Managing chronic pain can be a full-time job, some people find

A day in the life: A variety of medications used to treat varying symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) in Calgary on Sept. 21, 2019. Individuals with chronic pain often are prescribed medication to calm symptoms, rather than curing the condition. (Photo by Kori-Anne Clark/The Press)

Having chronic pain is a task itself, from ongoing medication needs to adaptation.

If you suffer from pain, your day to day life requires adaptation to daily tasks, whether it’s as simple as putting your socks on first thing in the morning, or enduring the workday.

“When I want to bake something, I’ll gather all the ingredients, likely the night before because I’ll need a break,” said Chantal Bellmont, an individual who has been diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Functional Neurological Disorder (FND).

“Then when I’m finally able to do so, I’ll pull up a chair to my kitchen table and mix all my ingredients together there.”

With 25 per cent of the population being individuals who suffer from chronic illness, many people must take at their lives one step at a time.

Due to the limited mobility and energy, Bellmont has to strategically plan her days, which consist mostly of medical appointments, to get them down to one event per day so she has rest time afterwards.

“Scheduling my days ensures that I’m able to get everything I need to do done, regardless of whether I’m in more pain at the end of the day,” said Micky Schwitz, a mother with fibromyalgia.

Scheduling comes in many different forms, whether it means constant alarms for medication, or an outline of day to day tasks.

Days often vary, with good and bad days occurring unexpectedly, where individuals will have to take a step back from what they originally had planned.

When days don’t look as easy as expected, rest is essential so the person has the strength for essential tasks.

Scheduling my days ensures that I’m able to get everything I need to do done. – Micky Schwitz

“Some nights I have to listen to my pain, and leave the dishes undone and remind myself that I can’t do everything,” said Schwitz.

Planning your days with the avoidance of pain, often also results in isolation from friends, and creates a disconnect from society.

“If not for the internet I would be completely isolated and home-bound,” said Bellmont.

“I don’t think people realize how isolating it is to have a chronic illness where you’re not able to work or go to school.”

Bellmont has been able to find an online disability and chronic illness community through Instagram that has allowed her to be hopeful.

There are many resources available for pain on its worse days, but many of these can be expensive.

“There are lots of things that my doctors have recommended I get for my disabilities, but I can’t afford to buy them, even though they would greatly benefit me,” said Bellmont.