Blog Post 2 – No Judgements

Visually, I look fine. Well, maybe there is some evidence of something wrong, – in the dark circles under my eyes, or the irritated, unprovoked clap-backs that happen occasionally – but for the most part, when you look at me, your first assumption would be that I am healthy.

Nearly all of us living with chronic pain can relate: people just don’t believe you. When you try to interact with someone who’s never experienced chronic pain, their reaction tends to be mostly chilly. What compassion we do get is from others who suffer and can relate.

Society, family members, bosses, peers, even doctors all tend to judge quickly based on appearance. I can understand how it is easy to make assumptions at first glance and to assume because someone looks fine, it can’t really be that bad. But consider the statistics: outside of skin disorders, the top 10 reasons people visit the doctor’s office are for “invisible” issues – joint pain, back pain, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression, headaches, migraines and diabetes. None of these are visible when you look at someone.

There is a stigma attached to problems that can not be identified visually. When issues are not obvious, others can be very quick to assume someone is faking or embellishing the intensity and impact of their pain and discomfort, or inventing it entirely.

A drop in calm water is felt far beyond the point of disruption. When we look below the surface, we see just how many areas of life are affected – work, careers, productivity, activities, relationships, emotional health and wellbeing, finances, families – the ripples reach far beyond the surface. The impacts are woven into every area of life, causing deep-rooted suffering for long periods of time. Suffering mostly in silence or behind closed doors, we emerge only when presentable to the world again.

Younger sufferers can experience this misconception (that looking healthy means feeling and being healthy) even more regularly, as there is a common assumption that young people are healthy and heal fast, and couldn’t possibly know what chronic pain struggles feel like. This makes it really difficult for younger generations who are suffering through debilitating pain to get the support they need.

The reality check here is realizing that, at any age, chronic pain can be our own reality and life can spiral out of our control unexpectedly. Then we may fall into doubt, develop a negative mindset, and feel depression creeping up from behind and fully engulfing any of us in the vicious cycle.

It takes incredible strength and dedication to pick yourself up, find the determination to take control back in the face of the fear that runs your life, and reach a place of acceptance – that there is no cure. You have to fight – to achieve a “normal” that you can live with, to convince others that you are in pain, and for the right to be recognized. This can, and will, drain your energy bank all on its own.

To succeed you need support – a circle of people who are in your corner. I have been blessed to have had some extraordinary people support me and treat me which has shaped my life and how I manage pain today – it has saved me.

Finding support can be challenging, but that is exactly what we are here for! Follow our blogs, connect with us on our podcast, take part in our social media live chats, or subscribe to our magazine or our online community – whatever tool you need, the support is here.

We don’t judge here. We’ve tried, and continue to try, it all: medication, marijuana, treatments, healthy clean food, exercise, and any and all kinds of therapies. We are open and we support each other. We know what a rut looks like, what desperation feels like, and that heavy feeling of not knowing how you are going to make it through the next few days. We’ve been stuck – wishing, hoping, dreaming, eating, laying there – fantasizing about the life you wish you lived. Positivity seems so useless and the feeling of being hopeless pushes you back into the rut. Here, you can take off the “I’m fine” mask and show up as you are. Remember that life can be good – too good to stay stuck in this misery, every single day forever.

You can forget the rest – no second thoughts or searching for others who believe you. We believe you. We are here for you. We hear you, we see you, and we get you. Don’t get discouraged, get committed – to yourself. Focus all of your intention and fight on getting back up – and winning.

Find safety here, with us. Join our community of support and use us, through our blogs, videos, mini-courses, social media, tools or just seek comfort and inspiration following our blogs, in our testimonials and success stories from others. Don’t go any further on this ride alone.

Take the first step and fly to our website and check out our resources, or test your knowledge with our pain IQ quiz, pain assessment or determine your daily pain level on our pain scale.