Fake it Til You Make it

I have lived with chronic pain for a very long time and that is a long time for some denial and waiting on treatments. And trying to have a life in there. That is the thing about 'fake it til you make it'. You push through, hoping for a return on your pain that never, ever comes. | | #sicklessons #lifelessons #achronicvoice #fakeittilyoumakeit #mentalhealth #chronicillness #chronicpain

Fake it Til You Make it

Just Push Through the Pain

I have lived with chronic pain for a very long time and that is a long time for some denial and waiting on treatments. And trying to have a life in there. I tried to have a career because I needed to work. Fundamentally for money and because insurance never really permitted me to be off for extended periods of time. No proof. No evidence. I had way too many short-term leaves waiting for treatments that never worked. That is the thing about faking it till you make it, you push through, hoping for a return on your pain that never, ever comes.

Some Reasons for Faking Til You Make it

  • You try to hold onto your career.
  • You hold out Hope that the Next treatment will work. And the next. And the next. This idea that you just have to survive Until Then. And that fails. Then it becomes until that next year’s appointment. So one more year.
  • Straight up denial that survival mode can be maintained like that.
  • You don’t want to lose your independence.
  • You don’t want to have financial instability.

When you are in survival mode of unmanaged pain and symptoms this requires pushing through the pain every single day. It requires the exclusion of every other facet of life, which you cut out in order to barely function in the workforce. But you are not functioning well at all which leads to work strain and increased stress.

The Very Hard Lessons I Learned from Pushing Through Unmanaged Pain

  • Treatments take time to find and to work and in the meantime, you are in survival mode. And it is an existence, not a life. It can be years and years to find an effective pain management strategy. For me, more than a decade I was stuck like that.
  • Survival mode can lead to depression and anxiety. It isn’t meant for long-term. Maybe one day pushing through the pain gets you through something stressful, but every day beats you down emotionally and mentally. If it does it further compromises our capacity to cope with the immense pain as we have other complex mental health issues to deal with at the same time.
  • Unmanaged pain and survival mode of pushing through that pain is a suicide risk factor. You are adding immense strain to yourself by pushing through the pain all the time to just try to barely function all the time.
  • Not pacing and pushing through the pain all the time actually increases our pain load, fatigue, and stress. We can get worse, not better by not paying attention to pacing and following our limits.
  • The workplace environment can deteriorate as your functionality declines and you are less than reliable. Causing quite a bit of tension and a great deal more stress. Subsequent leaves of absence cause further strain on relations.
  • It does cause short-term leaves when your doctor will insist upon it for treatments or for the pain or for the emotional consequences. These do cause financial stresses over and over again. And additional strain with your employer. And nothing is ever resolved during them.
  • Existence becomes unbearable.

That is what I have learned from ‘faking it till you make it’. Oh, I could fake it, for years in fact. And make it too. But the impact of it was devastating on me. It all crumbles. It all fails in the end. And the failure to thrive in the workforce is a blow to the self-worth. All because I was forcing myself to do something I wasn’t really capable of. Making myself sicker in the process. Depressed. Suicidal. And I did attempt to kill myself because in the end there seemed no sane reason to exist like that. And there isn’t a sane reason to exist like that. Survival mode and pushing through the pain is a horrific existence. It is a torment beyond comprehension. I am amazed I lived through it.

What I Had to Do

  • Accept finally I couldn’t work full-time, ever. And part-time is a struggle I endure only because forced to by my insurance company. My doctor doesn’t believe I should be working at all. But I cannot work full-time. I acknowledged that.
  • I had to go to the pain clinic to get the pain in check at least modestly.
  • I had to get treatment for my Major Depressive Disorder.
  • I had to accept I am not independent financially.
  • I had to accept there will always be financial instability in my life.
  • I had to accept I need to pace and stay within my limits (within the capacity I am capable with work that is).
  • I had to give up on a career and ambitions I had.
  • And I had to find a level of acceptance from all that, which was difficult to do. I wanted a career. And the stability of financial security.

In order to get out of survival mode. In order to stop pushing through the pain Every day (working does require it on working days when part-time), but with some pain management at least Every day was not High Pain days.

It was such a long, long brutal time for me in my past. And so dark. So steeped in depression and suicidal ideation. So much unmanaged pain. And that is why I do not like it when people say ‘just push through the pain’ or ‘just fake it till you make it’. They do not comprehend the damage that causes. It just about destroyed me.

*Note: This article first appeared on and is re-published here with permission from the author.


Nikki Albert profile

Nikki writes fantasy fiction and self-publishes. She also writes non-fiction on various sites. She has a Masters in Philosophy and three cats. Connect with her on: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

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