Recently I saw one of those “quote images” on Facebook – I usually look at them but would never share.. its just not something I would normally do.
One came up – it was really simple. Back background, white text, three words: Pain changes people. I stopped what I was doing and just stared.
I’ve been really struggling with myself since – lets say November last year. My heads more of a mess than my body. We’re not talking about psychotic break mess – I just haven’t been “myself”. I think it was at the moment I saw that stupid quote I realised that “myself” had changed. It had been a slow process so I didn’t notice it happen… my head wasn’t really messed up, but my perception of the world had changed. Forever.
That quote pretty much sums it up. Pain does change people. The people with it and the people watching it. I have changed from the person I was before my diagnosis in 2010. I’m still trying to decide if it’s for the better?
The fact is, I’ve been through a lot of painful things. Before my diagnosis, the mention of a needle would send me running in the opposite direction – now its just another thing in an ordinary day of my life. I think I’m almost numb to it now… the Crohn’s pain, the joint pain, being sick. I get frustrated – but the pain itself doesn’t register anymore. It just is. It’s made me stronger – but its also made me colder. I’ve always had this “problem” where I expect the same things of other people that I expect from myself. I’ve been disappointed time after time after time. More times than I can count – and its been pointed out to me on more than one occasion that its not the people in my life failing me… its my expectations. I accept that – doesn’t make it any less bullshit though. Because it ends up you trying to do all the right things but getting taken advantage of constantly. Yep – that’s whats been getting me down. So when we start talking about pain and sickness – my “idea” of pain or being sick, is a lot different to a regular persons. People talk to me now and I just stare back coldly… not knowing what to say. I don’t know what to say. Pain is apart of each and everyone of my days. But the days go on – not caring about it, so I go on, trying to ignore it. Pain has been integrated into my everyday life. It just is. So I guess I expect that “it just is” for everyone. But its not everyones normal. So we have this conflict where I don’t understand what the big deal is and they don’t understand why I’ve turned into such a ginormous bitch. Have I turned into a ginormous bitch? I can’t even answer that. I mean – it’s not intentional?
Pain changes people around you. People don’t want to think your in pain all the time – so they pretend your not. As a Crohn’s sufferer, I look pretty normal apart from my rank skin. People therefore like to ignore I’m sick – and when I want to talk about it (on the very rare occasion) I get one of the following reactions:
- The subject is ignored and changed
- I get talked over
- I get told: “At least its not cancer”
- I get told: “There are people worse off than you”
Each on of these responses pisses me off beyond belief. People who are well don’t get to say “there are people worse off than you”, if your normal and reading this – you don’t get to say that, cause you’re not sick and you don’t know the gravity of what you’re saying. I think people with Crohn’s know there are people worse off than us – thats not in dispute. Why is it normal peoples go to position when they don’t even take the time to listen to what your going through? My response now is “how do you know”… which has been stopping those people in their tracks. It’s probably not politically correct – but fuck it.
The most true, correct and powerful thing that I have seen in months is the quote “Pain changes people”. It’s a doubled edged sword – the changes in me have meant I can cope with all the cool medical stuff I need to have done, with the drug side effects and with the disease as a whole… it also means my attitude towards pain has shifted and I can’t identify with normal pain in other people anymore. I’m having to embrace this change – because I know its a survival mechanism and I know the worse is still yet to come.
I ended up sharing the image that day – I wonder how many other people saw the power behind it?