I’m Not Angry. I’m Not Hangry. I’m Paingry.

No. I’m not angry. No. I’m not hangry. I’m paingry.

A whole lot of paingry. I’m paingry because my back is spasming (again). I’m paingry because this pain flare-up seems to have no end in sight. And I’m paingry because I’m not motivated to finish this article.

There. I said it.


Yep. All caps PAINGRY.

Chronic pain SUCKS.

No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Whether you’ve suffered for three weeks, six months, 25 years, or longer, chronic pain can, and more often than not does, take a toll on your mental health.

It is not something to be ashamed of.

Studies show people with chronic pain experience depression and increased anxiety at twice the rate of the general population, often resulting in a lower health-related quality of life.

Living with chronic pain is often stressful. Daily pain equals daily stress. Daily, or chronic, stress can change the levels of hormones and neurochemicals within your brain, affecting your mood, thinking and behaviors. Picture chronic pain and stress like a computer virus attacking and damaging your central processor.

In other words, depression, anxiety, and moodiness is the result of altered brain-biology and is not something people with chronic pain can control.

It is not something I can control. Much to my dismay.

The mind and body are connected.

When one is malfunctioning, the other is usually not too far behind. Pain can cause mental illness, and mental illness can cause pain. Vicious meet cycle. Not the merry-go-round you want to be on, my friends.

Unfortunately, sometimes diagnosing and treating chronic pain conditions and associated mental health problems tests the medical community’s skills and abilities. Add in personal biases, heavy patient loads, and long wait times for referrals, and some patients may suffer for months or even years without proper physical and/or mental care.

Now add to that the general population’s lack of understanding of what people with chronic pain go through daily, and it’s no wonder we sometimes get PAINGRY.

And warning — unless you want to be on the receiving end of a paingry outburst, telling someone with chronic pain to soldier on is risking a poke at the paingry bear most of us try to keep caged. Putting one foot in front of the other does not fix this shit, especially when that first step results in severe hip pain.

Healthy living is hard work.

Yes, there are things we can do to reduce our stress and improve our pain responses. No, I’m not doing any of those things at the moment.

Exercise – nope.

Healthy eating – nope.

Meditation – nope.

Talk therapy – yes.

Medication – yes.

Listen, I know what I need to do to get where I want to be, but mentally, I’m not ready. And that’s OK. I’ve got time. I just wish I wasn’t so damn paingry with myself, because trust me, there’s no one harder on me than myself.

Yeah. The cycle is vicious, but I’m a paingry bitch, so no worries.

I’ve got this.

How about you? Seeing any increases in your paingry outbursts lately? Have any coping strategies or funny stories to share?

Talking All Things Chronic Pain.

Just about everyone feels pain from time to time. When you cut your finger or pull a muscle, pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Once the injury heals, you stop hurting.

Chronic pain is different. Your body keeps hurting weeks, months, or even years after the injury. Doctors often define chronic pain as any pain that lasts for 3 to 6 months or more.

Chronic pain can have real effects on your day-to-day life and your mental health. But you and your doctor can work together to treat it.

What Makes You Feel Chronic Pain?

The feeling of pain comes from a series of messages that zip through your nervous system. When you hurt yourself, the injury turns on pain sensors in that area. They send a message in the form of an electrical signal, which travels from nerve to nerve until it reaches your brain. Your brain processes the signal and sends out the message that you hurt.

Usually the signal stops when the cause of the pain is resolved — your body repairs the wound on your finger or your torn muscle. But with chronic pain, the nerve signals keep firing even after you’ve healed.

Which Conditions Cause Chronic Pain?

Sometimes chronic pain can begin without any obvious cause. But for many people, it starts after an injury or because of a health condition. Some of the leading causes include:

  • Past injuries or surgeries
  • Back problems
  • Migraines & other headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Nerve Damage
  • Infections
  • Fibromyalgia – a condition in which people feel muscle pain throughout their bodies


Chronic pain can range from mild to severe. It can continue day after day or come and go. The pain can feel like:

  • A dull ache
  • Throbbing
  • Burning
  • Shooting
  • Squeezing
  • Stinging
  • Soreness
  • Stiffness

Sometimes pain is just one of many symptoms, which can also include:

  • Feeling very tired or wiped out
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Mood changes
  • Weakness
  • A lack of energy

Chronic Pain and Your Mental Health:

Chronic pain can interfere with your daily life, keeping you from doing things you want and need to do. It can take a toll on your self-esteem and make you feel angry, depressed, anxious, and frustrated.

The link between your emotions and pain can create a cycle. When you hurt, you’re more likely to feel depressed. That can make your pain even worse. The link between depression and pain is why doctors often use antidepressants as one treatment for chronic pain. These drugs can help with both the pain and the emotional strain it causes.

Pain also interferes with sleep and raises your stress levels. Both a lack of sleep and more stress can make pain feel stronger.

Get Help for Chronic Pain:

If you hurt and it doesn’t seem to get better, see your primary care doctor or a pain specialist. They can help you find relief so pain won’t keep you from living your life. Some options include medicine, relaxation therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture, and lifestyle changes, such as getting enough sleep and not smoking.

My Body Is Doing Its Best and It Deserves My Forgiveness

I am working toward loving my physical body in a way I have never been able to before.

I want to feel gratitude, appreciation, and admiration for my body, and I want to feel sexy, desirable, and beautiful. I want to feel so many positive emotions when I look at and think of my physical form, but unfortunately, I usually feel like my body and I are constantly at war with each other.

