“We may be in pain, but we are strong” – My Take by Dr Anubha Mahajan, Founder, Chronic Pain India
A pain warrior, Dr Anubha Mahajan was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS) in 2015. Her experiences played an important role in her decision to found the organisation Chronic Pain India, which reaches out to people coping with chronic pain and their caregivers around India.
Circa June 2015, I was diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). After years of wrong diagnosis and a plethora of tests, this felt like a huge sense of relief.
But the battle was hardly won, instead, it had just begun.
My journey through pain made me go through many harsh realities as I witnessed how doctors treated chronically ill patients. I was blessed in a way, given the fact that being a doctor, it wasn’t difficult for me to understand my illness. But, for a person who is not from a medical background, that wouldn’t have been the case. It made me realise how much awareness was still needed in this field.
It wasn’t until I came across this lady in my gym that I understood the gravity of the whole issue. Having heard about my battle with chronic pain through someone, she came to meet me one day outside the gym. After suffering with Fibromyalgia alone for years she had finally been diagnosed. With almost no support from family, she was lonely and confused. Coming across another pain sufferer, gave me a feeling of relief and content. I no longer felt alone. We exchanged numbers in a rush and promised to stay in touch.
Though I never heard back from her, this incident made me wonder how many people like me would be there in India. Fighting their personal struggles, mentally and physically, getting mocked and misunderstood over their suffering, they must be struggling on so many fronts. Despite it all, they were still fighting with their head held high, all alone. The loneliness of not being understood at home, the workplace, across hospitals can be draining. Still, there is no choice except moving ahead with life.
3 June 2017 was the day I first used the word, Chronic Pain India. It was a tough decision to make but I knew I wanted to do this. When you are living with a chronic pain condition or chronic illness for a long time your life takes a 360 degree turn. A plethora of changes enter your life, both personal and professional. You feel sad, vulnerable, lonely and neglected. All of this, starts affecting you mentally too. Through the medium of writing I want the voice of every pain sufferer in India to be heard across the world.
Chronic Pain India will be the voice for each and every person who is living with chronic pain or a chronic illness. We want these voices to be like a tiger’s roar, standing out and marking their territory to say:
“We won’t stop until we are heard, and things have changed for us. We have equal rights as every other Indian and deserve to be treated equally. We may be suffering by conditions that are not visible to naked eyes at times and are incurable but we certainly deserve better medical treatments and healthcare in India. We may be in pain, but are strong. We don’t want mercy or sympathy; we want to be understood.”