When You’re Living Life at an 8

Everyone has different limits for pain – but just imagine what life would be like if every day your pain was rated at an 8 out of 10.

The Answer is always 8

This idea was first brought to my attention during an episode of one of my favourite television shows, Grey’s Anatomy. This incredibly popular television show tackles many tough social issues incredibly well. One episode in particular stuck with me, the one about chronic and ‘invisible’ pain. Due to my ongoing adjustments to chronic pain, I found the episode incredibly relatable.

On the show, a patient is frequently asked to rate his pain on a scale between 1-10. The answer is always 8. This always surprises doctors as he is not visibly in any pain. He is not screaming, or bloody, he is just chronically ill with no visible symptoms. The patient is quiet and seems almost emotionless. At least for the character on the show, his pain is solved by a medical mystery and he gets his happily ever after going home pain free.

The brilliant and hilarious Cristina Yang notices the significance of the patient’s constant idea of living life “at an 8”. She uses the patient as a metaphor to try and help Dr. Derek “Mc Dreamy” Sheppard understand that although Meredith’s pain and trauma is well hidden, the pain is still very much there, and very important to consider.

Living at an 8

I too, live my life, at an 8. Chronic pain makes even the most routine tasks much more difficult than I ever expected them to be. People that know me well, and know what I have to overcome, are proud of me.

To strangers, I seem lazy, rude, or entitled. Getting a seat on the bus during busier hours of the day gets me more dirty looks than I can count. Just because someone doesn’t look like they are sick does not mean they are healthy. I don’t have chronic illness written on my forehead, nor should I have to identify myself as such if I choose not to. I don’t get asked by strangers to rate my pain on a scale between 1-10.

No, this is not a pity party for me. Yes, I live my life at an 8. No, that does not stop me from striving to live my best life. This was all a long-winded way of saying. You may never know what other people are dealing with. Always remember to be kind and compassionate. Because you never know, they could be living life at an 8.


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