The Flares of Our Lives – Soapy Drama for Pain Awareness Month

Pain Awareness Month - An image of a woman on fire.

The Flares of Our Lives – Soapy Drama for Pain Awareness Month

What better way to add a little comedy to our lives for Pain Awareness Month with some soapy drama? (Not that there is anything funny about pain, but I have found that a little humor can go a long way. It amused me this month to take traditional soap opera titles and rewrite them to showcase a world where we live – the 20% of our population that lives with chronic pain.) To be honest, I’m not capable of writing much this month! I’m doing this because I’ve missed A Chronic Voice’s September writing prompts all summer and figured I’d better get on it!

Soap operas are fun, but I know we’d all love to skip over the drama of pain in our lives. That said, I don’t think I’d mind watching shows that focus on the reality of life with pain. At least it would get the word out!

And now I present:

As The Pain Turns

This family of health bloggers are the predominant forces in CISP, Chronic State and they have quite a history, thanks to their fearless town founder, Sheryl C and her friends.

As The Pain Turns empowers its viewers by focusing on the real life dramas of people living with chronic illness. This soapy drama showcases patient stories and teaches its viewers about learning how to cope with and thrive with illness, while providing information for newly diagnosed patients and advice for pain patients.

The pain might keep turning, but this show also underscores a good point: pain is not visible most of the time. One of my favorite episodes is based on learning how to watch for non-verbal signs of pain such as the following:

Tune in to As the Pain Turns between 2am and 4am every day of the week!

Personal note: Empowering

We share our stories to empower and inspire others.

The Sick and the Sleepless

The chronic illness community is ruled by the Sleepless Zzzs family from Sick City. But behind the glitz and glamor of lives spent mostly in bed chasing ever elusive sleep and waiting for their bodies to stop attacking them, the Sleepless Zzzs and friends encounter many hardships in life, including chronic pain, brain fog, fatigue, and more. Nevertheless, they do not accept defeat!

This drama focuses on stories of the financial burden that many pain patients experience due to medical bills, depression, painsomnia, loneliness and isolation, debilitating joint and muscle pain, abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea; extreme fatigue, hair loss and rashes, headaches, migraine, and dizziness. The Sick and the Sleepless never stop fighting to ensure that their viewers are informed and have better coping tools for bad days.

The Sick and the Sleepless remind us that we are never alone! There is always someone out there who gets it. Want to know how you can help a friend in pain? The Sleepless Zzzs have you covered with Episode 919 on How to Help a Friend Who Lives with Chronic Pain.

Personal note: Defeating
Short and sweet: There is no such thing as defeat with chronic illness in my mind. There is only acceptance.

All My Flares

Set in the upscale town of Intractable, Pain., All My Flares revolves around the intertwined relationships and hard working health advocates and bloggers in town. All My Flares has a history of controversial yet socially relevant storylines that deal with topics like how the opioid epidemic is hurting pain patients, while addressing some of the most pressing issues about chronic pain healthcare in the world today.

This show puts great emphasis on the shame and judgement that pain patients live with. The episode with one of the main characters, Melina, leaving the pharmacy after being berated once again for trying to fill her pain prescription left me feeling angry and emotional. Why? Because I’ve been there!

On the flip side of things, All My Flares also highlights the stories of pain patients who feel shame about their own place in life and their own sense of worthiness. And, of course, there is a lot of stigma about chronic pain. The cast of All My Flares works hard to dispel this stigma and the myths and misconceptions that abound in the world of Ableds.

Personal note: Shaming

Nearly 20% of chronic pain patients feel the need to hide their pain for fear of being shamed, judged, accused of faking their pain, or simply not being believed. You are not alone with your journey with pain. If you’re reading this and living with chronic pain, remember that there are many other pain patients around the world – 20% in fact – that understand what you are going through. While chronic pain affects every aspect of our lives, from sleep to daily living, work, mental well-being, relationships and more, there is strength in telling your story!

Guiding Pain

The fictional town of Chronic Fatigue provides the backdrop for this continuing tale about pain patients that form the backbone of this community. These residents are concentrating on ensuring that their stories are heard, while also showing the world that it is hard to get their messages out when they’re coping with chronic fatigue, brain fog, sensory overload, chronic pain, and more.

If you’re currently concentrating on waiting for that flare to end so you can continue with your life, this show will remind you that you’re more likely to encounter flare-ups of painful symptoms during times of physical and mental stress, overexertion, medication changes, sleepless nights, hormonal changes, and, of course, when the weather changes!

Presenting life and love amid the great challenge of living a life in pain, Guiding Pain reminds us that we must keep going despite the challenges we encounter each day.

Personal note: Concentrating

This month I’m concentrating on getting through this flare, which is something that many pain patients can relate to. It started on August 5th and I have not been able to shake it! The days are endless when you are living with intractable pain. It affects every aspect of your life.

Chronic pain has been linked to numerous physical and mental conditions and contributes to high health care costs and lost productivity. A limited number of studies estimate that the prevalence of chronic pain ranges from 11% to 40%.

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6736a2.htm

The Flares of Our Lives

Set in the fictional town of Flaring, this long-running saga follows the numerous flares, suffering, AND triumphs of chronic pain residents of this town. You can expect stories about accessibility, family drama – especially with family members who think you’re faking it or talk about your illness too much; health investigations, mental illness, and frequent trips to the ER. In this drama, viewers learn about the lives of chronic pain patients, who are often overlooked and under-treated in healthcare systems around the world.

