“It’s Hard to Explain How Much I Have Lost”


Few people are aware of how much is lost in the face of chronic pain and illness. The all-encompassing nature of chronic pain, the way it takes hold of every single part of life, makes it unique among many life struggles.

A friend and I were talking about life, and she shared how God had taken away the one thing she most wanted. She wanted this thing, and God said no.

She asked me if I felt the same way about my chronic illness.

“I know you used to love the outdoors, and now you can’t do those things outside that you love anymore. Do you also feel like God took away the one thing that you love?”

I said yes. But then I said no, because that is not the best way to explain it.

And so, I explained to her that the difference is that chronic pain doesn’t take one thing away from us. It doesn’t take away one dream and then force us to pick our second best.

We lose our first dream, and our second dream, and our third dream.

We can’t focus on a job because we can’t have kids, or take up a killer exercise schedule or some crazy new hobby because we have lost our job.

We lose our first option, second option, third, fourth, and fifth.

The difference is that sometimes we can’t have any of the things in life we once would have said we wanted. And this doesn’t mean we don’t have good things in our lives, but they are often not the things we ever wanted in the first place. We lose everything, and then build from the ground up.

She really got it, and said she had never thought about it in that way. When she lost the thing she wanted, she poured herself into every other area of her life to try and make up for that loss.

But for us, there often aren’t enough things in this world to fill the hole that is dug by our chronic pain.

And that is the difference. It is hard to explain how much we have lost.

This is one of the most effective ways I have described my chronic pain, which really led to new understanding. How do you explain how much you have lost?


  1. That’s really well written. I hadn’t thought of it in that way, but you articulated my feelings really well. (You always do, so I’m not surprised:) I would think that ‘normal’ people generally do think if they can’t do this one thing, well, it’s okay because then they can do another thing. Not so for many of us. That’s a hard realization to come to.

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