Why It's Easier to Not Mention The Pain


I've had fifteen years in more or less constant pain - on a scale of 1-10, between 2003 and 2005 it was at 4 or 5, from 2006 to 2014 it increased to 8 and for the past three-something years it's hit 9 on a good day and 10 on a bad one - but the majority are good, I suppose!

The problem with being in constant pain isn't just the pain itself, it's the fact that, if you mention it to a family member or friend, they usually say something like "Oh, we know! You've told us a thousand times!!" The problem with being in constant pain is that YOU BECOME A PAIN!

So, you try not to mention it and hope to God that no one asks "How are you today?" because if you say "Well, I've got horrendous back ache and my tennis elbow's playing up again." you can instantly see the dulling over of the eyes of the person asking how you are. People don't want to know how you really are unless you're tickety boo!

It's even worse at work - especially when you work in a fast paced retail environment where everyone else is running around like frightened ferrets - when a manager asks how I am I'd love to say "Well really I've got horrendous back ache and my tennis elbow's playing up again." but what actually comes out of my mouth is one of two phrases "Oh, I'm not so bad." or "Oh, I'm alright." As soon as I say either of these phrases I can see the light in my manager's face brighten and he'll say "Oh, well can you do big pops for me?" (big pops being hauling multipacks of two litre bottles of Coke, lemonade etc from cages, onto trolleys and then replenishing store shelves of said goods!) I say nothing and do the requested tasks to the best of my ability then wait for the pain to intensify when I stop.

If I was honest with my manager he'd look at me like I was something he'd trod in and put me on the checkout for my entire shift - and as most of us will know, standing for long periods does nothing for the condition except to leave you with excruciating back ache. So, either way, I'm scuppered.

Being honest, explaining to people how we feel on a day to day basis is extremely difficult when they can't see anything wrong. You don't have a leg missing, you're not bandaged from head to foot, there's no spilled blood or visible bruising, you look well enough, so why are you constantly jabbering on about being in pain?

So we soldier on, in pain but trying desperately not to be a pain.

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