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The collected opinions of an august and aristocratic personage who, despite her body having succumbed to the ravages of time, yet retains the keen intellect, mordant wit and utter want of tact for which she was so universally lauded in her younger days. Being of a generation unequal to the mysterious demands of the computing device, Lady Bracknell relies on the good offices of her Editor for assistance with the technological aspects of her journal.

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Location: Bracknell Towers

Friday, December 23, 2005

Lady Bracknell reproduces the wise words of another

It being the season when even those persons who revel in a hermit-like existence for the rest of the year may well find themselves unwittingly thrust into the company of family members and friends who display a singular lack of understanding of the impact of chronic pain, Lady Bracknell thought it might be helpful to reproduce an extract from the Pain Support website.

(Her ladyship strenously denies any connection between this posting and the fact that the editor has been feverishly weeding her emails at work in anticipation of something called a "hardware refresh exercise" which is due to take place in the first week in January.)

There follows something in the nature of an open letter to acquaintances of persons who live with chronic pain. Lady Bracknell regrets that, the original publication date of this letter being more than a year distant, the editor can not now bring to mind the identity of its author. She wishes to make it abundantly clear, however, that she did not write this herself. Lady Bracknell is full of admiration for the clear-sightedness of the individual who did, and hopes that said individual will not object to his or her words being reproduced in the pages of this blog.

"Please understand that being in pain doesn't mean I am still not a human being. I have to spend most of my day with this pain and I probably don't seem like much fun to be with, but I am still me within this body.

Please understand the difference between being 'happy' and 'healthy'. When you have the flu you probably feel miserable with it, but I have been in this pain for years and I cannot be miserable all the time. In fact I work hard at NOT being miserable, so if you are talking to me and I sound happy, it means I am happy. That's all. It doesn't mean that I am not in a lot of pain or extremely tired or that I am getting better, or any of those things. Please don't say "Oh you are sounding better". I am not sounding better, I am sounding happy.

Please understand that being able to walk for 10 minutes doesn't necessarily mean I can walk for 20 minutes. And just because I managed to walk for 20 minutes yesterday doesn't mean I can walk the same today. It is just as confusing for me as it is for you.

Please understand my pain is variable. It is quite possible that one day I am able to walk to the park and back whilst the next day I will have trouble getting to the kitchen. Please therefore don't attack me when I am in pain one day and you say "But you did it before". If you want me to do something then ask if I can. In a similar vein I may need to cancel an invitation at the last minute and if this happens, do not take it personally.

Please understand that getting out and doing things does not make me feel better - it can often make things much worse. My pain can cause secondary depression (wouldn't YOU get depressed if you were hurting all the time?), but it is not created by depression.

Please understand that if I say I have to sit down/take these pills now, that I have to do it right now and it cannot be put off because I am out for the day or whatever.

If you want to suggest a cure for me.......please don't. It is not because I don't appreciate the thought and it is not because I don't want to get well, it is because I have had almost every single one of my friends suggest something at one point or another. You can try them all then realise you are using up so much energy trying things that can even make you worse. In many ways I depend on others who are not in pain......sometimes I need help with the shopping, cooking or cleaning. I may need the help of the doctor or physiotherapist."


Blogger Katie said...

Miss Katie applauds Lady B on her choice of words from one of her readers who she has used sparingly.

Miss Katie also wishes to thank Lady B also for providing an answer to anyone who moans at Miss Katie, for grunting about her chronic pain, thus her fmily treating Miss Katie as if she was different to any other sometimes! Miss Katie says thank you very much!

1:25 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lady Bracknell hit the nail on the head, as usual. I never cease to be amazed at the amateur psychiatrists who will assume that one is in pain or unhappy because one is depressed, rather than the other way about.

A little knowledge of psychology is a dangerous thing.

Merry Christmas to your ladyship.

10:22 am  

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