Arthritis is a terribly thing. The pain from moderate and advanced arthritis is impossible to convey to people.
Everything is hard. Driving is hard, especially turning my neck around to back the car up. Holding the passenger seat with my right arm hurts my shoulder. Turning my head and neck to the right to see behind me is excruciating. Turning my head to the left to see over my shoulder to change lanes is very painful.
The extended family I live with insists on parking the cars in such a way that i have to back up, re-angle, back up again, several times. For them to park differently would be easy for them. To get understanding and compassion is impossible.
Arthritis, bulging discs, herniated discs, stenosis, some scoliosis. All of it painful. All of it invisible. I can get help and sympathy from some coworkers but usually people that have pain issues themselves.
It is hard to live with chronic pain but what is harder is the invisibility of it.
They don’t believe the level of pain. It is invisible. They get annoyed when you ask them to drive easy with you in the car. They think you are picking on their driving or trying to be bossy and controlling.
Anyone who knows me well would know I am not bossy or controlling. So why would I suddenly change personalities and become that way in the car?
They don’t think. It is too much trouble for them. They say their back hurts too. Their neck hurts too. They think that their stiff neck in the morning is the same as the pain of severe arthritis. But if they had this level of pain they would not be twisting , turning and bending so easily , the way they do.
They think I have a low pain tolerance. They think I am exaggerating the level of pain and difficulty of movement.
The worst part of chronic pain is the interaction with other people. It is the mental torment that becomes a constant pain in your heart from not being understood. From not being shown the compassion that you should be.
The chronic pain turns into frustration getting through the day. It begins to create a new problem which is social anxiety. There becomes a fear of being forced into painful activities by people who do not understand and will not take no for an answer.
It turns into fear and anxiety about how to get through the day. I worry starting in the morning about how the errand, chores, work and social interactions are going to be painful, difficult or impossible.
I worry about how to tell people “no” when they ask me to do something i can’t do without being perceived as rude. I get anxiety over how to communicate with people. They don’t take time to listen and understand. They want what they want.
Then I feel as though i would rather avoid potentially painful situations, rather try to get people to understand. I will find excuses to avoid family functions and other social situations because of the chronic pain.
I doubt that I am the only one who feels this way. I hope that this post was effective in validating people.