Why the shame with chronic pain, anyway?

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Paris Tuileries Garden Facepalm Statue. Image courtesy of wiki.media.org Paris Tuileries Garden Facepalm Statue. Image courtesy of wiki.media.org

On Shame

The nature of chronic pain is a camouflaged illness. Chronic pain patients don’t look “sick” and; therefore, they encounter disbelief, suspicion, and stigma from others placing the burden of proof on the person experiencing pain. There is also a level of self-stigmatization that arises. As we become aware of the undesirable stereotypes that surround chronic illness, we accept them into ourselves and build our self-esteem on these perceptions. In the many interactions I have had with fellow chronic pain patients, the resounding expression is that when they have attempted to share their experience of daily pain they feel vulnerable, boring, like a broken record, as if they complain or whine too much, or they are treated as if they want to have pain. I have been there too. We all notice the phone calls dissipating, the “check ins” dwindling…

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