One of the most difficult aspects of living with Trigeminal Neuralgia is that it cannot be seen by people. "Can someone really be in so much pain, but have no visible signs?”
Many people need evidence, something visible, something tangible, before they can truly believe that someone could possibly be living with such cruel and savage pain. After all, if it were really that bad, doctors would have found a cure by now. Wouldn’t they?
Sadly, it is that bad, and even more sadly, there really isn’t a cure.
When there is no understanding, it affects the patient so much.
They feel like they are not believed. They feel guilty because of their inability to live life as they should. They feel like failures, as they cannot live up to their own or other people’s expectations. They feel that they need to hide their pain from others. They feel more and more isolated with their pain. They become depressed. And it becomes even more difficult to deal with the pain.
We notice the grumpy looking shop assistant and think they could do with smiling a bit more. We don’t wonder why they are grumpy. We don’t really give a thought to what they may be going through. We possibly don’t even care.
We see a car pulling into the disabled parking space and notice the driver getting out and walking unaided into the supermarket and presume he isn’t disabled at all and shouldn’t be parking there. We don’t give a thought that by the time he has finished his shopping, he possibly will be struggling to walk from the checkout back to his car. We just think he was wrong to park in that disabled space.
We hear so much on television and newspapers about people fraudulently claiming disability benefits, that when our young, healthy looking neighbour hasn’t been working for six months, we presume they are lazy and work-shy. Do we even entertain the thought at all, that this healthy looking young man, may actually be suffering greatly in some way? Depression? Anxiety? Living with invisible pain like Trigeminal Neuralgia?
Perhaps we all need to take another look at those faces.