The Reality Of Chronic Pain In Your 20s
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Health and Wellness

The Reality Of Chronic Pain In Your 20s

The pain hasn't stopped, but it hasn't stopped me, either.

The Reality Of Chronic Pain In Your 20s

The textbook definition of Chronic Pain names it as being any pain that lasts 12 or more weeks. This has no relation to what chronic pain really is. It does not give justice to the struggle that comes with trying to do the everyday tasks that once came easy. Things that you could once do without thinking- getting out of bed, taking a shower, exercising, and even making food. It can blow out the flame inside of you and make you feel like you're just existing, not really living.

Your 20s are supposed to be your prime, the days you spend laughing with your friends and when you feel invincible. This is the time of our lives when life is finally beginning — we've gotten a taste of freedom but also tasted the responsibilities, too. We can drive around for hours and live life the way we'd always wanted, but we have jobs and all the great stuff that comes with adulthood. Regardless of the bittersweet truth of what this stage of life is what it should be, no twentysomething should have to succumb to severe pain with no sign of relief or end.

I am 21 years old and I suffer from chronic pain, focused in my lower back and shoulders with swelling along my spine. The pain started as just being on and off around the time I graduated in 2014. The pain progressively got more frequent and severe until I recently decided to get it checked out by a physical medicine and spine specialist. Without even taking an X-Ray, some of the doctor's first words after learning about my pain were "you are too young to be living with chronic pain." It was then that I discovered the truth of what I had been dealing with for three years and I started to do more research.

Chronic pain is so much more than the pain. It is like a domino effect. The pain wakes you up. It hinders you. You find it difficult to sit or stand for longer than an hour if that. It makes getting to class, sitting through class, getting home, going to work, and even going to sleep all practically unbearable. Every single day is a battle.

At 21 years old, I should not be undergoing stress tests, foot exams, and X-Rays. I should not be picking up prescriptions and struggling to sleep, nor should I be nervously awaiting consultations and researching spine specialists. But I have to, and I do it willingly because I know that it may make it all a little easier.

I tell myself that I don't have time to hurt. I wake up, shower, get dressed, put on makeup, go to class for anywhere from 1-5 hours then go to work from anywhere from 6-10 hours then go home and try to get to sleep, not counting any extra time I spend reading, doing homework, or writing/editing for Odyssey. Between school, work, Odyssey, attempting to have a social life and trying to spend time with my boyfriend and family in all of our spare time, I do not have time for pills or X-Rays or doctors appointment or pain, but Chronic Pain doesn't concern itself with what we do or do not have time for. It is invasive and acts when it wants.

There are days when I struggle to get out of bed because of the intense, sharp pain that comes in trying to move. I get paranoid that people will mistake the invisible pain for laziness because they cannot see the lightning shooting up my spine. There are days when I wish I could do intense workouts or even yoga without having to worry about waiting to see what a doctor will say I can and can not do first, or sleep without waking up from moving the wrong way. But I can't, and I do, and that's okay.

I am not writing this for your sympathy, nor for your praise. I am writing this because I want to reach those who suffer in silence as I once did and those who may not even know that they are suffering from Chronic Pain. Most of all, I want those who do suffer from Chronic Pain to know that they are not alone and that living life the way they want to is still completely possible. I am a full-time student with a part-time job (currently a full-time job since I am on break until August), as well as an editor, creative writer, and President of Recruitment for The Odyssey Online. I have a boyfriend and friends and although the pain may hinder me, it will never stop me.

Chronic Pain is a cage with no key. It is life altering and can change so much more than a person's body.

If you relate to this and feel like you may also be suffering from Chronic Pain, please reach out and ask for help. You are not alone and you are so much stronger than you think.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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