I posted this recently on my blog, Linda Kruschke’s Blog. This post was inspired by a flare-up of my fibromyalgia. One of my fellow bloggers who has bipolar commented that the pain of bipolar is also a form of invisible pain. It occurred to me then that this is a perfect post for the encouragement of broken believers, many of whom struggle with some form of invisible pain, whether physical or mental pain.
I didn’t want to write about fibromyalgia, but then I realized that sharing my struggles with this syndrome might help someone who also struggles with invisible pain.
When someone breaks a leg, suffers a severe burn, or is covered with cuts and bruises it is easy for people to see what is wrong and to sympathize. But the pain of fibromyalgia is invisible pain. From the outside, the person suffering from the pain of fibromyalgia looks just fine, and so people don’t understand what they are going through.
It is also an unpredictable pain with no easily determinable cause or trigger. One day you feel just fine and you wake up the next day feeling like you got run over by a freight train. I’ve gone for months feeling fine, with very little pain, then suddenly every muscle in my body aches, and certain movements cause sharp pains in my legs, arms, and neck.
I try to figure out why.
I’ve had doctors give me conflicting theories of what causes this pain, and I have read conflicting theories as well. One doctor told me it is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Another has told me it is caused by what I eat, by an inability of my muscles to process sugar that results in toxins in my muscles.
Another suggested it is a symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that stems from some early trauma. I had also read that there was a strong link between fibromyalgia and Epstein Bar Virus (or mononucleosis), which I had when I was in junior high. Finally, I have read that it is simply hereditary.
The pain of fibromyalgia is truly invisible.
There is no medical test that shows whether someone has fibromyalgia. There is a “tender point” test in which the doctor checks 18 designated tender points on the body and if 11 or more are tender to the touch a diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be made. But even that test is somewhat subjective.
All my life I have felt pain in circumstances where someone else thought I shouldn’t have felt pain. I can remember saying something hurt when I was a kid only to be told, “That didn’t hurt.” This summer I experienced pain from something that didn’t seem like it should hurt. I was at my cousin’s house in Houston and his granddaughter was playing with three pine cones. She kept handing them to me to play with, but the sharp points started to really hurt my hands. I said I didn’t want to play anymore because it made my hands hurt. My sister looked at me and asked, “Does that really hurt?”
Invisible pain. It’s difficult to cope with sometimes.
But I know that Jesus knows how I feel, and that gives me a great deal of comfort. Although the pain Jesus experienced when He was scourged, beaten, and crucified was quite visible, He experienced an invisible pain, too. He experienced the pain of having the sin of the world laid upon Him and of His Father turning away as He cried, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46 (NIV).
If you struggle under the weight of invisible pain, take heart that you are not alone. Christ understands your suffering and your pain. You also have fellow Christians who understand what you are going through. The apostle Peter provided for us who suffer a wonderful encouragement in his first epistle:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 5:6-11 (NIV).
Satan would love to devour us in our pain, to make us fall and cease to be of use in God’s kingdom. But if we cling to Jesus, and cast all of our fears and anxiety on Him, He will help us to defeat Satan’s plans.
If you are struggling with invisible pain and feeling like you are at your wit’s end, leave me a comment and I would love to pray for you. It would be a blessing to me to be able to ask our Lord to strengthen you and give you peace and comfort so that you might be enabled to stand firm in your faith. Would you do the same for me?
ysic, Linda K.
14 thoughts on “Invisible Pain”
I will pray for you. I have had invisible pain for many years. No matter what, I fail. It’s true. My husband left me with 2 little kids. They’re adults now and they have suffered intense rejection and affliction-even more than mine. I haven’t seen my daughter for 15 years; my son for 16 months. We are all Christians, but estranged. My son was dangerously betrayed by his fiancé, he was in danger. I tried to help him, but failed. This woman left him some time last year. He won’t call or see me. I tried too hard. He’s hurting too deeply. I’m totally alone, and I suspect he is too. I pray for restoration, peace and healing, but none comes. I don’t care like I used to because I fail every time, even when it is to serve Christ. I love and miss my family so much that it is killing me. I can’t bear it. I’m doing what I should do, giving my burdens to Him, but nothing changes. If a person says something nice to me, I break down. I’ve never asked “why” before, but now I do. My son’s pain and loss of plans for a future to serve Christ and raise a family seems lost to him. I know. He is a very good man. He doesn’t deserve the pain in his soul. My daughter? I don’t know. Me? Not worth it.
