Please before you pass judgement on anyone's quality of life, stop and think. Don't just claim "I couldn't cope", as I really think you could. Pain, like many other trials in life, can be beaten. It can be medically treated and psychologically mastered, with help, and so we need to have a sensible debate on quality of life before we go any further down a road that may be very hard to come back from.
Really?! The joy of being misunderstood? Yes, bare with me for a second and just keep reading. Misunderstandings can be like sharing your home with a stranger: awkward, uncomfortable and frustrating. Even worse, when the stranger is supposed to be your best friend, parent or partner, and the intimate space is your relationship. No joy yet.
Today the Supreme court ruled against right to die campaigners Paul Lamb and Jane Nicklinson in their latest attempt to change the current laws on assisted suicide, and I must admit I am relieved. I know that might sound heartless, and there are many voices who cry about their suffering and choice, but a recent stay in hospital made me realise that there is a wider issue behind the assisted suicide debate.
I would like to dedicate this article to a good friend who is battling Parkinson's and will hopefully be undergoing surgery soon. May you have a speedy recovery, resulting in an improved quality of life. This article is for you - one of the many unknown heroes, whose private story goes unsung but who inspires me with your bravery, insightful words of wisdom, a great sense of humour and wit.
Escaping pain never works. You can try, but there will always be a time when you are left alone in the abyss of your thoughts and the pain will re-surface. Drugs, sex, alcohol.. they are perfect engines for your own escape, but eventually they will become your consistent means of running away from what is actually hurting you.
As I approach my fifth day without sleep I must admit I am finding the thought of battling my way through until bed time a daunting concept. You may notice I use words like fighting, battling and defences. I do so as when you are in the grip of very high levels of pain you really feel like you are at war.
What might be the basis for not accepting second class health? Perhaps because its as innate to our spiritual sense to feel health is natural as it is politically to demand equal rights. "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties," mused Swiss poet and philosopher Henri Frédéric Amiele.
How do you feel when you get out of bed each morning? In great shape and ready to face the day or do you have an underlying niggle, a pain you've never been able to address? Unfortunately, for many of us it is the latter. What do you tend to do about it? If your answer is nothing, then you are one of many people who are ignoring regular pain.
It's World Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) Day on Saturday 4 May. Whilst advanced AS can cause fusion in the neck, spine and sometimes other areas and hence a change in posture, it can often be invisible. Not many people know much about AS, despite the fact that it is not a rare condition. It also is a form of arthritis that affects young people.