I was out one day with two family members that know I suffer from chronic pain and illness. We had lunch and then went walking around a few sites where we were. Both of them were complaining of aches and pains after we walked around a while and climbed stairs, etc. Finally, at one point one of them asked me, “Aren’t you in pain? You haven’t’ said anything all day.”
I was surprised at the question. Of course I’m in pain. My chronic pain never goes away and with all the walking and such we were doing I was clearly limping and was even partially leaning over.
My reply was, “Yeah, I’m hurting. But it is what it is. We’re almost done walking so I’ll make it.” and that was that.
What I was thinking was, “Of course I’m in pain! But focusing on it won’t change it and probably will only make it worse. I’d rather enjoy the day.”
I didn’t complain about it because it wouldn’t change how much pain I was in. When I complain about being in pain it is for a reason. For example, to let someone know I can not go any further or need to slow, or sit down. Simply complaining I’m in pain with other people doesn’t change my pain and it only makes other people uncomfortable. The “regular people”; the ones without pain; don’t want to hear about your pain. I have found that if you want to continue to be around regular people its is best not to talk about your pain openly very often. Only speak of it when you must. The rest of the time its best to be quiet about it.
It also helps my own outlook not to be constantly focused on the pain. If I am not thinking about and talking about my pain at all times I can focus on other things and enjoy other aspects of life. I can put the pain in the back of my mind and life life. If someone is talking about their pain then they are focusing on their pain; which means they aren’t focused on anything else. That is unfortunate. Obviously they are missing out entirely on life.
I didn’t tell them all of that because they clearly wouldn’t understand and would think I was criticizing them for their own complaining.
I was still quite puzzled about them asking me if I was in pain. They know my pain is chronic and does not go away. So, did they think I was being stoic? I wonder what it was they thought that made them ask the question.
It was a beautiful day and I was having a very nice time and experiencing life in spite of my pain.
Sure I’m in pain, but not everything is about being in pain.