Here’s one major aspect of The Flares of Our Lives that they want viewers to know. You cannot tell by gazing at someone that they are in pain most of the time. Additionally, scientists and medical experts still don’t really understand how pain works. If they could fully grasp how pain works, they might be able to help us better.

Pain is complex and defies our ability to establish a clear definition,” said Kathryn Weiner, director of the American Academy of Pain Management. “Pain is far more than neural transmission and sensory transduction. Pain is a complex mixture of emotions, culture, experience, spirit and sensation.

Kathryn Weiner, director of the American Academy of Pain Management

It’s true that pain has a voice, even though many pain patients admit that they don’t have words to describe their pain. There are many words to describe chronic pain and this show makes it clear that the drama that accompanies pain is always powerful, emotional, and REAL.

Personal note: Gazing

On a personal note, I’m trying not to gaze into the future too much. I also find it hard not to look back at the past when I was living better days with less illness and pain. Do you have this problem too? When you live with chronic pain, it’s best to stay in the present and take things one moment at a time. This is simply because the nature of pain can change so quickly.

So that’s that! See you next month. I hope you enjoyed a different take on our chronic illness prompts this month. I know I did!

Post Author: Carrie Kellenberger

I'm a chronically ill Canadian who has been living in Asia since 2003. I moved from China to Taiwan in 2006. I'm an experienced businesswoman and have worked in many leadership positions in Asia. In addition to my own work, I've been writing professionally about Asia, travel and health advocacy since 2007, providing regular content to publishing companies and travel publications in Asia and North America. I started writing about my health journey in 2009 after being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. In 2014, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, which came with other massive health issues. These diagnoses were the start of my journey as a health advocate and patient leader. Since then, My Several Worlds has been recognized worldwide as a top site for AS, fibromyalgia, and chronic illness by WEGO Health and Healthline.

8 thoughts on “The Flares of Our Lives – Soapy Drama for Pain Awareness Month

    Melissa Reynolds

    (September 12, 2021 - 4:02 pm)

    Hi Carrie I am sorry to hear you’ve had a flare you can’t shake. In spite of that you’ve written another thoughtful post about what it’s like living with the myriad of symptoms. I had a bit of a giggle at your turning chronic illness into a soap opera 🙂

      Carrie Kellenberger

      (September 13, 2021 - 10:50 am)

      Hurray! I’m so glad that it made you laugh a bit. I hit publish and thought, ‘What have I done?” 🙂 I wasn’t sure how it would be received, so I do appreciate the positive thoughts and feedback, Melissa!

    Lucy

    (September 13, 2021 - 4:54 am)

    This is my favourite awareness post! I love your take on the monthly prompts and how you bring in humour to help raise awareness. I can’t believe there’s 20% of people who live with chronic pain and how such a large number feel like we have to hide our illnesses and symptoms. You do such a great job of providing a unique insight into what life with chronic pain is like, thank you.

      Carrie Kellenberger

      (September 13, 2021 - 10:51 am)

      Hurray, Lucy. I’m so happy you like how I wrote this. I honestly wasn’t sure how it would go over, but as I have spent so much time in bed these last 5 weeks, I’ve had plenty of time to watch silly tv and though, what if we did a soapy drama about pain. Hence the post. That makes me feel so good that you liked it. Yes, it’s such a huge number and so hard to believe!

    Rachel

    (September 13, 2021 - 4:37 pm)

    Carrie ,
    I wrote a little something to you earlier but I wanted to add a little more. I’m so sorry to hear about your flares. They’re not fun at all! I had some recently.. Hope your feeling better now! Your blog was fantastic! I know it wasn’t meant to be comical. However, as a long time soap fan, I had a giggle over the titles. I know what you mean about wondering how it would be received. I had that feeling when I did a post on pain abs suicide featuring The Jackson 5 song, I’ll be there. Feel better soon! Gentle hugs!

      Carrie Kellenberger

      (September 14, 2021 - 12:57 pm)

      Hi Rachel. Thank you so much for your comment and love. I wanted to do something a little different and I was trying to inject a little comedy into it while hammering home some facts for this month. It’s quite different to what I normally write here, so I appreciate you stopping by to say you enjoyed it. I haven’t really plugged it online because I wasn’t sure how people would respond to it.

      If you noticed my mention of CISP, Chronic State in As The Pain Turns, that is a nod to Sheryl’s engagement group on Facebook. It’s called Chronic Illness Social Pod and we share content there to get a boost from other members. I’m not sure if you’re in it, but you should consider joining if you’d like some help from friends in boosting your content across all platforms. Sheryl does a great job with the group. 🙂

      I haven’t watched soaps in ages, but they are a fond memory of time spent with my grandmother who loved them.

      I read your post by the way, but it’s fresh. I just lost a CI friend recently and I had no idea how to respond to it. I’ll be by soon.

    Sheryl Chan

    (October 6, 2021 - 10:22 pm)

    Hi Carrie… This might just win the award for most creative linkup entry in the monthly prompts so far! 😉 Thank you for the amusement although chronic pain is not funny, as we know. But as people with chronic illness, I think we’ve developed a sense of humour in our own ways to cope as well. Thanks so much for participating! x

      Carrie Kellenberger

      (October 7, 2021 - 2:40 pm)

      Hi Sheryl! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. It’s nice to have writing prompts that allow us to get out of our comfort zone and try something different. It amused me greatly to write this and it’s quite different from my other articles. Thanks so much for giving me that opportunity and for supporting all of us with everything you do!

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