My boyfriend and I have been in a long-distance relationship for a little over three years now. While that has its own challenges, what other couples typically don’t have to factor into the equation are “pain days.”My boyfriend and I share many things in common, we have lived semi-parallel lives, and one thing we completely relate to is the chronic pain that comes with our disability, Cerebral Palsy. The most ironic things I have learned about having, living, and dealing with chronic pain is that can be just as unpredictable as anything else in life.
I remember when I had my first Facetime call with my boyfriend, it was a month after we met on Facebook, and I had absolutely no idea how it was going to go. You meet all kinds of colorful personalities when it comes to the internet, and I honestly didn’t know whether or not he was going to be someone who I would know instantly had to go. He turned out to be a very happy and unexpected part of my life. When it comes to me having a bad pain day, while I do feel bad I know he understands and becomes generally concerned for me. It’s one of our running jokes, really, giving one another tips on what could elevate our aches and pains.
“Did you try ICY Hot?”
“How about BenGay?”
‘Hey, babe, have you tried this?”
It sucks, too, that on days when the pain is really bad and one of us may not have slept the greatest the night before we will most likely have to call for a raincheck on our upcoming Facetime date. But I know that even if I don’t get to see his face or hear his voice that he’s always there for me and I am always there for him. Call me the ultimate sap, but if I could pick one positive thing about dating and chronic pain it’s that I never feel ashamed or embarrassed or self-conscious because of it.
Having a partner who lives with the same struggles and concerns as wedo, day in and day out, is one less worry for both of us. Neither of us has to worry about how the other will react to our pain. And sometimes it’s nice to have someone to manage and count spoons with. We can lean on one another for support, push one another when either one of us needs to push through the pain and get through the day’s activities. There is always someone there to cheer you on and push you through to the other side of your pain.
Chronic pain is not a pleasant experience, but if you can find someone who relates to you and understands that part of your lifeit can make any bad pain day bearable. And even though I would give anything for my boyfriend to be here to hold me in the midst of those unbearable moments, I know I could have it much worse as others who deal and live with chronic pain do. The kind of pain where you just wish you could bend all those spoons and toss them out the damn window. It’s because I know there are some who are in worse situations than the one we’re in that we both try to make a decent attempt at counting our blessings instead of being zeroed in on the bad all the time.
My boyfriend and I both feel extremely fortunate to have one another to lean on. We also believe that no matter what God gives we will get through it together. Chronic pain doesn’t go away, but if there is another bright side to sharing this struggle with your partner, it’s that we can come up with ways to cope and manage our pain together. Over time, we’ve become pros at coping, just like we have with adjusting, adapting, and living ourlives with cerebral palsy.
Looking for connection online?
With all the new technologies and applications out there, it’s easier to come across someone with whom you connect who could possibly end up changing your life in the best possible way. One of the newest applications focuses on those with chronic conditions. The app, available for Apple and Android, is called Lemonyade (https://www.lemonaydeapp.com/). You never know what lies ahead until you take the chance to get to know someone who shares something as personal and life-changing as a chronic condition.
About the Author
Jessica is a blogger, disability activist, writer, poet, and podcast host.