Thank you, I really needed to read a post like this today, its so very relatable. Recently when asking for help from those around me its been hard to explain a pain that is invisible (I have depression and Ehlers Danlos) so it is comforting to be reminded I’m not alone
I’m glad this post was a blessing to you. You are definitely not alone. Peace, Linda
Thank you Linda. I just happened upon this site, I am suffering great invisible pain from past traumatic events that that occured in my life. I too love to write . It has been very cathartic for me in the past. I feel stuck and unable to move forward. I would love to blog but lack the motivation and courage. I am very broken inside. I too love Jesus. I will be praying for you. After coming to your blog I feel the peace and presence of God . You have a beautiful heart-like Jesus. Please pray for me.
Sandra, so sorry you didn’t get a faster reply. We were a bit negligent. Your stuckness is a season in your life, but has tremendous value. When you get ready to blog, let me know. I would be honored to help you on your blog, when the time comes. I’m quite sure that He will take you, right where He wants you. You’ll never be ready enough, but He will make you enough.
I will pray for you. Let me know what develops.
Thank you so much for the encouragement
Bryan. I will keep in touch.
Blessings to you
Sandra, I am so blessed that this post was a blessing to you. I understand being stuck as I was in that place for almost 8 years. Fear is not from God and He does not want us to fear – I am always struck by how many times in scripture He tells us to be courageous or to not be anxious or to not be afraid. I believe it is because He knows that is just the encouragement we need. I will be praying for you to have the courage to step out of the boat and move into blogging when the time is right. Peace, Linda
I praise God for this…i have had doctors tell me to its a chemical inbalance and also i have been changing my eating habits..i drink more water..i feel like i need to stay in bed, i feel like i need to be in the house i can take some of the pain but this depression makes it bad..
I understand how you feel. I suffered from major depression for eight years, and still there are days, sometimes weeks, when I think it might return. But I know now that I was not alone during that time even though I felt like I was. God was with me, holding me up. I know how easy it is to just think it would be better to stay in the house alone, but that is a lie from the devil. As hard as it may be, know that there are those out there who care and that the best thing you can do is find them. I had the wife of a man my husband worked with convince me to go to a Bible study on a weekly basis, and it was the best thing I ever did. God was able to meet me there and provide a great deal of healing and comfort, and to get me to the place where I can tolerate the physical pain and cope with it much better. I will pray that God brings someone into your life to invite you into a closer walk with Him. Keep your eyes open for that person – this is the kind of prayer God loves to answer – and I will also pray that when the opportunity comes you will not be afraid to go out and take hold of it. Peace, Linda
I have a reader on my blog who just wrote to me today feeling a need for someone to understand what is going on with her. Fibromyalgia, depression, and other pains. If you would please go to the following link, and get back in touch with her, I’d appreciate it. Your message was written as though it was directly to her and to me. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.
Shari, I certainly will! I love to be an encouragement to others. I actually posted a poem today on my own blog titled “Pain and Suffering.” I will give her a link as I think it would be a blessing to her. Thank you for caring enough to create this connection. Peace, Linda
This IS perfect for here at broken believers. Thank you, Linda, for ministering to all of us who deal with invisible pain. So thankful that Jesus knows!
God bless you, Pastor B, for knowing and understanding too!
What a nice and true article . Please pray for my children and fo us too . We pray you stand tall and feel Gods love .
Thank you for reminding me I am not alone .
Karen, I will certainly pray for you and your children. I think the idea that we are alone in our pain is one of the tools the evil one uses to keep us in darkness. But we are not alone when we are part of the body of Christ. Thank you for your prayer, too. Peace, Linda
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