Pain Hierarchy

Pain and inflammatory bowel disease, sadly, go hand in hand. We have to learn to function through the pain so we can live as normally as possible. Often, all this pain leads to feelings of anger and resentment towards people we see as being healthier than us or having an easier time than us.

Memes and posts stating people saying their stomach hurts or “Now I know how you feel,” should be slapped are common place in the IBD community. Implying that the other person couldn’t possibly be in as much pain and should be punished for voicing their discomfort.

Many with inflammatory bowel disease have gone through hell trying to get a diagnosis. Bouncing from one doctor to another. One emergency room after another. Feeling as though no one is taking their pain and suffering seriously. That’s exactly what those memes do. They dismiss pain. Why devalue the pain and suffering of others? Why does your pain mean more than theirs? Only because it’s yours? Why would you want to be in a pain competition anyway? A competition where the winner is really the biggest loser.

I too had the mentality that other people couldn’t understand what MY pain felt like. That THEIR pain was nothing in comparison. I would get angry and lash out at them. How dare they have the audacity to complain about pain and suffering to me when I clearly had the monopoly on them both. I would feel frustrated when those around me didn’t seem to understand what I was going though… but then I would turn around and dismiss what others were experiencing. That was wrong. Everyone experiences pain and suffering. Everyone’s pain deserves to be acknowledged.

Appreciate that another human being is experiencing pain and have compassion for them. It is the same compassion that you want when you hurt. It might be the worst pain that person has ever felt. It might even be the beginning of an undiagnosed disease. I’m sure there was a time before we had our diagnosis that we all complained about the pain we were in. Should we have been slapped? Should we have been mocked because we didn’t have a diagnosis or the “right” disease?

Pain is pain. You have no idea what another person is dealing with, just like they have no idea what you’re going through. We claim to be warriors but that doesn’t mean we are at war with others experiencing pain. Acknowledging their pain doesn’t devalue yours. Have compassion. Be kind. We all need that now more than ever.

If you’re experiencing feelings you would like work on, head over to my life coaching page and schedule your complimentary consultation. You don’t have to go through life angry anymore.

If you have IBD and are looking for a supportive community, join my Facebook group LIVING WITH IBD!

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