According to the Oxford Dictionary, the number one meaning for the word pain is “Highly unpleasant physical sensation caused by illness or injury.” For those of us who battle with chronic pain, we can totally relate. Whether our pain is caused by an illness or injury, chronic pain is all-consuming. It is ever-present, admittedly in varying degrees, but it is always there. Since my car accident, I truly now understand the concept of relentless physical pain.
I am discovering that the injuries I have suffered, are so much more than physical. There are days when my mind and emotions are a mess. Today is a perfect example. Let me just try and unscramble my thoughts and feelings here. To share them in the hope that there is somebody out there that can relate….
My mother innocently made a comment at the weekend, about what was I going to do with my life and when would I be going back to work. This sent my mind into overdrive. Over the next couple of days, these thoughts swirled around my head. Last night, I tossed and turned whilst trying to sleep. This morning, I woke with a thumping headache, a pounding chest, and a stomach that resembled a washing machine, swirling away!!
Feelings of uncertainty caved in on me. The tears came and I told my husband how I was so confused and scared. I feel caged and not sure of which direction to go. It’s tough trying to create a future for myself. I have been using this enforced time at home to teach myself new things. Always trying to determine how I can use my experiences to reach out and empower others. Some days it is all so clear but then on others, the future terrifies me.
Every morning, my husband messages me when he gets to work. He tells me that he loves me and today he told me “to hang in there and to try not to get down again.” Bang, here we go again another wave of emotions and feelings surfaces. This time, it’s feelings of guilt!!
Guilt has been a fairly constant companion for these past 2 years. The overwhelming feeling is that because of me, there is added pressure on my husband. Financially, my family is struggling and life has changed.
Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!!!! This accident has changed everything!!
I HAVE to trust that all will work out for the best but today, all I feel is that I must be some sort of freak. Why couldn’t I have been like any normal person and had my whiplash injuries heal in a few weeks? Why does it feel as though my whole life has been plagued by pain? It is hard not to feel as though I am being punished by karma – maybe I was some wicked witch in another life.
As I sit here now, the feelings keep coming in waves. Guilt rises, closely followed by feeling useless. I feel worthless and irrelevant. What I am really struggling with is the conflict going on within me. The frustration of feeling like a victim and the annoyance in knowing that I should be able to shake myself out of this – but the truth is I am lost.
I am hurting and crying out, but for what??
For somebody to come along and wave a magic wand, making it all better. Well, I am not so far removed from reality to believe that is going to happen. Maybe, I can pray for a miracle that this nightmare will come to an end quickly so that I can draw a line and my family can return to some sense of normality. Heaven knows I have already tried that one several times. I truly wish for some kind of life-changing revelation that will make my direction clear and light my path just waiting for me to follow. Does that ever really happen?
The physical pain hasn’t miraculously done one but today, the emotional pain is heightened to extreme levels. Although I feel desperately alone, I know that I am not. I know that there are millions of warriors dealing with this crap every day. Dealing with constant physical pain which manifests on so many levels. It is bloody exhausting and drains us to the point that we just want to curl up and feel like giving in.
Unless you are dealing with chronic pain, it is difficult for anybody to truly understand how it screws with our feelings and emotions. Each of our experiences is different even though we may be battling the same condition. We are unique and so too is our capacity to deal with relentless pain and the emotions that arise as a result.
As we deal with physical pain, it is even more important that we acknowledge our emotional and mental pain. If we are not in the right headspace, then dealing with everything else, including the physical pain is near on impossible.
Whilst it can be therapeutic to indulge these feelings of “why me” for short periods, realistically indulging the victim will ultimately prove detrimental to both mental and physical health. We have to create our own go-to “wellness toolbox.” Whatever you include in your toolbox is down to you but it needs to be jampacked full of feel-good stuff guaranteed to make you smile and bring peace back to your being.
A favorite movie or music playlist. How about a book with inspirational quotes or check out the internet for positive affirmations. Head over to YouTube and find yourself a meditation that really resonates with you. Treat yourself in a way that makes you feel good. How about a manicure or a bar of chocolate? Just something simple that shows a little bit of self-love to yourself. Practice some self-care by doing things such as having a long, hot soak in the bath using essential oils. Take a walk in nature or just spend time sitting in the garden. Write your feelings down in a journal, offload them in words and then close the book. Practice gratitude. Look around and give thanks for all the good things in your life, they are there – I promise. Get creative! Just using our talents for painting or drawing is really therapeutic and gives you the opportunity to get out of your own head and just be. Check out my article on “The Art of Happiness and how these practices are proven to be beneficial to our health.
Navigating chronic pain is a relentless journey of highs and lows. On some days, there is very little light at the end of the tunnel. Our life is dictated by how our body will respond on any given day. Whether or not we will be affected by our triggers. However, the one sure thing that we can count on is that if our emotional state is in a bad way, this will most certainly manifest into physical pain. If our body is holding stress and tension, this will ultimately mean another battle with our physical being.
Self-love, self-care, and self-compassion is not a selfish pastime, ultimately it is a practice of self-preservation.
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