What is it like living with chronic pain

Asta Diabaté
6 min readDec 21, 2020

Chronic pain feels like a shackle holding you back. Doesn’t sound fun but you can learn to live with it.

Photo by Hailey Kean on Unsplash

Today I decided to be brave. I’ve been debating for ages whether I wanted to write about my health drama. What will people think? Will they be horrible? Will this have an impact on my life?

Well, I’m taking the plunge anyway. I’m writing this for me: to have something I can go back to when I’m feeling like crap; to try and take away the stigma associated with having an invisible disability. But I’m also writing it for those who might be experiencing something similar. You are not alone.

So here goes nothing…

It all started in middle school

I started feeling pain in my left wrist every once in a while. Was it annoying? For sure. Was it debilitating? No. It just meant that sometimes I couldn’t be on dishes duty — which wasn’t that bad.

Fast forward a few years. I’m in high-school. The pain just keeps coming back and it’s making life hard. Handwriting becomes a painful process. The pain doesn’t limit itself to my wrist but goes up my arm. I still can manage but I’m popping pain killers like there’s no tomorrow when the pain becomes crazy.

The years pass and things just get worse. I need extra time during exams, I need to use a laptop, I need rest breaks. I’m at uni and my mom comes up to visit me for a week at times because the pain feels like someone is repeatedly stabbing me in my arm and so my arm becomes useless. It means I can’t write my weekly essays and I literally spend the days in bed hoping and wishing and praying that this pain goes away so I can get on to do stuff.

At some point it gets so bad that I know exactly when I wake up if it’s going to be a bad arm day. It’s going to take me ten times longer to get ready. And the pain now starts from my neck and goes down to my left arm. Awesome.

So what is it really like to live with chronic pain/illness.

1. Your mental health struggles

It’s easy to feel like a failure every time the pain becomes so intense you can’t think of anything else. You’re constantly looking…

Asta Diabaté

Sharing my two cents about tech, biz & sometimes policy. Oxford & Sciences Po Paris Alumna