How do you do it? They ask. And then say "I wouldn't be able to handle all that pain every day. A migraine every day?" Not counting the FM which they often do not mention because they don't know what they would feel like. But worst headache ever captures their attention.
And I say... "You get used to it." Because you do. You have a baseline pain all the time and it is your new normal. You develop Tolerable pain and Functional pain. And what to do with Intolerable pain and Non-functional pain. You get used to it. I say that though because it sounds better than 'I have no idea how I do it. I just do. Because I have to. And god damn do I wish I didn't have to.'
But the real answer is WE MUST. We were never given a choice in the matter. It was put upon us and we had to learn the hard way how to cope with the chronic pain as best we could.
WE MUST because in order to live, move or do anything we have to do it with the pain. So we learn what to do with the pain. We make room for it.
When the pain gets to us and depression set in our brain changes to WE MUST NOT... endure this suffering.
That is is why we are always fighting for the surface, because if we stop for a moment, we will begin to drown. Chronic pain is heavy and it is drag you down and we will sink.
It seems to me after you 'must not' you don't fight for the surface as hard anymore. You know the allure of not fighting anymore. A part of you doesn't strive as hard because the pain always wins. Or has less survival instincts left after sinking for awhile. It is like your brain, instead of WE MUST is WE MIGHT... because it crossed a line into not wanting to exist and once it did, it is a possibility that is always there in theory. You must live with the pain and cope, or you might, you might not.
We want to survive, so we must. We want to life, so we must. We must cope with the pain the bast we can. Or we push through the pain. We exceed our limits and make it worse. Because we feel we have to work as hard as everyone, do as much as everyone.... with the pain of course. Our job though isn't to push though the pain or increase the pain. It is know we have pain that isn't going anywhere we Must deal with it, cope with it, pace ourselves and stay within limitations.
Chronic pain is that sort of survival battle sometimes. We have to deal with it, because there simply is no other option. But... it then occurs to us sometimes there is an option... to just not exist and have pain at all. Then we have to battle those thoughts as well as the pain. Sink or swim. Sink or swim. We are always battling for the surface and never making it. Always close to sinking, but never drowning... hopefully.