The Color of Pain

I find the numerical pain scale limiting.  I don’t like numbers much anyways and I am an artist, so my pain scale is a rainbow.

Blue is very little to no pain, when I am blue I know I can go on a short hike, I can plan something for around dinner time and I might not have to cancel before then, I can even get in the car and go visit a friend an hour away.

Green is constant discomfort, with all shades of green I can smile, and focus on the positive, and ignore the pain,

Yellow can be bordering on physically miserable, but still perfectly functional, if I am yellow I will keep dinner plans, I can have coffee on impulse with a friend, I can sell ice cream at my son’s school, I can cover a class for a coworker in need.

Any color of orange set off alarms, if I am orange I know I can still get through work, but it won’t be fun so I make sure to take my meds and get as much rest before hand as possible.  Orange means I will not do any unnecessary driving. Orange means someone else takes care of dinner. I am learning to ask for help when I hit orange, I am learning its perfectly ok to veg in front of the tv or computer or lay down for hours on end when I am orange. My mind goes a bit wonky when I am orange.  I might ask someone to please get me my purse from the fridge, or I might forget I am suppose to be someplace, so I try to write every thing down ahead of time. Sometimes I am quiet or withdrawn.

Red.  Red is rare.  I try never to claim red unless I am fire engine red.  Burnt orange or even flame red don’t count. When I am solid Red I can’t really function.  I can’t hold a conversation.  If you talk to me I won’t remember what we spoke about.  When I am red I might blindly watch toddler tv, or sometimes just lay there and whimper.  Red doesn’t ever feel like living.

There are whole spectrums of colors between…sage green and maybe I would love to go camping, tangerine and I will cancel any unnecessary meetings, and even mixes such as today I am ocean blue with spikes of tangerine.  I couldn’t answer what number my pain just didn’t make sense to me.  But I can always tell you what color I am.



Filed under Health, Pain, PsA, Psoriatic Arthritis

12 responses to “The Color of Pain

  1. Your description of pain really resonates. During Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with a Pain Pyschologist I was taught during an exercise to view my pain as many things but it was when colour was suggested that my brain made a real positive connection. I also use colour when meditating. Thank you for your post, loved reading it!
    Health & Happiness

  2. Reblogged this on chronicpainsurvivor and commented:
    A wonderful poem written by Living with PSArthritis about the Colour of Pain…

  3. I have’nt defined my colors as well as you but orange is a bad sign for me too. Red means I’m in bed and leave me alone unless you’re bringing me an ice pack. I do have more shades of orange than of red, which I guess is good. Green is being in a calm, less painful place for me. I think you and I have the same yellow, but I don’t think about yellow as often. Green, red and orange are what come to mind. Anything not in those categories is just a number for me, I think.

  4. Like a mood ring! I love it.

  5. Hello Again, you’re description of pain using colour really made an impact on me. I would like to nominate you for the Sunshine Blogging Award. It seems like a very worthy award and you certainly added sunshine to my day by sharing your blog. To read more about the Sunshine Award please go to th following link :

    Health & Happiness

  6. Pingback: Sunshine Award « Connective Tissue Disorders: My Journey

  7. This is perfectly written. That’s basically how I think of my pain on a scale as well and you nailed the colors spot-on. I really like your blog and your honesty and have nominated you for the Sunshine Award.
    Just as I’m writing this I see that you also received a nomination from the same person who nominated me! 🙂 Well deserved! You’re both incredible bloggers.

  8. Explained in plain English and brilliantly done! Thank you for sharing:)

  9. Love your blog, Aunt Tink.

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