“Just Don’t Think About It” Is Not Want I Want To Hear!

Just don’t think about it… Has anyone ever said this to you in regards to the pain you experience from psoriatic arthritis? I have heard this more than I can count and it is one of the most annoying things that someone could say. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for a good distraction, but it is not possible to think away my pain or forget that I have a chronic illness.

Why we must think about it

I often wonder if the people who tell us not to think about our pain are actually expressing that they don’t want to hear about or acknowledge that we are in pain. I understand that they don’t like knowing that we are hurting, but neither do we. Because of this, I am careful about how much I share with others. I don’t want to overwhelm friends and family, but I also want them to understand what I am going through. The truth is that we have to think about our pain. Our pain levels help us determine what we can do or how long we can do it. It also sends signals to let us know when we need to rest or if we pushed too far. Pain also gives us insight to what is going on in our bodies. We learn to recognize repeated pains and their triggers which can be helpful when trying to decipher whether a new pain is “normal” or something to worry about. If I didn’t think about my pain I would always run myself down and the majority of my time would be spent in bed or in the hospital.

Impossible to ignore

When someone suggests that I just don’t think about it, I ask them if they would give the same advice to someone who had been stabbed or broke their arm. Would not thinking about it make it possible for them to go on living their lives? Of course not, they have to address the cause of their pain and then be careful not to increase it. Living with a painful chronic illness is no different except that my pain is not visible to others. Pain is pain, whether it is visible or not.

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