Coping with chronic pain – that lonely 3am

Image courtesy of @jontyson

There’s nothing quite as lonely as 3am. The house is quiet; my family asleep. At times like these it’s easy to feel alone. My pelvis is fire, my back screaming in agony each time I shift my position. But I have my blog, words. I can let my pain travel through my fingertips and onto the page. Whether I post this or not, it will be therapeutic to write.

I thought I’d got a handle on my health the past couple years. Along with treatments from a fabulous hospital, I’ve overhauled my diet, take light exercise where I can, meditate daily. My pain had decreased, mobility improved. Lately though there’s been a sense of slipping backwards while trying desperately to cling on to the good days, not let the bad days take over.

Tonight is the worst I have been for a long time. It hurts to move. It hurts to stay still. It’s been an odd day, much to celebrate. My super agent has sold my book rights to Korea, a brand new territory for me – my twenty-fourth. The Date is in Apple’s top 10 biggest selling books for 2018. I put both things on Facebook and instantly received a direct message. ‘You’re having such a good day! You’re living my dream.’

From the outside looking in, my life does seem perfect, except it isn’t. No-ones is.

My evening has been spent upstairs because we don’t have a downstairs toilet and I can’t face going up and down the stairs.

Worries fill my mind – How can I do my Christmas shopping if I can’t get out? Am I going to have to change my weekend plans as it will be uncomfortable to travel? Will I miss my first author Christmas party with my new publisher on Monday? Gradually these thoughts, as thoughts do, become darker. Sharper. Swelling, along with the panic inside me. Am I going to end up in a wheelchair again?

My mind is in overdrive; anxiety over the future overshadowing my present where, relatively speaking I am okay. I am safe.

I am loved.

I reach for my gratitude journal and this is what eventually calms me. Replacing the negatives with positives and really, I have so much to be grateful for, from the strangers who support me online to the dog who snoozes on my bedroom floor who is always overjoyed to see me when he wakes, regardless of my mood.

My list grows and my pain doesn’t feel quite so all consuming anymore. I know soon I shall be able to sleep.

I have a roof over my head, a warm bed. A family who love me. I know I’m one of the lucky ones.

And tomorrow? Tomorrow things will be different because they alway are. The only thing you can rely on is change and I find this comforting because I am certain that just as things can get worse, eventually they will also get better.

This too, shall pass.

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28 thoughts on “Coping with chronic pain – that lonely 3am

  1. Hi Louise, such an honest, true account of chronic pain and as a fellow sufferer you have all my empathy. As difficult as it must feel at times, think of people like me cooried in, reading your wonderful books to escape from the misery we are suffering. It doesn’t help your pain but you should be very proud. Just remember, your family would prefer you to be comfortable, rather than broken and in more pain after a painful attempt to buy Xmas presents (tat😂). Enjoy your success and your loved ones and that beaut of a dog. Take care. Lindaxxx

    • Oh Linda! Your response has made me so emotional and really made me think. Even though I’m such an avid reader and use books as a complete escapism I never actually thought of someome doing the same with my stories. You’ve really brightened up my day. Thank you xx

  2. Oh, bless you, Louise. I can’t begin to imagine what your pain is like. You are so brave and thank heavens you have your fabulous writing as an outlet. I hope it will alleviate with mindfulness, and whatever other handles you have for coping. Sending you a big hug and many congratulations for what you manage to produce through your pain. xxx Thinking positive thoughts for you for the rest of this day. Concentrating on you. xxx

  3. Hey, do you think that the downward spiral might be due to the weather? I tend to hit a downwards trend this time of the year and I don’t think the cold help my joints etc. Even though its neuropathic and not real pain the weather seems to really effect it! X

  4. I’m so glad you decided to post this after all. I am sorry that you are in such pain. I understand chronic pain and know those lonely (painful) nights when the rest of the family is asleep. The diet, exercise, rest, meditation are imperative; but there are times when you get tired of managing and need to simply wait out the pain, reminding yourself it will pass as it has before. Your words, “not let the bad days take over,” are an encouragement. It’s good to be reminded of truth. To replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and your gratitude journal sounds like a wonderful way to do that. Take care of yourself and thank you again for posting this.

    Congratulations on your book rights being sold to Korea!

  5. Well, I was thinking of asking if you were free for lunch next week, but I guess not!
    Seriously, I won’t even pretend to know what chronic pain is like, Louise. I have had some up-close and personal experience of severe and persistent pain with my partner, but watching it and hearing explanations doesn’t translate into understanding it. Even so, when I try to imagine it, I can only feel admiration for anyone who goes through it. I really don’t know how I’d cope.

    Hope things have improved already, and you can make it to the Christmas party on Monday. As for the shopping… It can wait. In spite of the hard-core advertising campaign going on at the moment, Christmas isn’t about presents, or even the dinner.

Thanks so much for reading!

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