How It Feels When My Chronic Pain Is at a 'Worse Day' Level

Mia R.
an asian woman crying

I am currently sitting at my desk at work crying. I am crying because my chronic pain issues are at a “worse day” level. I am crying because I am on my third round of three ibuprofen. I am crying because I have been slamming energy drinks down. I am crying because I am in pain. I am crying because that pain exhausts me mentally, physically and emotionally despite 9 ibuprofen, a decongestant, allergy medications, ADHD medications and trying to take it easy while remaining productive.

I am trying anything I can think of to get my pain under control and today I am failing. Days like today I cry for the life I feel I was robbed of…the person I used to be that was capable of so much more. I cry for the mom my children may not even remember existed because she has been replaced with a shadow version who (with time) isn’t getting better but worse. I cry for the days I am so exhausted from pain, I get home and get them dinner and then can’t do anything more than fall asleep. I’m missing out on the little time I have with my wonderful, amazing family.

Related:50 Ways to Support a Loved One on a Chronic Pain Day

My tears are full of resentment for the things I miss out on; they’re full of exhaustion and they’re full of hopelessness. I push myself as hard as I can, and often I push myself beyond my limits.

I hate myself for the days I just…can’t. Those are my worst days. The days I just can’t keep going, or “going” is like being a snail in a rabbit race. Every day I do my best, I take many steps to try to make sure I can make it. I have OTC pain medications, muscle rubs, pain relieving patches; I have special light blocker glasses, I have adjusted my computer screen to a point where when staff I do not know walk past my workspace and see it, they often stop and comment on how dark it is and ask me if I can see. I even have this giant green leaf awning from IKEA my supervisor gave me to block the harsh bright ceiling light from my line of sight. I have a massager for my neck and shoulders, a heating pad, ice packs and I see a chiropractor as often as I can.

Related:I’m Sorry, but I Don’t Owe Anyone an Apology for My Chronic Pain

My life revolves around my pain and trying to prevent it from increasing, reducing it or merely surviving it. Today is a day I message my partner things like:

“I am just so worn out by all of this.”

“I can’t live like this.”

Today is the kind of day that makes me think of all the plans my partner and I make, that I can’t do. It makes me think of all the walks with him and our dog, Archie (which is one of my absolute favorite things to do in this world), that I cannot go on. It makes me think of all the time doing activities with my kids that I have and will miss. And so I cry. I cry out of emotional pain, because of my physical pain. I want to scream; I want to throw things, break things and destroy things like my pain is doing to me. I am tired. I am so, so tired.

Related:How Pain Neuroscience Education (PNE) Is Changing Chronic Pain Treatment

I can’t live like this, yet here I am — living like this, because the only other option is to opt out of life and trying, and that is not an option.

Today is just a bad day, just a “worse day” level. Maybe tomorrow won’t be as bad. Maybe it will. All I know is I am surrounded by photos of the reasons for me to keep going and keep trying everything I can to be at my best, even when that best is nothing more than sitting at my desk crying. I won’t ever stop trying to live my life. I will continue to make plans, I will continue to look forward to events and I will continue to take all the steps I can to ensure I can make it to and through those events. I will plan to go to my children’s school concerts, I will try to bring them to apple orchards, I will always strive to go to as many parades, festivals, carnivals, sporting events, dance showcases and go on every walk that I can. I mourn the loss for all I cannot, but I live for everything that I can. Life for a person who has chronic pain is a delicate balancing act, while the ground under your feet is unstable. It’s exhausting, it’s impossible and it’s incredibly hard. But…we do it, the best we can.

Read more stories like this on The Mighty:

When Chronic Pain Makes Me Think of a Ghost

16 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because Your Pain Is Constant

When I Lost My Sense of Self Because of Chronic Pain