attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,
attack_laurel
attack_laurel

No, thanks (I really mean it).

I deal with chronic pain, as those of you who read me regularly know.  I've been offered a lot of explanations for my pain, from the generalized (fibromyalgia - I don't fit the profile) to referred pain syndrome, to neck injury (don't have one), and over-active nerves.  We're going with that last one for the moment, in the absence of anything better, though for simplicity's sake, I usually tell people it's kind of like fibro.

One of the things that gets me down a lot is the people who, upon hearing of my pain, immediately start telling me I should try this great thing they've heard about.  Now, if they left it at "I've heard of *thing*, it's really great", and I say "thanks, but no", or "tried it; didn't work, thanks", and we move on to other topics, I would not have a problem.  The issue is when they then start reeling off lists of things I have either tried, or don't want to try, and then they get mad at me for rejecting their stuff.  The thing I've noticed is that the more out-there and woo-full their suggestions, the more pissed-off they get at me for politely saying "no, thanks".

Now, I'm a skeptic.  There's a lot of stuff out there that automatically sets my skep-meter off, like detoxing foot pads, and crystal light therapy (which is so stupid, I'm not even giving you a link), and I'm also not a fan of water, alcohol, or sugar pills, namely homeopathy.  I don't want to try something that needs actual magic to exist, because I'll be wasting my time.  Placebo effect aside (and that won't work, because I don't "believe"), homeopathic remedies don't work.  All I got out of acupuncture (also shown in double-blind studies to have no effect other than placebo, though I know people who swear by it) was severe pain.  I don't do chiropractic, even though it has been shown to have limited use for specific kinds of physical pain, because it doesn't do diddley-squat for me (well, it also made me hurt more).  Reiki?  Don't make me laugh.

I don't care if an adult believes in these things, or any other "alternative medicine", as long as they only try it on themselves, and don't subject a child to it.  But leave me out of it, and don't get annoyed at me that I won't buy into your fantasy of control.

Life is messy, random, and uncontrollable, except in small localized ways.  I am not in pain because I didn't eat the right things, nor am I in pain because I attracted the pain with negative thoughts (the "you bring all the bad things on yourself" school of thinking, which should be more accurately summed up as "blame the victim").  I am in pain because (probably) my brain has ceased to understand the messages sent to it by the nerves in my arms, and interprets everything as bad news.  Life does unexpected things, and our bodies don't always stay perfect, even if we do our darnedest to keep them that way.  For some people, this is infuriating, and they seek for reasons why something went wrong.  I wouldn't care, as long as they stayed far away from me.  I'm okay with the laws of random.

I take opiates for pain control because they work, and they work with minimal side effects.  Like many people in my position, I've tried various creams and remedies touted as "natural pain relief!".  I'm embarrassed to to admit that I've tried some really stupid therapies; when you're in pain and looking for relief, you try anything. 

I really can say I've tried a hell of a lot of things, and only two things have worked with any consistency:  Opiates and Lidocaine adhesive patches (that cost me $40 a pop, but without insurance, would cost me $400).  I supplement with Tramadol, because most days it helps me to keep within my painkiller dosage limit.  I come from experience when I say "that does not work for me".

And you know what?  I don't say "your so-called remedy is a load of crap".  I'm polite.  All I say is "that does not work for me", and they still get so mad.  It's like I'm rejecting them, and their core beliefs, and I'm made to feel like I'm being rude, when you know what?  I'm the one sitting here, being barraged with unsolicited advice.  I didn't ask for suggestions.  I certainly didn't ask for a third-degree grilling on everything I've tried in my entire history of being in pain.  You, person with way too much time on your hands, who is certainly not a close friend of mine, or you wouldn't do this to me, you are the rude one. 

The thing is, people who are passingly familiar with science, who accept and trust the scientific method, those people never pull this shit on me.  It's the people who believe absolutely in woo - who talk about "natural" remedies, and would never buy something with salicylic acid in it, but would fall all over themselves buying something with "natural willow bark extract", who unquestioningly accept whatever their alt-health guru tells them, and actively disbelieves "the establishment" without ever trying to find out more about the subject - those are the ones eager to tell me exactly what I need to do, even if they've never heard of my condition.

They never trust me when I say I don't need their "remedy", and they get angry and call me rude when I finally get tired and try to stop the barrage of suggestions.  It's as if they don't really care what I need, they just want to shove their natural remedy-taking, unscientific, woo-based superiority in my face, since they're well, and I'm not.

Like I said, I'm a skeptic.  I think science is awesome.  I think people aren't always awesome, and that's why shit goes wrong sometimes.  I think the world is amazing and fantastic and quite stunning enough without trying to pretend magic is real.  I think magical thinking is the root cause of quite a few problems, and I deeply wish there wasn't a large contingent in this country that refuses to think scientifically, or even logically.  I wish people were smarter, and I wish "The Secret" would fall down a deep, dark hole.

But most of all I do rather wish people would stop trying to tell me how I should be managing my condition.  If you're not my doctor, stop.  If I want some suggestions, I'll ask.  Telling you that I have a chronic pain condition (when you ask) is not an invitation for you to diagnose or treat my condition.  Or anyone else's.  And if you come back at me with "I'm only trying to help!", my answer is "you'd help me a lot more if you actually listen to what I'm saying".

I'm just sayin'.
Tags: asshats, blah blah blah, pain, science is for everyone, state of the me
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