The things that shape us.

I have a long doctor appointment today to be entirely focused on my pain and the management of it. I have some specific things that I need/want to talk to her about, but I’m afraid. I’ve always been frightened of and extremely uncomfortable with telling doctors the truth and being honest and vulnerable with how much pain I’m in and how it’s affecting my day to day life. I feel like a fraud and I’ve never understood the nagging voice that I have when it comes to my chronic pain, the one saying you’re a liar, you’re a fake. Is it denial? I don’t think so because I know that I’m in pain and I know that there are a thousand proven reasons for it. But I somehow feel like I need to be convincing, like I need to decide how I’m going to act beforehand so that my gp will believe me, when the reality is that I should only need to be truthful.

I think am fairly certain that the reason for this is the treatment that I received early on in my dealings with chronic pain. I was seen as someone who was either faking it or whose pain was entirely psychosomatic. I went to my multitude of pointless doctor referrals with my jaw clenched, knowing that I was about to walk into a room full of accusations and judgement, when what I desperately needed was understanding, acknowledgement and answers. For that period of time I was suffering and scared but I felt that – despite the obvious – I needed to prove that to everyone.

I feel like those experiences cemented my deep seated fear of not being believed and being judged. They may not sound traumatic now, but at the time they were devastating. Here I was, someone who not even a year ago was leading a perfectly normal life, but who was now in daily, excruciating, frightening pain that took away my friends, my school life, my sports and my normalcy. The people that should’ve been helping me, who should’ve been my advocates were the ones that tore me down and made me question what I knew in my heart was the truth. I learned then that when you’re told something often enough, that no matter what you know, you sometimes begin to believe it to be true.

I know that if I’m to be helped that I need to be honest and assertive. And for the most part I think that I’m slowly getting better. Sometimes it just depends on the day and my drive to fight in order to get the best treatment that I can at the time. I fought at my last appointment because the amount of pain that I was in left me no choice, I knew that I couldn’t walk out of that room and go back to things the way that they were.

I’m more prepared for this appointment. I’ve written down every bit of the daily pain that I experience, the lack of sleep, the difficulty in concentration and the low mood because of it all. Aside from the fact that I think it’s helpful for all of us to make lists to refer to while at the doctor, writing has also always been by far the most comfortable form of communication for me. I can say things in my writing that I could never say out loud and it gives me a voice that I never would’ve found otherwise. 

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” – Joseph Addison

6 thoughts on “The things that shape us.

  1. I understand completely, I to an very nervous about my doctors appointments when I have to go. Being assertive certainly can be hard, but your note taking is a must and shows documentation of your day to day. With my PD their us tons of pain but I unfortunalty gave up, do to so many doctors giving me the run around even though their are tens of thousands documented cases in regards to pain associated with PD. Good luck today, be strong, pretend your back at that symposium talking to normal people.
    Best wishes, your friend.
    Benjamin

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  2. Good luck! I remember my apprehension about my first appointment at a pain clinic. When you’re so young and feeling pain, I feel like many doctors just insist that you shouldn’t be in pain, without looking at your diagnoses and realizing uh wait, those DO cause pain.

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    • Thanks Maya!! Generally I’ve been pretty lucky with my new doctor, she was the one kind enough to book a super long appointment so that we could talk about my pain. Sometimes I don’t think she realizes just how educated I am about it though, or remembers that I’ve already been through pain clinic programs and gone to conferences. But she’s making an effort and that’s a comforting start!! :)

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