Never ending pain


About 40 percent of children in the United States live with a chronic health condition. This can vary from Asthma and ADHD, to Diabetes or to much more serious conditions. 

The day to day for an individual with chronic pain/illness can be immensely difficult. Commonly, such individuals live in a state of constant pain. 

I happen to be one of those individuals. 

Getting through the day with chronic pain is no easy task for me, especially as a high school student. 

As a teenager, I am already susceptible to massive amounts of stress and anxiety. Opposing a chronic health condition only heightens my daily issues with the expected functions of a student. 

I am not the only student suffering. Sophomore Avery Praxl has her own experience living with a chronic illness. She has the rare genetic disorder of Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which affects most any soft tissue within her body. 

“I am extremely limited in what I can do. I am in pain every single day, all day in some area. It makes it very hard to do things such as going to the store, going out to eat, participating in school activities, etc,” Praxl said.

School attendance and participation are highly affected by chronic illness. The pressures from class while dealing with the limit of chronic health conditions create an abundance of stress on the affected students. 

This is my junior year, as such, it is the most crucial and demanding year of my high school career. I have chronic migraines, and I feel less than because of it. From the moment I wake up to the moment, I finally give in to sleep, I am in pain. I wake up with my head throbbing in pain. My head constantly feels like it’s being struck with a strenuous force, the pain subsides for little dips of time, then ramps back up again. 

The brain is what controls the body. To have it constantly being strained against due to my pain, noises, smells and lights are very difficult for me. Common chit-chat in the classroom, a teacher talking loudly, chaotic noises of the hallway or an unchecked classroom all cause my pain to increase. 

All of the pain becomes unbearably overwhelming. Every day I want to give in to my torment and cuddle up in bed with an ice pack. Due to my constant affliction being within my head, the rest of my body ends up aching. I become completely exhausted no matter the amount of sleep I get. 

It is frustrating to never find a solution. I see a neurologist and psychiatrist. Neither of them can help with a definitive idea of what will happen. I take medicine every morning and every night, this is my third prescription, still, it aids insufficiently. 

Due to everything, I am constantly behind. Every day is a fight, yet I try to show up to school as much as possible. I am disappointed in myself for the amount of school I miss and that my work is never up to my standards. It’s hard for me to accept a B or C when I know I can do better given different circumstances. 

It is easy to give up and stay in bed every day. Showing up and working hard is unyielding, but it results in me feeling more accomplished. It would be less painful to stay home in bed all day, but giving up is more detrimental to the mind than migraines. 

This can similarly be true for Praxl, as the school day is quite the challenge for her.

“When I write, my hands ache and freeze, and shake. Walking around the school building is also really hard. There are a lot of stairs, and I have classes on both levels, so my knees ache a lot and so do my ankles. I’ve subluxed my knees going up and down the stairs so many times I can’t even count. Sometimes I can’t even make it to school or through the whole day,” Praxl said. 

Fortunately, there is a document offered to students at any educational level that aids students with chronic health problems or a student with learning and developmental disorders. 

The accommodations that 504 plans outline are necessary for the success of students such as Praxl and myself. Often enough, we struggle from the pain that is uncontrollable. 

Sometimes I have to accept that getting out of bed in the morning will be my biggest achievement. I try my best to show up to school and put forth my best effort every day. Yet, that frequently extends what I am capable of.

 It disheartens me when I can’t make it through the day, but I have to be proud of even trying. I value my education and time at school, without my 504, I wouldn’t have the understanding from my teachers that I need.