Why do I hide my physical pain?

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Portrait of a young woman asking, 'Why do I hide physical pain?' as she gazes confidently into the camera, surrounded by the warmth of her home's natural light.

Why do I hide my physical pain? Unmasking the reasons behind concealing my suffering

The answer to "Why Do I Hide My Physical Pain?" lies in a complex interplay of societal expectations, fear of vulnerability, and the desire to avoid burdening others.

The temptation to hide my physical pain

As a woman living with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, the question of "Why Do I Hide My Physical Pain?" resonates deeply within me. For years, I found myself concealing my suffering, desperately trying to put on a brave face while silently battling excruciating, intolerable pain. It wasn't until I hit rock bottom, after being dismissed by doctors who failed to recognize the severity of my condition, that I began to understand the reasons behind my inclination to hide.

When the symptoms of fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis first emerged, I didn't fully grasp the impact they would have on my daily existence. The constant joint pain, debilitating chronic fatigue, and brain fog became my unwelcome companions, disrupting my ability to function and stealing my vitality. However, as I sought medical help and shared my experiences with healthcare professionals, I was met with skepticism and dismissive remarks.

"You're just stressed," they would say, or, "It's all in your head." Their inability to comprehend the invisible nature of my pain led me down a path of self-doubt and isolation. I began questioning the validity of my suffering, wondering if I was overreacting or perhaps even imagining it all. Faced with a medical system failing to recognize my pain's legitimacy, I felt compelled to hide it, to avoid being labeled as a hypochondriac or attention-seeker.

The burden of physical pain

The burden of physical pain is heavy, both physically and emotionally. It consumes your thoughts, distorts your perceptions, and saps away your energy. It's not something you can simply brush off or ignore. But society often teaches us to do just that—to hide our pain, to push through it, and to keep up appearances. It tells us that expressing pain is a sign of weakness, that we should grin and bear it. And as women, we are particularly susceptible to these societal expectations. Hiding your pain becomes a coping mechanism.

"Society often teaches us to do just that—to hide our physical pain, to push through it, and to keep up appearances."

There is an unspoken pressure on women to be strong, to hide physical pain, to take care of others, and to put their own needs last. We are conditioned to believe that our pain is inconsequential compared to the needs of those around us. So, we hide our physical pain, burying it beneath smiles and laughter to maintain the facade of being capable and selfless.

Moreover, there is a fear of being seen as a burden. We worry that by openly expressing our pain, we will inconvenience others or be met with indifference. The fear of rejection and the desire to avoid pity often make us suffer in silence. We become masters at masking our pain, perfecting the art of pretending everything is fine, even when our bodies are screaming in agony.

The power of sharing and seeking support

But hiding our physical pain does us a disservice. It isolates us, traps us in a cycle of suffering, and denies us the support and understanding we desperately need. It took me years to realize that I didn't have to bear this burden alone, that there were people out there who could help me navigate this challenging journey.

Through my own introspection and connecting with others who shared similar experiences, I discovered the power of sharing and seeking support. I found solace in online communities where individuals with chronic pain conditions provided empathy, advice, and a listening ear. Their validation and understanding were instrumental in breaking down the walls I had built around my pain.

Gradually, I began to open up to my loved ones about my physical pain, allowing them to see the raw and vulnerable parts of me. To my surprise, their response was one of compassion and unwavering support. I created space for authentic connection and genuine empathy by sharing my pain.

"Hiding our physical pain does us a disservice"

Seeking professional help from healthcare providers specializing in chronic pain management was another crucial step in my journey. Through persistence and advocating for myself, I finally found doctors who listened, believed me, and developed comprehensive treatment plans tailored to my needs. Their validation and expertise gave me the confidence to own my pain and to seek the help necessary for my well-being.

In conclusion, the answer to "Why Do I Hide My Physical Pain?" lies in a complex interplay of societal expectations, fear of vulnerability, and the desire to avoid burdening others. However, by acknowledging our pain, seeking support, and sharing our experiences, we can break free from the chains of isolation and find healing and connection. It's time to let go of the urge to hide and embrace the power of embracing our physical pain and reaching out for the support we deserve.

Article by
Alison Bell

Alison Bell, the author of "Why do I hide my physical pain," is a resilient 39-year-old writer with a literature degree, embraces life's challenges to fuel her passion for the written word. Divorced and remarried with two children and a beloved dog, she thrives despite chronic illness and mental health struggles. Alison's evocative writing explores resilience, love, and loss, inviting readers on an emotional journey. Through her vulnerability and introspection, she destigmatizes mental health, advocating for understanding. Her words touch hearts, inspire change, and offer hope, as she uses her voice to make a difference in the world, drawing strength from her own experiences to create profound connections with others.


"The answer to "Why Do I Hide My Physical Pain?" lies in a complex interplay of societal expectations, fear of vulnerability, and the desire to avoid burdening others." Alison Bell | ©Xavier Lorenzo/Adobe Stock