Stuck on Repeat with Chronic Pain

Today, I woke up and didn’t feel good. When my alarm went off and I felt the familiar ache in my abdomen, I wondered whether or not I should get up. I wonder this almost every morning. I usually get up, but some days I don’t. Today, though, I got up.

As the day went on, I did my best to ignore the pain and focus on my actual work. This seemed successful for a bit. Then, during lunch, I went to a kickass panel of my co-workers who are published authors. Talk about motivation, right? Anyway, as I listened to my co-workers talk about their accomplishments and how they did it, my thoughts kept drifting to my own life, as you do. I thought about what it would be like to write a book. It was exciting for a second — thinking about this picture. I mean, duh. Fun. Whatever. Then reality set in.

When I think about my life, I mean really think about it, I get pretty sad. Which isn’t to say that my life is sad — it’s not, really, I don’t think. I find happiness in something every day. But when I think about my life, I’m forced to think about my pain. This pain is expansive. It is both physical and mental and sometimes overwhelms me. And when I think about my pain, I of course think about the effect that it has on my day-to-day life. To say that it affects me in some way every single day is not an exaggeration, though it probably sounds like one. When I’m not in actual physical pain, I am anxious in my mind wondering when the next flare up will be. And when I’m not anxiously awaiting the next round of pain, I’m trying to stay mentally above water from dealing with the repercussions of living in an almost constant state of pain.  I mean, even as I type this, I’m deleting sentences over and over again because I’m so tired of talking about this, I barely even know how to anymore. I’m so tired of thinking about it, of going through this cycle of emotion over and over again. I’m so tired of this being my reality.

So, yes, when I think about my life, I think about my pain. And lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m in my own version of the movie Groundhog Day and I just want this goddamn curse to end. My life feels like its on an endless loop.

  • Wake up, talk yourself through the inevitable morning pain.
  • Make it through the day while trying to stay positive and reminding yourself that you are not your illness. Also, perform your actual job and do your best to socialize with people. Maybe read some gossip blogs about Teen Mom. 
  • Rush home, hug your dog, immediately lie down because you don’t feel good / are exhausted from being in a constant battle with your body.  Watch Bravo because it’s iconic.
  • Repeat.

When I try to think about writing a book — or doing like, anything, really — it never seems realistic. Because the reality is, holding down a full-time job is sometimes difficult for me. I hate saying that! I hate it. Because man, what the fuck? Other people have it 1049302x harder than I have, I know that. But shockingly, reminding myself that other people have it worse than I do doesn’t make my vagina feel any better.

It feels slightly ridiculous and incredibly self-centered to find a way to make a panel of successful, badass authors somehow into my own sob story. I know this. So don’t bother @ing me. But that’s what life is like when you have a chronic illness. You try so hard to plan your future, to do exciting things, and to have complete control of your destiny. And then chronic pain comes in and fucks it all up. 

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P.S. Buy my co-worker’s books here, here, and here.

 

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11 responses to “Stuck on Repeat with Chronic Pain

  1. As a girl who’s had vestibulodynia for 7 years now (got it at 19, now I’m 25) I literally cannot tell you how much I relate to everything you say. Your thoughts are mine exactly. It helps to know there’s someone else out there who understands the struggle, when no one else in my life can even grasp the concept. Thanks for putting your thoughts out there Lara!

    • Lauren,
      I have vestibular vulvodynia too! I have had it for 10 years and was JUST diagnosed in April (after being misdiagnosed with Vaginismus). Would love to hear more about your journey if you’re willing to share! Mine is hormonal? And I finally found a doctor who knows a sliver of information about it.

      • Hi Brigid! It’s definitely tough to find the right doctor for this sort of thing — I got quite lucky (and also because I was super persistent/I’m sure annoying haha) and I was diagnosed in just 3 months by a gynecologist in my area (Twin Cities) back in 2011. I have some bladder/ abdomen type pain as well so I spent some time back and forth between a gyno and a urologist for some time while also being in college. I tried a few different meds, none of which were super helpful.. the only thing that has helped me at all has been botox shots which I fought to get approved by my insurance. I got my first one at the end of 2012 and have had quite a few since.. has been the only thing that has helped me function with the vestibulodynia, but they’re definitely painful to get as I’m always awake for them but it’s like 2 minutes and done, been through worse haha. As for my abdomen pain getting off the pill helped with that but nothing else really does, so hormones could play some role but I’ve had mine tested multiple times and really got nowhere. I wish I knew what had caused mine, being on the pill, bad luck, etc… but I still don’t have any answers as to what triggered these issues, probs will never know. I would recommend just being kinda relentless in getting to a gyno who knows what they’re actually doing. A gynecology surgeon is who does the botox, I would definitely look into it, it took awhile for me to see any difference but I did eventually and can even tolerate tampons now which back in 2011-2013 would’ve been impossible.

        Hope my journey can help you in any way!
        And thanks again Lara for sharing your journey with me/all of us! Been so awesome seeing something so relatable on Buzzfeed, I love reading your stuff!

  2. I’ve had severe vulvodynia since I was 17 (I’m now 24). Because of being in such a lot of pain for so long, I’ve developed central sensitisation too, and every morning I wake up in huge pain. Just this morning, I had to coax myself out of bed over the course of two hours, telling myself I was brave and the day would be over before I knew it. Just got to keep putting one foot in front of another. But the employee guilt is SO REAL so thank you for writing about it, Lara! You regularly make me feel less alone, even all the way over here in the UK xx

  3. Hey love. I just came across your blog through insta. Im trying to find an original post about your diagnosis etc but bit lost on the site. Just wanted to double check youve been checked for endometrosis? I saw crap doctors for 10 years on and off and had lots of pelvic pain and cystits when not on the pill. Began to believe it was all in my head until i started trying for a baby. 12 months and unsuccessfull. Just last month a fertility specialist has found i have endometrosis and it grows on the bladder too. He says so much stigma and misdiagnosis in women’s health. Takes women in average 10 years to get diagnosis. Apalling!! Anyway thinking of you and sending lots of love. Hope you can get more better days than not sometime soon xo

    • Oh shit. Sorry i just read someone elses comment… just found out you do have endo! Feel you there. It sucks! Sorry for my idiot comment.

  4. Hello,
    I was diagnosed about 10 years old when i met my husband and having intercourse was super painful. I had surgery to remove “damaged” skin plus pulvic floor and all the rest to get better. Nothing worked.
    I managed to have two kids but not without pain at conception. I am still married with the same guy. Things are not easy as he wants to get intimate and i dont want to. I believe in LOVE but people aka my husband has needs that i cant fulfill. He wants to stay with me but its a difficult situation between the sheets, the rest is fine though.

  5. I have had chronic bilateral hip pain since I was 11. 19 years later and I finally got a diagnosis – juvenile arthritis. While I don’t have the same pain as you, I’ve never read anything before that so closely matches my day to day life. Thank you for showing me that I’m not alone,,,

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