When I think about why I stopped posting for awhile, I know it is because my brain has had space to think about things other than pain.
Pain of any kind can bring on a narrow inward focus. I don’t mean this in a bad way. Yes, this focus can turn into an unhealthy self-pity and selfishness. But more so, this is often a necessary means of coping and getting through the day. Sometimes there’s just not enough mental space to think about anything other than what is absolutely necessary.
But, lately I have had less pain. And with it, I am finding that not only am I able to do more with my body, but I am also able to do more with my mind. This is not a surprise; it is more of a pleasant recognition. I know that long-term pain affects me and so many other people cognitively. So much thought has to be put into everyday tasks. And so much emotional energy is invested in working through the pain.
And then when there is a break, it’s like a whole world opens up inside of my mind.
There are so many things I still can’t do physically. I still struggle to walk more than short distances without significant consequences. I have to be extremely careful about how much I am up and about during the day. And for the most part, I have to be careful to not sit for more than half the day. But, even as these physical limitations continue, I feel as though the limitations that pain put on my mind are lifted. And this is the most wonderful feeling.
I’m reading, and enjoying it so much. I’m writing, and I have the space in my brain to write about topics other than chronic pain. The pain isn’t consuming me, so I’m thinking about things I haven’t thought about for so long. Things that have always been important to me, but got pushed to the wayside.
And as this space has opened up, I’ve needed time away from analyzing and constantly thinking about my health. I realize this is privilege. I didn’t have this privilege before, and so many of you reading this don’t have this privilege now. Sometimes it’s not an option to stop thinking about those things.
But while I can, I am seeing this space as a gift.
I’m shifting much of my writing to a new blog. It’s my counseling blog, and it will still have posts on chronic pain, but also thoughts about mental health, counseling, and what I happen to be reading and learning in the moment. I still plan to come back here occasionally and share on a more personal level. But for now, if you want to follow along, I hope you will check out my writing over there