I speak for pain. I do. The whole purpose of this blog (aside from the occasional general musings and rantings on life) is to give a voice to chronic pain. It began three years ago because I was frustrated and needed to find a less physical outlet for my energy and now, instead of using the blog to find a life less physical, the blog has become that life.
But not everyone wants to put their every pain related thought in writing, so I speak for my pain and I speak for others. I speak, shout, cry and rant about pain, and I like to think that most of the time, I do an okay job of it.
The thing I’m not very good at is using that voice to challenge the medical system we seem to be stuck in. I don’t challenge my GP who dismisses me with antidepressants, I don’t challenge the gender stereotypes that leave female chronic pain patients feeling helpless and ignored, and I don’t challenge the lack of medical research in this area. So that’s what I’m going to change; I’m going to use this loud mouth to be a bit more effective than just jabbering away on the internet.
You can imagine my delight when The National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association announced the new campaign – #ISpeakForPain. It aims to set a national pain strategy in the US by challenging policy and showcasing the millions of people who are effected by chronic pain every day. The campaign introduction says:“People making decisions that significantly affect your quality of life (federal officials, legislators and policy makers) need to hear from you. Joining the #ISpeakForPain [campain] and telling your story can affect policy decisions and new areas of research.”
Chronic pain patients and their families can participate by uploading photos to #ISpeakForPain on Twitter and Facebook. So come on, cameras out. Stupid faces, heart-felt signs or your serious fight face (yes, that’s what I’ve gone for), it’s selfie time. This is me. I speak for pain.
American readers, here’s looking at you to take it one step further. You can browse the website to write a letter to your Member of Congress – with your own content, or using a prepared template – and you can sign this White House petition on 13 July.
And whilst I’m on the subject, I want to say that whilst I speak for pain, you’re the ones listening. So thank you.