I started writing this post long before Lena Dunham announced she wanted to be the “face of fibromyalgia.” Knowing little about her other than what I read in this article, I don’t really have a connection to her and don’t view her as my advocate. There are many other faces of fibromyalgia and forms of pain that deserve attention as well.
Pain takes all forms, affects all people, and does not discriminate between male or female, young or old, rich or poor, famous or not-so-famous. It can affect anyone. And everyone.
These days I feel people associate pain or chronic pain with the “opioid epidemic” we hear so much about in our daily news. It has reached such a pinnacle that Michael Bloomberg announced a $50 million donation to help fight it. But let’s not stereotype all of those suffering in pain with a drug problem that is gripping the nation.
Pain as a Disease
I recently came across this TED Talk about chronic pain. It’s a great explanation of what people experience and how their wires get crossed. If you have 8 minutes, you should watch it:
Elliot Krane talks about how our “nervous system develops feedback loops and pain becomes a terrifying disease in itself.” And while most doctors prescribe medication to treat the symptom of chronic pain, he is trying to get to the root of the pain so he can treat the cause. Hear, hear! This is what I have been saying!
The Many Forms of Pain
While this list is far from comprehensive, it highlights 20 of the most painful conditions. (Read the article for more details on each.)
- Cluster Headaches
- Heart Attack
- Broken Bones
- Frozen Shoulder
- Slipped disc
- Sickle cell disease
- Kidney Stones
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Pain after Surgery
- Stomach ulcers
- Acute pancreatitis
- Complex regional pain syndrome
Pain Can Be Invisible
You can see from the above list that pain takes many forms. While some of the above conditions are temporary or relievable, some like fibromyalgia are chronic conditions. And not all of these painful conditions are necessarily visible. You can’t always tell from looking at someone on the outside how they are feeling.
“Just because you cannot see a person’s illness doesn’t mean they don’t have one. Just because a person looks OK doesn’t mean that they’re feeling OK. Invisible illnesses often have no cure and patients need to take medication for the rest of their lives to help control and manage the symptoms.” From 14 Invisible Illnesses You May Not Know About
Invisible illness and chronic pain are very real. And sometimes those suffering don’t want others to know how they are feeling, so they hide their pain. They put on a happy face and go about their day, suffering silently. So my best advice is to just show kindness and compassion to everyone, because you really have no idea what may be hidden behind someone’s happy facade.
I am the face of chronic pain and fibromyalgia.
For more brave warriors and faces of fibromyalgia, please visit Fibro Blogger Directory and read about others trying to Shine a Light on Fibro.
Do you suffer from acute or chronic pain? Have you had any of the 20 conditions listed above? (I have had 8!)