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Living with Pain

Photo by Mic 445
Photo by Mic 445



Who gets to define what pain is?



I live with the pain of mental illness every day of my life. Some days are harder than others. Who gets to define what “real” pain is? Who gets to say that your pain is any less or any more than mine?



Who was there when I horded and counted pills to see if I had enough to end my own life? No one.

The reason I bring this up is that today, an acquaintance was commenting on the death of the young woman with brain cancer. She wrote something to the effect that to commit suicide to save the pain and suffering was an acceptable choice. I had replied that when you take your own life, or that of someone else, you effectively cut off the work of God.

Photo by Karrie Nodalo
Photo by Karrie Nodalo


Now, I am not comparing illnesses, nor am I proselytising,  but I am saying that pain is relative to the one experiencing it. Her pain, my pain, who can say what one’s tolerance for fear and pain is? Do I have to kill myself to prove to someone that my pain is real? That I suffer?


How many times have we all heard phrases like, “ Buck up and cheer up,” and “Get over it.” I just read some statistics that suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15 to 45 year olds and that 38,000 people in the U.S. die each year from suicide. When will society at large wake up and realize that the pain from mental illness is very real? As real as cancer, I might even say. It sure as hell is as frightening. Because whether I die from terminal cancer, or I die from suicide, I’m just as dead.



Life is to be cherished. Each moment is precious. Each smile, each raindrop is a gift. Some days, some hours, it doesn’t seem it. At times, the rocks in my pockets are more than I think I can bear. Don’t ask me to prove it. Please don’t.



Living with Pain

Lisa Keith, Psy.D.

September 29, 2014 Lisa Keith,Lisa.Keith Psy.D. is a 20-plus year veteran special education teacher who has taught grades K-12 and now teaches graduate students who want to grow up to be special ed. teachers. When she’s not teaching or academically engaged, she is completely engrossed in 49er football or the art of Zentangle. A typical day for Lisa begins at 4 a.m. to check email, Pinterest and journal, followed by a hefty dose of coffee and hours of study. You can learn more about her here:

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APA Reference
, . (2014). Living with Pain. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2018, from


Last updated: 3 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Nov 2014
Published on All rights reserved.