How do you feel towards your chronic pain?
I started thinking about this today, and I realized that despite the strong and harsh things we feel towards our pain, we don’t often talk about it. It’s not something we often say out loud.
Here is the thing. Typically I am so focused on figuring out how to move forward in the midst of my pain, that I don’t stop and think about how I feel towards the pain.
And how do I feel towards it? Quite frankly, I hate it. I detest chronic pain. Chronic pain makes me want to scream and throw things across the room. Chronic pain has taken so many of my dreams I want to sucker punch it in the mouth. I hate chronic pain.
Because, yes I can work towards acceptance, yes I can see the pieces good in my life that surround the pain, and yes I can believe and trust that God is sovereign and in control of my chronic pain and have peace in that.
But none of those things change the fact that chronic pain is something that I hate. For some reason this seems important to say out loud and put into the universe, because so few people say this out loud. As horrible as chronic pain is, I don’t often hear people say that they hate it.
It is so easy to become ultra-focused on moving forward and living our lives in spite of the pain. In our search for new lives and our desires to make the best of our situation, we don’t always take the time to say out loud that chronic pain is horrible, and it ruins lives.
Chronic pain destroys marriages and families and friendships. Chronic pain leaves people destitute and alone. Chronic pain wrecks careers, dreams, and opportunities. Chronic pain is a destructive force that does as it pleases, and so often we have no hope of stopping it.
All of this is true. And it is also true that sometimes we need to push this truth to the side. We have to move forward with a healthy level of denial that we are going to be ok, that we are going to make it, that there is hope for us ahead. Maybe even relief! We have to hope and think in this way, or we won’t survive.
But every once and awhile I think we need to go step back and speak the truth out loud. Every once and awhile, we need to set aside our acceptance, set aside our plans to beat our pain, and set aside those positive things we tell ourselves that enable us to move forward.
Maybe we need to take the time to scream into a pillow that chronic pain sucks. We need to say aloud to our friends and family members that we hate this chronic pain, it is no good. We need to think really hard how we feel towards our chronic pain and speak it or write it or create art about it.
And then, after a moment, we move on and put the pain to the side again and reach for that acceptance again. Find that hope. Make those plans. And keep moving forward.
How do you feel towards your chronic pain? What has it taken from you and how has that affected you? If chronic pain was a person sitting in the chair across from you, what would you say?