July 30, 2023 – Chronic pain has been my daily companion for more than half my life. 

It started at age 14, and the pain still thrives 16 years later. Within a few months, I could no longer remember what it felt to not be in pain. 

A constant ache lived in my lower back, my joints stung with the slightest movement, and stabbing pains shot through every limb, rib and vertebrae up to 100 times a day. It interfered with everything from sleep and food to studying and socializing. I sleep-walked through daily life, unable to escape chronic pain’s grasp.

I also experienced extreme chronic fatigue, chronic insomnia, and my mental health plummeted. “Outside of the pain itself, the main effects of long-term chronic pain on the body include fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, reduced mobility, depression, and anxiety,” added Dr Crystal Wyllie, an online doctor for ASDA and general practitioner. 

Clueless about the source, a doctor prescribed codeine, promising it would alleviate the worst of the pain. I could refill the prescription anytime I liked. I developed a reliance on drugs and could not survive a day without dosing myself with codeine or tramadol.