archives, you & me

Your Pain Doesn’t Need Justification.


How often have we told ourselves that we have no reason to be upset, that we should be over it by now, that someone has it worse?

How often have we been told the same by others? We know that there’s nothing we can do to change our pain, but we allow ourselves to listen to those who think we don’t deserve to feel how we do.

A nurse asks you what your pain is, on a scale of one to ten. You say eight. The next person, upon being asked the same question, for the exact same issue, says six. Does that mean that you have it worse?

A therapist asks you what your anxiety is at, on a scale of one to ten. You say four. If you asked that to a friend going through the exact same struggles as you, but they said five, does that mean they have it worse?

We all compare our pain to someone else’s. We put a definition on it, a time span, as if that validates it somehow. As if that gives us an excuse to feel something, an excuse to not feel ashamed of our pain. So sure, let’s put some definitions to it.

A paper cut: sharp, short, heals in a week or so.

Accidentally biking into a parked vehicle: blunt, brain-wracking, your jaw fades from red to brown to yellow and sickly green. You can see it for a week or two.

A migraine: a red-hot poker skewered through your temple, wiggled every time your partner talks. Pop some Advil, hopefully it’ll be gone in a few days.

Labor: an elbow jabbed into your pelvic bone and ground down, a sledgehammer to your back every three minutes, barely conscious from the morphine they gave you 10 minutes ago. 20 hours in, you get a human to take care of while your vagina heals in a month and your pelvic floor fails you forever. You get congratulations, they’re so cute, you must be so proud.

Depression: a weight tied to each ankle. Brain fog. Sleep, or lack of it. You can’t bring yourself to shower or get food from the fridge. You fear the outside because damn that road looks real nice, what if you step out into it? The sting of tears ever present but never breaking. Medication every night to make your brain function like it should, just barely. Wondering if you’re getting better or if you’re just getting used to the apathy. Invisible. No real pain meds. No pride. Lifelong.

Temporary or chronic, no pain needs a justification, as if to say “I had it worse.” Don’t rush your healing, if healing is possible. Stop telling yourself that your pain doesn’t matter because it does. Stop letting others tell you they have it worse because it doesn’t matter who has it worse, it matters that you’re hurting.

Visible or invisible, sharp or blunt, physical or emotional, your pain deserves no comparison. Your pain is valid.


Tiffany LeBlanc is an emerging author of primarily fiction works and is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in creative writing. Recently she has begun writing creative non-fiction that she hopes will move and help those in similar struggles. You can follow Tiffany on Instagram or Facebook.


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