Substance and Soul

On chronic illness

Samantha WetterholmComment

Thursday, 30 May 2013

I’ve been debating writing this post for a while but the past few weeks have been really tough and I decided that I needed to talk about it. 

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If any of you suffer from a chronic pain condition then you will understand the struggles that I face on a daily basis. I have several digestive, respiratory, and sleep disorders but the two that affect me daily are IBS {irritable bowel syndrome} and GERD {gastroesophageal reflux disease}. I won’t go into the specifics of each, but basically everything and anything can trigger painful symptoms for me.

I was diagnosed with IBS when I was around 8 or 9 and throughout the years I have gone through periods of calm and periods of extreme pain. I am currently in one of my very painful phases. Acute pain has an evolutionary purpose and is meant to tell us slow down, take it easy, let your body heal. Chronic pain has no useful or protective purpose. 

I don’t usually like to share how much I suffer daily because I don’t want to be seen as weak. I like to be seen as a strong, confident, and capable person while on the inside I often feel like I can barely stand. To say that I suffer daily is not an exaggeration. During my calm phases, the pain usually passes and I can continue with my day. Lately though, it’s been hard to even get out of bed. I feel like my insides are being stabbed and then set on fire and then wrung and stomped on by the hulk. I often just curl up in the fetal position with a heating pad and pray for sleep. I feel like I’m choking and I break out in cold sweats and little relieves the pain. 

There are a few things that I know can help get me into the calm phases. I can try light/low impact exercises, I can watch what I eat {dairy and alcohol are big culprits}, I can eat fiber daily, I can try to keep my stress levels low, and I can take hot baths. 

Most people don’t know that I am in pain all of the time. I try to live my life and keep going because I love this amazing life I have and I don’t want chronic pain to get in the way. I wouldn’t wish a chronic illness on anyone. I am grateful for the other aspects of my health that I do have and I hope that I can get out of this particularly horrible pain soon. 

Thank you for letting me share my struggles with you. If any of you suffer from a chronic illness, I deeply empathize with you {I apologize if this post was depressing, I will post something more upbeat tomorrow}.

Happy almost weekend!