I struggle with Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and Chronic Pain, and it makes loving my body even more difficult than the “society and the media have taught me to hate my body weight, body shape, imperfect skin, height, nose etc. ” issues that so many of us deal with already. Loving a body that is actively causing you physical daily pain and stress because it is genetically different from a “typical” person’s body is a different type of challenge than the hell of trying to overcome accepting you don’t look like society’s aggressively attractive “ideal” woman.

Trying to love a body that you feel somehow hates you is… exhausting. I am exhausted from being in nonstop pain, from trying to operate with constant fatigue, from gagging on 50 pills a day, and from the heartache that comes with knowing that this is not temporary. This is forever. This is my state of being.

This is my life.

I am acutely aware that all of this is extremely valid. I am also acutely aware that my body itself has no malicious agenda, no evil plan. That, however, doesn’t make me any less angry.

Have you ever been hurt by or angry with someone who not only had no intention of harming you, they were just kind of moving through life in the most benign, typical way, and had no idea they even harmed you at all?

It’s kind of like that.

Learning to love my body is going to have to begin with learning to forgive it for struggling exactly the way that it has. My body is not sentient, my mind is, and it didn’t get to choose to experience bullying or to struggle with chronic pain etc.

I know I sound bananas trying to somehow both personify and dehumanize my body at the same time but just go with me here.

My body was in the womb, creating itself, doing what little unborn bodies do, but it had somewhat the wrong blueprint, and it made itself the best it possibly could. How could I possibly be angry at it for that? I still am. But it did its best.

I’m not mad at it for doing its best, I guess I’m just angry that I have to deal with the faulty outcome. Any contractor can tell you that if you build your house with flawed blueprints on an unstable foundation, your house is eventually going to crumble.

My house is crumbling around me. It’s hard not to be frustrated with that.

I am doing my best with the body that did its best to build itself into a stable and safe shelter for me, I’m just frustrated, exhausted and I pray one day for a cure of it all.

Meanwhile, the most important thing that I can do to move my mindset toward loving my body, the vessel that carries me, is to forgive it for being imperfect, forgive it for not having the right information, and appreciate it for blessing me with its best.

Finding the Strength to Say ‘I’m in Pain’

I’ve had a bad habit of always internalizing what I was feeling. This is mostly the result of growing up in an environment that punished human emotions and belittled feelings of pain, deeming it wrong to share things like a person’s physical struggles and labeling it as “complaining.” I was told someone always had it worse, so what I was experiencing wasn’t bad. I needed to be thankful, period.

Because of that conditioning, I didn’t learn how to translate what my body was trying to tell me. From my physical health to my mental health, I didn’t truly have the skills to gauge how I was doing and definitely hadn’t learned to speak up to ask for help. I’m not sure I even knew I needed help.

Because of this, I didn’t understand how to make boundaries to protect my physical and mental health. I wasn’t able to know when my body needed rest because “someone always had it worse than me.” While that may have been true, it didn’t change the fact that I was struggling. I continued to struggle, but even worse, I couldn’t take care of myself.

It’s taken me a lot to get to this point in my journey where I’m gradually learning to decipher my needs and how to communicate them. It’s a trial and error thing. Some days, I get it right. Others, I feel incredibly lost and have no clue.

Giving myself permission to feel was probably the first and most game-changing step in the entire process. I had to let myself feel the feels. All of them. I had to evaluate my pain first before I could share it with others. I had to validate myself and show my body the same courtesy I would give to anyone else. Making myself and my health a priority wasn’t a selfish act, it was a step in self-care.

Acknowledging I was struggling was a huge step. I could be there for others, but didn’t always offer myself the same favor. I would understand if others needed rest, but wouldn’t stop for myself enough. This is part of the reason I’ve experienced burnout more than once in my life.

Feeling like I’m safe to speak up and say, “Hey, I’m struggling,” whether that’s physically, mentally or emotionally is also so vital. Part of why I internalized things was because I’d receive judgment whenever I did speak up. My pain would be dismissed so easily and that hurt me beyond the physical pain I was feeling. Feeling safe and heard so you can speak up about your struggles is priceless.

It’s the simple things like being too warm while on a car ride with others and finding a way to ask to turn the heat down in winter because I’m burning up. Or, asking for space when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a mental health day to yourself. Then, there is actively working on not always internalizing everything. It’s such a habitual process ingrained into me that I don’t always realize it.

I can hide my discomfort so well, even from doctors. They’ll have to sometimes constantly ask and encourage me to share with them. Are you cold? Are you hurting worse? Is this exercise hurting your back more? Do you need a break? I’ve had numerous medical professionals comment on how I don’t show my discomfort even though they know it’s there. I didn’t realize this until I started working on my health and my healing journey. Learning to be mindful of my thoughts and feelings is so important. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps in this area of my entire well being journey .

Communication is still a tricky process for me. I’m always learning. I hold back often, mostly out of habit. The difference is I’m learning that I’m actually holding back, which is key to sharing. Once you’re aware of it, you can make a change and make an effort at communicating. The more you do it, the more it comes naturally over time.

I never knew how much strength it would take to say, “I’m in pain.” I never knew how much of a difference it would make to not only say that, but take a step back and ask for help. I never knew then what I know now and that is speaking up and advocating for your health is one of the biggest gifts you can truly give to yourself as overall health is truly wealth!