768044 tn?1294223436

How to stay polite/respectful/nice when in pain?

Hi everyone,

I would say that lately my base pain level is around a 2/10 to a 3/10, and I still feel like myself when I am at a mild pain level. But, I get severe headaches so my pain can spike to anywhere from a 5/10 to a 9/10. A normal headache for me is probably between a 5/10 and 7/10.

As soon as my pain spikes to a 5/10, I stop being a nice person. I get really grumpy and snappy. I have a short temper and I get frustrated with people (and things and situations) without a good reason to. It means that I am often mean/rude to my mother, brother and my boyfriend (I tend to isolate myself from friends when I am like this, so it's only really my family and my partner who sees me when I am in moderate to severe pain). I know that it hurts their feelings when I am mean to them or get frustrated with them, and often that just makes me more frustrated and more snappy. When I find myself being mean, I will usually just attempt to isolate myself instead of apologizing or trying to be nice.

When my pain drops back down to a mild pain level, I feel really guilty and terrible for being unreasonable and mean to people, especially my mom. I love my family and my partner, and they are a major part of my support system. I owe a lot to them and I don't want to be mean to them.

Are there ways of controlling bad tempers and bad moods while in moderate to severe pain? I do explain the pain is what causes me to snap at them, and I always apologize when my pain level drops, but that's not enough because I know I am still responsible for how I act and I don't want to hurt anyone. Has anyone had the same sort of experience as me and been able to overcome it? I would really applicate any advice, thankyou!!
6 Responses
1310633 tn?1430224091
I'll tell you what...

I'm a royal A$$hole when I'm in the throws of birthing a kidney-stone (the main source of my pain). My doctors, nurses, family, etc. have come to know this, and realize that it "just the way it is". GET ME SOME DRUGS is the only thing going through my mind, when I'm in the ER going through an 8/10 - 9/10, and politeness goes out the window.

Sorry to say, but if your loved ones truly love you, the'll understand your "mood swings" and love you no matter what.

My 2 cents... although I feel quite sure there are others here with differing opinions.

Welcome to the community, BTW. I'm not  doctor, so take my opinion with a grain of salt! Just a regular guy, with a regular job, with an irregular kidney-stone problem.

Take care.

Avatar universal
The pain goes up my patience goes down. Just a fact of life I guess. My only Saving Grace is my daughter, no matter how bad it hurts I can always dig a little deeper to calm myself in her presence. My wife's has learned that when my profanity increases and the irrational behavior starts that's when she reminds me that it's about time to go play with my little Saving Grace and you know what it works better than any pill in the old med. cabinet.
Avatar universal
First I want to thank you for posting an excellent question.  Let me start by saying I deal with chronic pain patient everyday in my job.  I have to disagree with el_em...  It shouldn't be "the way it is."  Your family undoubtly understands that you have chronic pain but you should remember, they are not the cause of it.  You should try to communicate with them when your pain gets bad instead of "snapping" at them.  Chronic pain can lead to anxiety and depression.  It is difficult to deal with pain on a daily basis, it just adds strees to you emotionally when you add a guilt feeling for your behavior.  You can try to stop, take a deep breath and explain to your family how you are feeling.  Your family can be your best support for you since they do love and care about you but you should include them in how you're feeling.  
One other suggestion is talk to your partner or Mother and get suggestions on how to better communicate your frustration.  The people closest to you are sometimes the ones who can help the most.  They will understand that you need to lean on them.  That is what family is for.
I hope you find this helpful and I wish you all the best.
503893 tn?1292099833
I know how you are feeling.  When my pain is at a 6/10 I tend to get very cranky and trying to do the smallest thing like vacume a room will have me cussin' and it doesn't take much to get it up to that level  Thankfully (or not) I really don't have anyone around except for my parrots (one of whom has picked up on said cussin - lol).  Once the pain reaches 7/ or 8/10 I kind of do the same thing you do - isolate myself even more.  Unfortunately unless I'm taking my pain meds this is where my pain is at and when I do take my pain meds to lower my pain I don't drive - so I'm isloated anyway.  I went to a psychologist after my 3 and 4th surgical procedures on my lower back didn't work and I learned a lot.  Not that I like having to limit myself to 20 min of activity before my pain spikes but learnng limits has helped. I also learned little bits and pieces of information on how to divert my anger instead of taking it out on the people around me. I agree with SLCPMOM - talk with your family and find a better way to communicate your pain level as it is increasing  and how it's affecting you. This could be a verbal or non-verbal cue - don't leave it up to your family to figure out what level your pain is at.  Take Care.
82861 tn?1333453911
There's nothing wrong with isolating during a pain spike IF you put that isolated time to good use.  If you don't currently use relaxation and meditation techniques to help you cope with pain, now is the time to do so.  Explain to your family that this is part of your therapy and that  you need some down time to deal with the pain spike.  Disappear to the bedroom and put those techniques to work.  Put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door if you anyone needs a reminder that you are at work.  

Relaxation and meditation are skills that have to be practiced.  It's sometimes easier for other people to understand if you present these times as actually "doing something" rather than laying around being a miserable- beotch hermit.

I've used meditation for years to deal with pain spikes that meds absolutely cannot touch.  If I'm lucky, I'll even be able to get an hour or so of sleep.  There's nothing wrong with using sleep as an escape from pain if you can work it into your day.  As long as I tell my husband what's going on and that I need some down time, he's fully supportive and keeps the house as quiet as possible.  If I don't speak out up front - yeah, it's pretty ugly and it's entirely my fault for not opening my mouth.

Conscious relaxation is so important because we get very tense with a pain spike.  Tension and anxiety always makes the pain worse.  Count on it.  Respiration, heart rate and blood pressure increase and muscles contract.  All that adds up to more pain and sometimes it crops up in new places as a result.

Other people can't understand chronic pain.  You have to forgive them and try to help them understand that there are going to be times that you aren't yourself.  They don't need to understand how much pain you're in, only that there are certain things you have to do to deal with it.  Tell them that they can help you by giving you the time to do it.
768044 tn?1294223436
thank you so much for your responses! it helps to know that others find they can sometimes act this way when they are in pain too, and that everyone seems to agree that taking time to myself is a good way of handling it. i will try the other suggestions as well. thank you so much!
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