There are a large number of people dealing with chronic pain, myself included, and I think people who don't deal with it don't always understand what it's really like, so I'm going to try to put into words some of the things I deal with and some of the things I've heard and read from others.
When you're dealing with chronic pain, life becomes something like a jigsaw puzzle, with the pieces of the puzzle being different aspects of your life, and as the pain takes over, you can visually see the different pieces of your life puzzle disappearing. For example, my little one will ask me to pick her up, but I know if I do, it will hurt...and a piece of my life disappears.
As the pain increases for anyone dealing with chronic pain, more things disappear from their lives, more puzzle pieces vanish, and you can never be sure if you'll get them back. Eventually, the pain begins to effect everything and everyone in your life. It begins to effect your relationships with your family, friends, co-workers, and even people you don't know, because the pain drains your energy and will often leave you angry and depressed. Again, more and more pieces of the puzzle that is your life are gone, and sometimes there's no way of getting those pieces back.
As the pieces slowly disappear from your life, you're eventually left with only one puzzle piece, and the only thing that piece says is pain, and it says it in large bold letters. The pain takes over your life and dominates everything. It's at this point that many sufferers take the final way out, and if non-sufferers realized what they were going through, they might understand why they take this option. It's not cowardice that causes people to take this option, but when personal strength is one of the puzzle pieces that disappears, sometimes this seems like the only option. If you know you still have twenty, thirty, or forty years to live, and you know you'll suffer every day of those years, sometimes it seems like the option...but hopefully people that feel this way, can find something to hold on to.
For myself, I'm now to a point where a four hour shift leaves me almost doubled over in pain, and even sitting up at the computer for a couple of hours leaves me almost debilitated, but there is still hope. We'll have new insurance in May and I can get back on the meds that work. Granted, I can't stay on meds forever, but we also have a surgeon that we'll be meeting with, and hopefully he can fix things, and maybe I can pick my little girl up again, and I can be the person I was before pain become one of the few pieces left in the puzzle of my life.