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What Neverending Pain Reveals to You

What Neverending Pain Reveals to You | A Chronic Voice

A Question on Quora

A question on Quora got me thinking: “What does one learn from living with chronic pain?”. Chronic illness turns your world upside down, and it’s impossible to look at it the same way again.

The Fragility of Mankind

I think the biggest realisation that dawned on me, is how fragile human beings truly are. There is a subtle arrogance when one possesses a body that is free of ailments. You feel invincible; that as long as you have enough willpower, you can conquer the world. That as long as you push yourself hard enough, you will get what you want. That you can fuel your system with caffeine and work round the clock, denying the infirmity of sleep to achieve ‘success’. This arrogance becomes a norm that permeates into every aspect of our lives, from relationships to work. You think you have time, and you have no concept of dependence. What is ‘the end’? It is incomprehensible when you are feeling so fine. Why would you need help? Ego is a great manager and has everything under control.

When you live with chronic pain, you come face to face with mortality on a daily basis. The end never feels too far away. You will need help in one form or another, whether you like it or not. If not of a physical nature, then moral or financial. You will realise how little it takes to break the human body; yet you will also realise how much life there is in one single breath.

There is No Answer

The idea that ‘you will never recover’ is foreign to most people. When illness or pain wrecks you, you know that it will pass. This knowledge grants you some strength and comfort. But chronic pain has no beginning or end, and we move alongside the world of healthy bodies. Nothing seems amiss at first sight, because the world moves too quickly to really see.

With all our advances in medicine and technology, it’s easy to presume that there’s always a solution. But chronic illness has no answer, it is always lurking somewhere, even while in remission. It breathes with us, eats with us, sleeps with us. To the point where sometimes, I think I have even grown attached to its detestable company, simply because it has become familiar. I notice when it is missing. Where could it be? Something is not right with the world. Is it coming back with more of its friends?

‘Awareness of our fragility’ might not seem like the most important life lesson in the world, but it is the biggest realisation for me. I want to write something positive and insightful in conclusion here, but there is nothing more to it. I would like to say that it forces me to examine my mortality such that I can live with more purpose, but in reality, I am just trying to get by like everyone else in this world.

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Read More: Finding Your Self Behind the Illness

    For More Insight:

  • The real impact of pain that people cannot see (
  • Realizing You’re Not Invincible (
  • The Fragility Of Life (
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Living with chronic pain forces you to face your mortality on a frequent basis. You come to realise how equally fragile and amazing we are as human beings. Click to read or pin to save for later. ////////// chronic illness & pain / spoonie life / life lessons / mental health / self awareness / mortality #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #spoonies #LifeLessons #SickLessons

Living with chronic pain forces you to face your mortality on a frequent basis. You come to realise how equally fragile and amazing we are as human beings. Click to read or pin to save for later. ////////// chronic illness & pain / spoonie life / life lessons / mental health / self awareness / mortality #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #spoonies #LifeLessons #SickLessons

Living with chronic pain forces you to face your mortality on a frequent basis. You come to realise how equally fragile and amazing we are as human beings. Click to read or pin to save for later. ////////// chronic illness & pain / spoonie life / life lessons / mental health / self awareness / mortality #ChronicPain #ChronicIllness #spoonies #LifeLessons #SickLessons

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  • I actually remember the days when I got sick and knew that I would get better again. Sometimes realising that you will never get well again gives you a completely different perspective on life. Sadly, those around you are constantly expecting you to get better again no matter what. I think you have articulated this perfectly Sheryl.

    • Thank you Anne! It’s an old post and I need to update it soon with new perspectives gained over the years, too. Life certainly didn’t turn out how I wanted it to be at all, but that’s life, isn’t it?!

  • Chronic pain for me has shifted my experience of reality, like a kaleidoscopic image that got turned, and now life and the world look surreal. I am still here, but I observe the world looking out from within this contracted person. This unique experience cannot be translated for those who do not live with it. They can observe the symptoms – immobility, agony, grief, etc – but they’ll never know how it feels. For which I am grateful. But for us, we are plunged into an existential mystery where profound questions, although seemingly pointless, nevertheless persist: what’s this really about? what remains of my life? Am I doing something wrong? Like Heracles we are adrift on the dark waters, in our Vessel of the Sun, our soul. Although far apart in place and geography, we find ourselves together on this reluctant pilgrimage, companions in a realm that exists almost in another dimension. A Strange Land.

  • I can relate to every word you said here Sheryl, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It really is crazy how much we all push ourselves trying to match society’s expectation to always be on the go and constantly working. We don’t realise how precious our health is until we lose it and it’s crazy how simple tasks like showering, cooking and walking I always took for granted before. Now being able to do them everyday feels like an achievement. No matter how much time passes I constantly need to remind myself to prioritise rest and sleep, whenever I neglect these things like I have the past couple of weeks my health always deteriorates. Thank you for such a timely and important reminder.

    • Aww…thank you lovely. I think all chronic illness people can relate to it. The vulnerability and mortality. Depending on which way the light shines, it can be either enlightening or frightening… or both 😉

    • Hi Lucy, I’m sorry it’s so relatable 🙁 Pain really is neverending with chronic illness, isn’t it. Doing, or being unable to do, the simplest of tasks can feel so defeating and depressing. But we do live to try again another day. And you’re not alone. Sending hugs xx

  • I’m having a very bad day today and my pain is amped considerably. I know it’s a direct result of stressful things that have happened in the last couple of weeks. It’s always there, but very unpredictable. It does force you to really look at things closely. What do I do to make it worse? How am I going to cope with the escalating pain until it backs off? It’s all-consuming.

    Great post, Sheryl.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that you’re in pain again Carrie… it truly is neverending and so frustrating, isn’t it? 🙁 I have no idea how you manage to run a business full-time concurrently! For me pain and fatigue occupy so much space in a day and I just can’t focus anymore 🙁 Sending gentle hugs to you and hope you feel a little lighter and better soon.

  • So true about people’s understandings and assumptions. I have had people think I am fine now because I take medication. As though it is a magical cure that means all my symptoms disappear in a puff of smoke. If only . . .

    • Yea so true huh…assumptions are a b*tch! If only it were as simple as a linear process, which I think we learn early on, never is the case.

  • This is a beautiful exploration of an important lesson about chronic illness. The one part “well” people can’t get is the ongoing nature of it, the all day, every day, “eat with it, breathe with it” nature and that can eat at your soul if you let it.

    • Thank you Melissa. Yes I think it really is hard to comprehend ‘all day, every moment’, because it really is quite impossible to comprehend! It really does sap a person of their soul, and their mental health really needs to a boost in whatever way possible.

  • Great insight! The thought of how others can take their well-being with arrogance stuck with me through you post.. I just think someone who has never been hurt doesn’t think about it! Living with chronic pain or illness makes us more aware that others don’t think about a consequence of an injury until it happens! Thank you for sharing your thoughts… I love you blog

    • Thank you so much for your support, Holly, I appreciate it 🙂 Yes I guess it’s easy to take things for granted when all is well and ‘normal’. Sending good thoughts to you for the new year, too! xx

  • I think the hardest part for me is the never ending state of chronic illness, and the limitations that come with it. Explaining this is hard to people sometimes. You’re right, they seem to think there’s some quick fix, that it’ll pass or something.

    Thank you for this!

    • Indeed, the hardest part is the unpredictability for me. And I suppose black and white, quick fixes are easier to think about 🙂 You’re welcome and take care!

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