I feel as though I haven’t stopped for a second in the past week. That is clearly not the truth and something I am not physically able to do anyway. It’s still how I feel. It’s not only how I feel, I actually know where that feeling is coming from. It has been over a week since I last went to bed and didn’t even wake once before the alarm sounded. It’s not as though I have even got out of bed each time. I have often just glanced at the clock and returned to sleep. Somehow, it has been enough though to install the impression of no real sleep. With sleep being an important requirement of my life, it has been enough to make me feel drained and fatigued. Add in the muscle pains that have been driving me just a little off the edge and the picture is clear for all to see. I know it isn’t behind every time that I have woken, but I have been very aware of having bad headaches both during the night and when the alarm sounds. I have never been that bothered by headaches throughout my life. They were something that I just didn’t do, even when I had the most stressful job in my life, of keeping the call center running. Stressed to the max and I still didn’t have physical headaches. I had plenty of other ones all around me, but not the sort that were physically in my head.
I’ve known so many people who have carried painkillers with them where ever they went just in case they had a headache. It is also one of those things in life that would have made me a millionaire if I had just had them with me and passed them out charging a pound to each person who asked me for one. In fact, when I think about it, not only did I not carry painkillers with me, I didn’t normally have them in the house either. I stopped buying them when I discovered that none of those I could buy actually worked on any pain I had ever had, other than the very rare and odd headache. Having spent nearly 20 years undiagnosed I knew what pain was, but I thought I had to be the world’s biggest wimp. I was declared over and over to be healthy, yet no one else who was healthy ever complained about pains like I had. I remembered hearing a stat a while ago that I just googled to be sure it was correct. In 2005, every single person in Britan was taking on average 373 over the counter painkillers each year. So OK it’s an average, some of us took zero, others far, far too many, but it is a staggering number. The article was exploring our relationship with painkillers, I personally think it should have been examining our relationship with pain.
I don’t know where it has come from, but from my experience of life, too many people don’t seem to be able to deal with everyday pain. I know it could be argued, “Why put up with pain if you can get rid of it?” I can give you two reasons with ease. First, what is the reason for that pain? Find out, before you start eating aspirin, paracetamol and ibuprofen. Second, most people will happily take alcohol with them and many take more than they should, both can damage your liver. But those are the medical reasons, mine aren’t medical, although they back it up, but I have another reason. I would happily bet that 90% of people, especially the men, don’t have the slightest idea what pain is or what is normal or not. Too many don’t analyse or even bother to think about their pain, all they can think about is getting rid of it. Fair enough, none of us wants to live with pain, but the truth is painkillers don’t work on real pain.
I could take two of any of those named drugs right now and they would change absolutely nothing. We have fallen into a trap, that pain medications deal with everything, when the truth is they mainly don’t. How long did your last Asprin take to remove that pain you had? 5 minutes, maybe 10? They don’t work that fast! Most take up to thirty minutes to work, if you thought it was quicker, then you fell into the trap of the placebo effect. The pack also says you can’t take another dose for 4 hours. If you feel no more pain for those four hours, but it appears again soon after, yet again it’s placebo. Most actually work for about 2 hours. Ibuprofen might just make it to the 4-hour mark. We are all far too happy to throw chemicals into us without truly knowing what they are doing to us or how they work. When did you last read what is actually in that new and improved painkiller and what their side effects are? Most of us will have never read it. Someone said they would work and that they were safe, and we just take them.
The truth about pain is that it comes in many different forms and each form reacts differently to different drugs. The majority of pain, that anyone should consider treating themselves, normally doesn’t last any more than just a couple of hours. If you are in true pain, none of those over the counter drugs alone will touch it. True pain, will take you to your doctor or the emergency department at your local hospital. Two places, that I still avoid no matter how bad my pain is. None emergency pain is normal better treated by relaxing, rehydration and rest. If you normally carry painkillers with you, consider throwing them away and taking a look at your diet. Oddly, even I who’s diet is appalling, know it does make a difference.
Over the last 14 years, I have lived with pain every single day. For the last 6 of them I have been on Morphine, Amitriptyline & Gabapentin all the time in an attempt to remove that pain. What they have really achieved is to reduce it, not remove it. That’s why on top of that I have even more Morphine for when I can’t take any more of the breakthrough pain. I am still alive. I am still able to function as a person. I don’t spend my days curled up and crying, scared to move a single muscle in case it makes things worse. I have never and still don’t understand the habit of throwing tablets down our throats without being sure they will help. Even now, I still test my drugs. Those that are for the pain I have only managed to wait 2 hours before having to take them. I know exactly what each of my painkillers do. My everyday breakthrough pain is worse than any headache or backache that I have ever had.
My belief that I was a wimp has actually taught me that we have all fallen for the words of the marketing man. If I managed to go through years of pain, without taking time off work and doing everything I could to equal those I saw around me, anyone can. If you watch TV you can’t escape seeing the exact opposite message being spread daily. Pain is bad, unlivable and we can get rid of it in seconds, just take this pill or that one. They work quickly and they are, of course, better than all others out there. The medical companies are slowly becoming in control of all our lives and many people are letting them have it. It’s not just the painkillers they push, if they can sell it, they will create the need, a need that we don’t actually really have. If you have to carry painkillers or any of their other packaged miracles with you, don’t buy the brands, buy the generics. If you check the packets against each other you will see the medical license number. Brand or generic they are identical, that means the legally the contents have to be identical as well. The only difference is how much money you are giving to the pharmaceutical company.
“Normal pain”, that annoying feeling that is putting a damper on your day, requires you to work on finding out why and then living with it. Amazingly, the more pain that you push through, the more you are able to deal with. Like most things, we do get used to it. Pain isn’t the end of you day, it’s more a calling card. Have you ever thought that maybe your body is trying to tell you something. Maybe that headache is there because your body is telling you to go home and relax, and not go down the pub with your pals after work. Our relationship with pain is as important as our relationships with those we love. Pain and all other symptoms are there in our bodies trying to tell us something. Minor pain, minor message, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored, nor should we be tricked into making it go away again and again and again.
Please read my blog from 2 years ago – 24/08/2013 – Dreaming a past that never existed
At this very second I find myself searching around me for a hammer. I don’t want to hang a picture of fix a piece of furniture, nothing that practical, I have a twitching nerve that has managed to get past the point of annoying, right through to the level of murder. I have to guess……….