Diabetic Neuropathy is No Joke

The pain in my feet really had me doubting if I can still do what I do

Johnny Silvercloud


Maybe, just maybe, sharing this measure of vulnerability may lift others up. Perhaps there’s power in speaking about my pain. Maybe this photo is me lifting myself up, giving myself a helping hand; self love. / Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud.

Been Out of It Lately

For those who follow me, y’all know I’m usually writing at least eleven articles a month. In the year 2023*, June, July, and August were abysmal in regards to my writing output. For those who follow me, apologies on my failure to produce.

The truth is this — I have diabetic neuropathy damage to my hands and feet.

Nerve pain is not like any other pain I’ve ever been through. It’s not like the muscular pain of working out or over-exertion. It’s not like physical contact pain, like being slapped or punched. It’s not like stepping barefoot on a Lego block. The pain is pure. It’s this pure pain that cannot ever be ignored. I have neuropathy damage pain in both hands and feet and for some reason, the right side has more pain than the left.

The pain can be throbbing all over, like sheet lightning. The pain can also be pointed, random, and stabbing, like chain lightning. I call those “stabs”.

It’s like phantom limb pain while you still got your limbs.

The hands? I can handle the pain in my hands; it’s the feet that’s the problem. You see, no one walks around in a handstand. One’s hands don’t have to suffer the effort of gravity and weight of your whole body; your feet do. So walking hurts. A lot. It’s debilitating.

And I hate it. At its height, I walk ridiculously slow, limping, hobbling around. It’s a sad look. Everyone asks what happened and what’s wrong. I’m not a liar, so I explain diabetic nerve damage. And I hate it.

I hate it because, as a military retiree, I’m so used to being near-perfectly able-bodied. I’m used to being the guy who hops in to protect people when random chaos strikes. I’m used to being, “combat-ready”. Now I look like the guy who needs the help.

The pain, without the proper measure of medication, not only effects you physically, but also psychologically. You get anxiety. You get depressed. You don’t feel like doing anything. You don’t feel like you measure up.

That neuropathy nerve pain shit makes you lazy.



Johnny Silvercloud

20 yr U.S. Army vet turned analytical street photographer who talks about power, protest, and politics. Do not defend racism or sexism when I’m in the room.