As my regular (lovely) readers know, I’ve been feeling pretty atrocious since the weekend.
I genuinely don’t like grumbling about it & feel horrendously guilty for doing so. I try my hardest to stay as positive as I can, because I fully understand the psychology behind pain; the more frustrated I become, the more my body manifests that tension and the more it hurts. I know that the calmer I stay, the better it is for my body…and have consequently become a devoted believer in meditation, relaxation techniques, and the power of positive thinking. And its not mumbo-jumbo. They really do work – most of the time.
However, no matter how strong-minded you are, or try to be, its an intense struggle to keep this focus when you’re curled up in a ball for 3 days, unable to find a position that’s comfortable. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed when you’re vomiting from the drugs, trying desperately not to cry and scream from the pain that invades your body and sends itself shooting through your back, neck, head, arms and shoulders. At these times, I really do find it tough not to think “why me?“
I know I didn’t do anything to deserve this. OK, I’ll admit I’m no saint…but I’ve never hurt anyone, been malicious, vicious or unkind – so karma shouldn’t be out to get me. I worked hard. I paid taxes. I’m good to my Nan, I look after my friends, I’ve never been cruel to animals. I try hard to be the best person I can be.
So it doesn’t seem all that fair that Mr Hit & Run chose that particular car to steal and little old me to drive in to. It doesn’t seem right that he ran away unharmed, and left me there, broken, shattered, and half the person I used to be. And it definitely doesn’t seem OK that nearly six years on, I’m still hurting, with an ever growing list of failed procedures and no quick fix in sight.
And that’s just it. It isn’t fair. But it’s real, it happened. And what matters now is the way I deal with it when it gets this bad.
Which is where my wise and wonderful trauma therapist comes in.
There are many reasons I nearly didn’t make it to today’s appointment; I’m in severe pain – I knew the journey would exhaust me, I knew I was feeling emotional, I knew I’d cry.
I hate crying.
And yep. All of the above happened. But as always, it was worth the tiredness and a few tear-soaked tissues. I came away feeling so much stronger, more confident. Just…well…better.
You see, she reminded me that it’s OK to get upset. When you’re in pain, it hurts, you get sad – that’s natural. But what matters is how you handle the pain, and the emotion that goes with it.
I always thought I had to fight. I woke up every day ready to do battle…I’d be fighting to get through – fighting to feel better, fighting the pain trying to force it into submission…but I was wrong. She explained how fighting makes everything worse. The more you fight it – the more it fights back. Fighting never makes you feel calm and serene, it makes you tense, angry, frustrated – all of those negative, nasty things that feed the pain and make it fight back even stronger. Fighting takes energy – and that’s one thing I have very little of.
Instead, she showed me a new coping strategy that makes so much more sense to me – acceptance. Learning to accept things doesn’t make me weak. Acceptance will help me save that energy I was using to fight those losing battles for something worthwhile, something I enjoy. I need to learn to accept that I’m going to hurt at times – not try to change it. Accept that I will have bad days, but I will have good days too…and that I may not be able to do all of the things I used to be great at, but I’ll find new things, and be bloody brilliant at those instead. And of course, accept that it’s not going to be easy. By accepting it – I can stop being overwhelmed with the negative thoughts that feed the pain, and turn my life into something better.
This doesn’t mean that I just “give up”. I’m not about to wallow in my pain, or think it’s never going to get better. I just need to learn to acknowledge it, accept that it’s there and then try to think about something else – something more pleasurable.
So I’m off to make lists of all the good things in my life. I have so much to make me smile, to keep me motivated, that when things start to go bad I just have to look around and be reminded that even though I can’t beat the pain……
……There’s no chance of it beating me either.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”