I have spent the last seven years in chronic pain, That is pain that never goes away. I am in pain 24 hours a day. Even when I am sleeping I am in pain. I have endured, muscle spasms, a separated shoulder, nerve pain, aches, tingling, burning, pins and needles, throbbing, neck headaches, and a slipped disc. Yes this situation has affected my mood and my quality of life. It has changed me but it has not ruined me.
Since my injury is internal most people have no idea that I have chronic pain unless I tell them. I have been told that I look too good for people to believe I am in the pain that I say I am in. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard! I took very good care of myself before I was injured but I am supposed to stop keeping up my appearance so I can look “sick”. Chronic pain and the medications prescribed to deal with it can do a number on your mood and your self esteem. My appearance is one of the few things I can still control and looking good makes me feel good. So this is what I have to say to the people who think I should look a mess in order to sell my pain . . .
First of all, if you pay attention to my face you will see how I grit my teeth and brace myself when I am moving around. If you watch me walk you will notice that I favor my left side because that is my injured side. If you listen to me talk you will hear me say, “My back is burning, I am having a spasm in my leg, hand, foot, neck, shoulder, back or eye lid” (yes that actually happens). If you pay attention the signs of my pain are constant so I do not feel the need to walk around moaning and groaning, unless it is necessary. I refuse to lose myself in the depths of my pain.
With that said, I will not look like “who shot Johnny” (as my mother would say). My clothes will match and will not be too big, too small or wrinkled. My hair will be done and I will look like I knew I was leaving the house. I will not walk around looking like grumpy smurf. I may not always have a smile on my face but I will not always have a frown either. I will not be broke down, beat up or depressed. God didn’t make me that way. I will laugh and sing and dance because that IS how God made me. I will not be afraid and I will not give up. I will live my life on my terms. If that makes my pain and anguish seem less genuine then so be it. I have a chronic pain disorder but it is not my identity. It is what I have, not who I am. I am Lynette and I refuse to be anything or anyone else!