Did you hear about Sarah Silverman’s response to a chronic pain sufferer who called her a name on Twitter? It’s been widely covered, but it moves us to comment on what we can learn from her response.
A cynic might joke that in order to get affordable health care, all you have to do is insult the right comedian. Who knows? She might take the high road and decide to help you out!
But chronic pain isn’t a laughing matter. In fact, chronic pain isn’t pretty. Quite frankly, it can make a person cranky on a bad day. It can make a person tired, and frustrated with repeated attempts to seek effective treatment. The celebrity’s empathy and understanding that human beings sometimes lack charity when they’re deeply hurting led to her constructive response.
We should also acknowledge Jeremy, the man on the receiving end of her help. It took some courage for Jeremy to take down his defenses and admit he was having trouble with back pain and emotional trauma. Many pain sufferers make this admission multiple times as they seek help. Continuing to open up and seek help over months and years of suffering until you finally find a path to success takes resilience.
Culturally, we praise and value independence. Supporting yourself financially while handling the activities of daily living feels like success. The flip side to that: not being able to work feels like failure. Needing assistance can feel like failure. We shame victims and shame ourselves if we are victims, as if we should be able to magically overcome all obstacles without outside help.
The truth is far more complicated. The circumstances of your life can only be improved if you acknowledge and respect those circumstances. Healing happens when the community around you acknowledges and respects those circumstances. You might not get everybody in the world to understand your needs, but you at least deserve a treatment team that works with you to understand and improve your condition.
Wherever you are in your pain management journey, you can find your treatment community at Pain Stop Clinics. Find a pain management specialist near you.