Article | Let’s normalise talking about pain.

Let’s normalise talking about pain.

Pain sucks. There’s no if and or butt about it, it just sucks. But there’s something that sucks even more – telling people about the pain.

Why?

There’s a number of reactions that comes from telling about someone with pain. Shame. Embarrassment. Fear. That’s just a few of them. There’s been more than a handful of times that I can’t talk about my pain, not even on an offhand way, because it effects someone else, it scares them.  After I’ve told them more often than not they put it on me to make them feel better about my pain because they can’t deal with it.

Doctors do the same. Instead of admitting that they don’t know, they fumble from speciality to speciality attempting to make it seem like they know, but they don’t. Pain scares them, especially when they don’t know how or why the pain happens. They medicate because they’re not really sure how to deal. There will definitely be more on this at a later date.

Pain is scary, hell is scares the living daylights out of me daily. However, if there’s anything I’ve learnt over the past year or so is that yes, pain is scary (I don’t need to tell some of you that), but it’s that it’s okay that pain is scary. It’s scary for a reason. We may not like, and we may even actively try to ignore the reason, but there is usually a reason … even if that reason is that your body has forgotten to switch the pain off.

People with pain face enough stigma through medications, doctors, and even through internalisation of the stigma they face without having it from others. So, here’s what I propose:

Let’s normalise talking about pain so when a doctor doesn’t know what to do they don’t put you know yet another concoction  of meds that are just an endless cycle of side effects. Let’s talk about pain so we don’t use up all our energy for  the day hiding how we feel. Let’s talk about pain because pain isn’t a singular experience, it’s felt by everyone at different stages at their lives.

Maybe, just maybe, by talking about pain we might understand it better, and stigmatise it less because people are willing to talk openly and freely about it without sounding ‘needy’ or ‘over the top’. 

So, let’s normalise talking about pain, because pain sucks … but talking about it with someone that edges away from the conversation, or makes you feel embarrassed is even worse. It doesn’t have to be something drastic, it can be as simple as asking a friend in chronic pain what’s their personal pain scale, or telling a loved one that they can tell you when they are in pain.

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