I had not seen this ad in a while. I had hoped the company decided to stop running it. But here it was again, over and over during the last couple of days.
The first time I commented on the ad was when I wrote a discussion topic for my women in pain awareness site. (www.womeninpainawareness.ning.com).
It was in December and the thought occurred to me that there was a connection between Santa and chronic pain. After all, Santa is (spoiler alert) not real yet we believe in him or at least act as if we do, if only for the sake of children.
Meanwhile chronic pain is real and yet we often act as if it is not.
I have written before about this disconnect between the reality of chronic pain and the lack of belief. In fact that is what prompted my creation of the women in pain awareness group. I was astounded when I first learned that women, even more than men, tended not to be believed when they complained of chronic pain. I honestly thought it was only me. I assumed I just had a really bad run of luck with my doctors and family.
When I first started with my pain it was 1979. Chronic pain had not yet become an industry. As clinics and specialties popped up, psychologists started to specialize in chronic pain, and pharmaceutical companies found there was money to be made in drugs targeted at those with chronic pain belief was still not catching up.
It has been 3 decades since my tic started. People are able now to at least talk about chronic pain. Celebrities discuss their own struggles, famous and not famous alike write books about it. Doctors are less inclined to pat a patient on the head and dismiss their complaint of constant pain. And yet...
The woman comes on the screen. I have migraines, she tells us and "These things are for real." It is 2011. Must we still defend the reality of the pain?