One of my old classmates got stung by a hornet. There was a picture and it looked really bad: very red, very swollen, and painful.
He posted a picture at our high school group page, writing "Sure can not compare this to Carol's pain..."
I appreciated the nod, especially since people there had been mad at me because my posts from here automatically post at that site. (In a way it is appropriate, it is my status update after all) One person wrote he felt bad for me but seeing the posts and reading about my pain was getting "old". (I reminded them they could delete it and not read it, reading it was a choice.) It was a kindness to acknowledge my experience.
It reminded me of the other side of having chronic pain, the other side of "I don't believe you".
I know people, and I am sure I am not alone in this, who preface everything they say about how they feel with, "I know this is not as bad as your pain". Granted a cold, or a cut finger does not rise to the level of trigeminal neuralgia or CRPS, etc. but when it happens to you it is the worst pain, at least for the moment when and while it is happening, and for as long as the pain and discomfort lasts.
It is a strange road to travel.
People tend to be with chronic pain like they are with their political party, one side or the other. It is okay to accept the level of pain in which most who have chronic intractable pain live with, we revel in those that understand and believe; who do not argue with the truth of it. And most of us are not breakable china dolls. You can have pain from an injury, the bite of an animal or a bug, or feel miserable from a horrid cold or allergies. You can tell us how truly awful you feel without feeling saying so negates our pain.
We want you to understand us. We also want you to know we understand and feel your pain, no matter what it is from or how long it may last.
And to my schoolmate - feel better real soon.