I won’t do a disservice to those who have lived with chronic pain for years by putting myself in the same category. I haven’t received an official diagnosis of “chronic pain” due to a life-threatening or non-curable disease. I have experienced medication-resistant pain for years though.
The problem with pain is that it is so outside of our control. It’s defined as a physical suffering or discomfort, but I find there is so much more to it. When you’re in pain for long periods of time, can’t find a treatment for it, and can’t find a way to decrease the pain – it does a certain damage to your soul.
It causes anxiety and depression. It creates feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, of being overwhelmed, of not having any control. It creates a world in which I am at the mercy of some non-living thing whose only purpose is to cause me suffering. And I am powerless against it.
In that perspective, who wouldn’t get depressed?
I have visited three different doctors regarding my pain this year alone. One was very kind and aided me in finding treatment. One gave me a diagnosis and a brutally honest treatment option of “I don’t know.” And the third told me it was all in my mind. He stated my pain would be better dealt with a therapist than with a medical doctor. Yeah, that was reassuring.
That’s not the first time a doctor has disregarded my report of pain. A doctor I went to last year told me I’m simply too sensitive, and that he “has to toughen me up a bit.” I don’t know why I continued going to that office, but it probably helped that I never saw him again (I was treated by his associates).
For those of us who deal with pain, finding the right doctor seems to be difficult. I have spoken to a lot of people that bounced around from office to office seeking help. I remember thinking negatively of such people, along the lines of “They just want a doctor to agree with them; They aren’t listening to the doctor; They’re just being stubborn; etc.” Now I find myself on the other side of that. I find myself bouncing from office to office because I refuse to stay with a doctor that won’t listen to me, has his own biases about me, or speaks to me in such a way that I do not feel comfortable.
That is my right. And I’ll be damned if I give that up so I won’t be judged.
For those of us living with pain, we can’t give up. We can’t accept one doctor’s opinion of us if we feel in our core that it isn’t right. Doctors make mistakes; they are human, have biases, and have different areas of expertise. We can’t expect them to be infallible.
I know myself, and I know that my pain is real. That’s good enough for me.
So, I’ll keep talking to different doctors. I’ll keep looking for treatment. Because being in pain sucks, I’m not going to sit around and just take it.
I wish you the best in your journey. And I hope you can send your pain straight to hell.