Living with Chronic Pain
How Chronic Pain Is Energy Draining
Chronic pain often results in low energy. This is partially due to the time spent on taking care of the illness. Each need and want has to be assessed, planned, evaluated and chosen after measuring the risks and benefits. It can sometimes be hard to determine where the energy goes. Below are examples of how chronic pain can take a toll on a person’s energy bank.
Seeking treatment for chronic pain is difficult. Many people with chronic pain feel that their health care professionals do not listen to them, undervalue their pain, or incorrectly label them as drug-seeking. Finding a treatment regimen that works may mean dealing with drug interactions, enduring side effects, and attaining the right dosage. Finding a good health care team and researching the best treatment plan takes time, effort and energy. It can leave a person feeling drained and hopeless.
Chronic pain can negatively impact personal relationships. Constantly deciding what to tell friends, family, partners, coworkers, and loved ones about their illness is exhausting. Sharing too much information might unsettle someone. However, not sharing enough can result in disconnectedness and isolation. Weighing whether to divulge certain information can be a constant drain of energy. Chronic pain can also impact relationships due to communication, finances, responsibilities, etc. Navigating these aspects of relationships takes a lot of effort and can leave a person feeling depleted.
Certain activities require extra energy, especially when dealing with chronic pain. Determining which activities to do can also be draining. Those with chronic pain must weigh the pros and cons of each activity to determine how much they can do in a day, week or month without increasing their pain levels. Activity frequency, who to include, and necessities must be decided on. For example, going to the park with a friend who walks fast may be challenging. Establishing which items to bring, such as a water jug, medicine, mobility devices, etc. can also be draining.
Picking the best bad thing
Individuals with chronic illness frequently have to make difficult decisions, which may compromise their well-being. For instance, if a friend invites someone who needs a service dog to a restaurant, the handler may have to contemplate the possibility of the staff being unaware of laws about service animals. They may have to choose between the staff not understanding, other customer complaints, leaving the service dog at home, or staying home altogether. Chronic pain often presents choices in which there is no good option.
Chronic pain comes with emotional baggage. Guilt, fear, sadness, anger, frustration, self-doubt, and shame are all uncomfortable emotions that are regularly associated with chronic pain. Dealing with these emotions on a regular basis is exhausting and can be taxing on a person’s energy level.
Additional source: Psychology Today