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  • Jenny Cathcart

I Had No Idea

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

"I had no idea." You hear that a lot when someone finds out about the chronic pain you have been suffering from. Pain is invisible. No one sees it and those with it, try to pretend it doesn't exist.

In my case with the pain being through the pelvic area, I didn't broadcast it. I would share more info with people when somehow the subject came up and each time the person would respond with, "I had no idea". This may sound weird but sometimes I took that as a compliment. I tried so hard to go about my daily activities normally when I was in pain that to hear that, made me feel like I succeeded. A small victory.

I feel fortunate that I had many years without pain. Controlled by medication for a long time. Some people get no relief from medication or therapies. The side effects of the medication are really what led me on a journey to try to optimize what I could and try to feed my brain the nutrients it needs to be as strong as possible. I've been on a neurological drug for so long with many others mixed in off and on. Aside from the obvious side effects of weight gain and tiredness, there is the memory loss, foggy brain and just that feeling of not being as quick-witted as I once was. My husband jokes about my memory a lot and I laugh too but if you think about it, it makes me sad. There are moments from our relationship and moments from my children I just can't remember.

All these things are those invisible effects of living in chronic pain. It's hard to relate unless you have been in pain for years at a time. Even the people closest to me, my husband, my parents, my kids…they can only understand to a degree. Beyond the physical, there is so much emotional pain. I just saw something on Instagram this morning that said something like people think those suffering from chronic pain are pretending to be sick but really they are pretending to be well. That is so true. You spend a lot of time pretending to be well. Looking at others and thinking they are so lucky they do not have to live in pain. To go through a day without thinking constantly about the body part that hurts.

I've been very blessed to have supportive people around me. My family has been very patient as well as my work family. I truly feel God's hand at placing certain people and circumstances in my life at just the right time. I understand not everyone is as fortunate as me. I don't want to take those things for granted. If you are one that suffers from the invisible, I pray for your comfort and to be led to resources that may help you. If you love someone that suffers the invisible, I pray that you can offer the support they need while still caring for yourself.

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