Sunday, 6 April 2014

Understanding the Pain


Cold windy weather is the ultimate enemy when you suffer from Trigeminal Neuralgia

Poets and novelists love to portray the beauty of a soft gently breeze, or a crisp, fresh and frosty spring morning. Well let me tell you, as a sufferer of Trigeminal Neuralgia, those soft breezes and frosty mornings are complete and utter hell. Every time the wind touches my face, I get a severe jolt of pain that makes me want to scream aloud. Going for a walk is completely out of the question, even going outside for a few minutes, takes some preparation.

Summer is on it's way, and hopefully the warmer weather will help my symptoms.

This post is more for the families and friends of TN sufferers. Trigeminal Neuralgia is such a debilitating condition, but because our pain rarely shows on the outside, it is difficult to understand. If someone has a broken arm or a leg, they get a cast on. Their pain is visible. TN is a neurological condition. The nerves jolt and spasm inside the head and it makes simple tasks like washing teeth, applying make-up and even washing hair difficult. A soft breeze to you, feels like millions of sharp knives stabbing the left side of my face, with the occasional electric shock to keep things interestingly nasty.

Just because someone's pain is seemingly invisible, does not make it any less. In fact, anyone with nerve pain will tell you the pain that you can't see is the worst. We all know that if you break a leg, it will hurt for a time, but it will heal. Nerve pain is not like that.

Don't judge someone on how they seem from the outside. Think about what it is like living in their bodies. Have some compassion, and if you don't understand their pain, a simple internet search will tell you all you need to know. I can tell you that I wouldn't wish this pain on my worst enemy.

It is difficult for families and friends of those afflicted with Trigeminal Neuralgia, as I know that they feel powerless. The best thing that you can do for someone living with chronic pain, is listen. That's all that's needed. Work, college and a normal life isn't always possible when  you live with chronic pain, so bear that in mind. When your friend tells you that they can't go to work or out for a drink because of pain, don't laugh it off and call them lazy. That is insensitive, insulting and completely untrue.

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