All of us in the chronic pain community on Twitter have seen it. The one hashtag we dread seeing above all others. #SuicideDue2Pain. Sometimes it comes up in discussion, but other times it means we’ve lost someone else. Another warrior. Another fighter. And it’s always heartbreaking.

Before you scoff at my labels, just listen for a minute. Chronic pain warriors fight our own bodies every minute of every day, often without enough medication. On top of that we deal with friends, family, doctors and the general public who almost all want to minimize our illness, pain and injuries. Who either don’t believe us at all, or don’t believe that it’s that bad. Or we just want attention.

We hear endlessly. “You should get outside, take a walk.” Or, “live a healthier lifestyle.” We’re told try this miracle cure, try that, try this other thing. I was actually told once to eat a lot of kale and take a massive poop. No lie. That was supposed to ‘reset’ my system and ‘cure’ everything. I have a spinal fusion and potentially MS. No. Kale will NOT fix that. Sorry, darlin’.

But what we do not hear often enough is “here, let me help you any way I can.” We don’t hear anyone asking what we need. We don’t hear anyone asking if we even just need to talk. We’re left to our own devices. Often in unbearable and untreated pain.

I can’t tell you the number of times that I have even seen suicide due to pain minimized or denied. Denied. It’s put off as withdrawal, or depression or justified some other way. Any excuse to not look at the real reason in the face. These anti-opioid zealots won’t spend any time with any of us that are in pain. They won’t watch us suffer. They won’t listen to us scream in agony. Because then? They would have to face what they have done.

Pain kills. In so many ways. Quickly, slowly, doesn’t matter. But untreated? It. Will. Kill.

If you are feeling suicidal PLEASE call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741. And remember YOU ARE NOT ALONE.