It’s Saturday night, the sun has set and the rain has settled in.
I’m out of commission for the night. In truth, for most of the day.
This blog post chronicles the darker side, the shadow side of living with chronic pain.
Content warnings for depression, ADHD, CRPS, description of injuries + mentions of a car accident apply.
There’s not a moment where I’m not in pain.
And it’s been like this for over 3 years and I’ve been told it’ll most likely be for the rest of my life.
The first sensation I feel when I wake up? Pain.
The last sensation I feel before falling asleep? Pain.
And it will be like this forever.
I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. They don’t know for sure what causes it, or why some people recover and others don’t.
My CRPS is in my right wrist and hand, predominantly. I have extreme sensitivity on the underside of my wrist, my thumb has been numb since this all started three years ago, I get phantom nerve pain that shoots into my elbow, shoulder and neck, and I experience a deep bone ache in my wrist.
Yet if you x-rayed or MRI’d it, all you’d see is a normal wrist, albeit with a couple of screws and a plate.
In 2017 I was in an accident that shattered my wrist. It required surgery to put it back together.
The fractured healed, but my wrist never recovered.
I have a grip strength of around 2kgs. Anything heavier than 500g causes immense pain and I will drop it.
And to top it all off?
It’s my dominant hand.
I have had to grieve a life I thought I would live, one that I will now never experience.
CRPS has completely rewired how I live my life. I had to drop out of my Masters degree, I’ll never be a psychologist because my C-PTSD is just too unruly, and being in pain all the damn time means life looks very different.
I can’t hold a “normal” job, so I built my own business up from nothing and now I work 20 hours a week yet earn a wage that supports me entirely.
I’m usually done for the day by 3pm, so I try to get all my work done plus appointments + chores done by 1pm. This meant completely resetting my sleep schedule and learning how to fly under the radar of my CRPS so as not to cause a massive pain flare.
My ADHD medication stopped working and whilst no one can tell me exactly why, the leading theory is trauma + chronic pain impacts how the medication is absorbed in my brain. I got four months of feeling like an actual functioning human. And then someone decided not to give way crossing a highway. I now manage my ADHD with lists + calendars + diet + rewards vs. consequences + therapy.
Chronic Pain is no joke. For the most part, I can manage it. I have become deeply acquainted with my new capabilities, boundaries and thresholds.
I’ve built something amazing out of the rubble of the accident, and I have the most amazing supports around me. I work my dream job, with a brilliant boss. I have supportive friends and family who love me deeply. I’m privileged enough to receive access to medical treatment and education.
I recognise this, and I am so ridiculously grateful.
Sometimes, you just have a bad night, and right now that’s me.
Tonight I’m feeling sore and tired and sad and defeated.
I’m upset I can’t go for mocktails with my friends to celebrate a major milestone, I’m angry I couldn’t do as much as I wanted to today, I’m frustrated I can’t make fajitas for dinner or do my laundry or play with Mikasa.
It’s really, really hard on nights like these…
Nights like these where I lay in bed at 7pm on a Saturday night, pain gripping my body in its jaws with no plans of letting go soon.
Tomorrow will be different.
And even if it’s not, moods don’t last forever even if my pain might.
So thank you for reading this.
Thank you for giving me a space to vent and feel and grieve.
Tomorrow will be different.
Tomorrow will be better.