I write this so that even if you don't know my case or me as a patient, you will understand what chronic pain means for a person. It is likely that someone asked for your help today to overcome something that they're struggling with. It is also likely that help was denied because maybe you didn't want to add to what they consider to be the "Opitate Crisis" or you thought they were just looking for something to get high on. Although there are many people who are just after a drug fix, here's the truth. That is only a minority of people who ask for help for pain management.
The thing is, I, like so many others, have a number of health problems that are painful. Have you ever woke up and had to force yourself to move because you slept so badly and everything is hurting? Have you ever tried to stand up, only to have shooting pains from your neck to your hip? How about breathing? Does the expansion of your rib cage feel like it's so painful that you only take shallow breaths? These are just some examples of things someone like me experiences on a day to day basis! Now, my pain isn't the worst pain out there, it's not a contest though, remember that, but it does have a negative impact in my day to day life.
Now imagine you're trying to ask someone for help after the 5th night of not sleeping for more than a short period. You're exhausted. You just want it to stop now and for a reprieve from all this. You aren't asking to be doped up to the eyeballs, you just want the same as everyone else wants and should be entitled to, to live without constant pain and to function somewhat normally, or as normal as things are when you have an illness. That person says "No" to your request, saying something patronising usually about how pain is something you should just ignore or try and live with! Even if it does make you feel like jumping off a bridge in to oncoming traffic. Being told that despite your suffering, you aren't going to have someone help you, no matter how much you cry and you should just accept that. "Drink water and sleep..." "We can't give you pain meds because we don't want you getting addicted..." "Be more positive." And finally "There isn't anything we can do", the most soul destroying phrase you can hear.
I have experience of pain acceptance first hand and it wasn't good. It made me feel like there wasn't any point in trying anymore and if it hadn't been for people who love me, I would have become another statistic. Another life taken because they honestly made me believe that I had no other choice. Its true that pain medication doesn't cure what causes the problem but when you're problems are pretty permanent, it makes it less daunting.
No one wants to be stuck on powerful drugs to function.
No one asks for this.
No one should be denied help.
So, please, try and empathise with the next person who tells you their suffering and need you to help them. Please try and look beyond the media creation of a crisis that isn't really the way it's been portrayed. Yes there are places where the prescription of opiates isn't appropriate but try and look at each case individually. Empathise. Think about how you would feel in their situation.
Please hear my humble words and help people who need it. Advocating pain acceptance is only compounding the problem and isolating those who need their medicines to live without constant pain. The result of this could be that that person decides that the pain is too much and they can't live that way anymore. It does happen that people think that it's better to end their lives than suffer.