however, I am dealing with more hurdles: Degenerative Disc Disorder in the L4, L5 regions of my lower back, and chronic headaches. When my back started hurting in February, I was in too much pain to continue working as a Certified Nursing Assistant. It was a job that I loved, and I was sad to go on medical leave.

With no income coming in, I had to file for state assistance. I hated applying for state assistance because I’m really not one to trust the government. Being bedridden for a good amount of the spring, I went through a painstaking application process. The DSS office was incredibly rude and slow to process my application. I contacted my state representative, and my application was approved. To help make money, I began writing online full-time. I dealt with a lot of misconceptions about my situation. People thought that I was lazy, pathetic, a low-life, a parasite, and a mooch of the system. People also said that my online writing wasn’t a real job. My thoughts? If I’m being paid for it, it IS a real job! You try writing, publishing, SEO Optimization, website development, etc, and see how well YOU do. I am doing what I can while I am riding this thing out.

Thankfully, I will soon be seeking help from a Neurosurgeon and a Neurologist. I still have a long way to go, but, writing online has helped me relax and be sane. I am making some money off of writing, and it’s helping with buying groceries and household supplies.

I want to confront all of these misconceptions that people have about me. Not that I need to answer to anyone, but, I am in moderate to severe pain everyday. Even if I’m on my feet for 20 minutes, my back hurts. If I sit for the same amount of time, my back hurts. I can’t even wash dishes without my back hurting. I wake up with terrible headaches everyday. Medication doesn’t really help me.
Despite being in constant pain, I still get up everyday. I shower, get dressed, and face my day. I have a home office that I write from, and I do art for therapy.

What I deal with is part of what is known as Invisible Illness. Just because you cannot see my pain, doesn’t mean that it is not there. Each day is a struggle, but, I take everything day by day. That’s the only way I can deal with this thing.

 

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