Posted by: Jenny | March 31, 2013

Respect

I came across this article on WikiHow that I thought would be helpful to those who live with, work with, know or love someone with chronic pain:

http://www.wikihow.com/Understand-Someone-With-Chronic-Pain

I reposted it to Facebook, thinking how helpful it might be to people in my life who are either sick of my ailments, sick of someone else’s ailments, or just sick of complainers in general.

What I didn’t expect was how helpful it would be for me, a chronic sufferer.

In my mind, I try to separate myself from the forces causing me pain. I do this in the belief that if I don’t, I become the ailment, the injury, the agent of pain. That by being Jenny Plus Pain, instead of Jenny In Pain, I’m making a statement to myself and the world that I am impervious to any real impact that pain can inflict.

But when I read this article, I cried. I realized I damaged my own spirit by denying what was happening to me. In my effort to be strong, I did not embrace the gift of weakness. I disrespected the message.

Your body speaks to you constantly, sending you signals, big and small, reporting to the CEO what all the minions are working on, challenges they face, issues that need to be addressed and fixed.

Ok, that makes sense. You wouldn’t want the CEO to ignore what management is reporting about the corporation unless it’s A+ super-great news, right? You want them to know the full story, the good and the bad, so that the problems can be fixed, or at the very least, minimized.

Humans receive data about the corporal operations, and if you deny the problem, the challenge, the weakness, you deny yourself the opportunity to change, grow, become better.

Which is why, maybe, I was touched to the core by this article. Number five on the list of ways to help the chronic pain sufferer is “Understand and respect the chronic pain sufferer’s physical limitations”. As I read that, I realized that I do not respect my own limitations. I viewed physical limitations, my limitations, as something to ignore. I pushed past the pain, ignored the pain, until I was literally unable to take another step.

I realized that I had trained those around me to also disregard my own pain, because I did.

This shift in my thought process has been gradual, but it’s happening. Rather than become immersed in drama, as I had feared, I find myself with bigger feelings of hope than I had before. However, the flip side is the acknowledgement of how really sucky it is when the body falls apart.

I was waking up the other morning, reviewing the doctor’s appointments I had in the past 2 weeks and the upcoming appointments and tests, all for different issues, and was sickened by the betrayal of my middle-aged body. I laid there and thought to myself, why bother? What’s the point? This is too hard, and maybe I’m just done.

It was a momentary slip into the dark thoughts of death, but a slip nonetheless. And almost immediately, I thought about how getting results, even bad ones, means answers, and answers lead to brain-storming, and brain-storming leads to resolution.

I doubt anyone escapes this life pain-free. The weakness is not in experiencing and acknowledging the pain. It’s in the denial.

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