One of the most amazing people in my life, someone who is nothing short of a hero to me, is suffering from chronic pain. He is someone who has fought and WON many battles in his life, but pain has the better of him right now. He had neck surgery a few years back, and the pain has come back with a vengeance.
We have been chatting back and forth because we share a common ground right now. We are both using some of the same medications, and although our pain might be stemming from different causes we understand each other. The other day as we were speaking we both agreed that sometimes when you are hurting it is easy to feel useless.
It got me thinking. Don’t we ALL feel like that from time to time? It makes me chuckle when I start a new medication, and I get a print-out from the pharmacy with the potential side-effects that the drug may induce. “If you are having feelings of worthlessness or despair please contact your Doctor immediately”. Well I sure don’t NEED a medication to do that for me, when some days the pain alone makes me feel that way! Does that mean the medication is going to compound those feelings?!?
I think the struggle with Chronic pain is that it doesn’t just change your lifestyle, it COMPLETELY changes it! There are so many things in life that we have no control over, but most people take pride in at least controlling their behavior, reactions, and their thoughts. At least MOST people have control over that much in their life…… Until they face excruciating pain, day in and day out, with no relief. Very quickly the suffering takes on a life of its own, and it then can control everything you say and do. It is all-encompassing.
As we were having this conversation something popped into my head.
PAIN IS WHAT YOU FEEL
NOT WHO YOU ARE!!
It is easy for me to say that, when I will be the first to admit that I struggle with differentiating the two some days. It has been a constant struggle for me to try to separate ME from my PAIN. It really isn’t easy. When how you feel invades every single thing you do, the two get tangled up into one big mess. It is like having to untangle a ball of yarn with hundreds of knots. Slowly and methodically the only way to separate the two – one knot at a time.
We aren’t our burdens. We aren’t defined by the amount of medication we take, or how fast we move, or how long we can stay upright. We would never judge other people with the criteria we use to judge ourselves. And in the moments that we feel discouraged, fed up and like we have no purpose on this earth, we HAVE to remind ourselves of something………
We STILL are able to love
We STILL are able to hold someone’s hand or
brush the hair off of someone’s face.
We STILL can share our experiences
in hopes that they might help someone else.
We HAVEN’T forgotten how to laugh,
it is just we don’t have much to laugh about some days.
Our ears are not broken,
we can still listen….
Our heating pads, ice packs, canes, pills, tensor bandages, braces……
They don’t define who we are.
A businessman isn’t defined by his briefcase,
and an artist isn’t defined by what pencil he uses.
Those are only THINGS…..
So today, if you can’t get out of bed, or you can’t do the extra load of laundry,
If you can’t sit at your desk for as long as you’d like,
or you just can’t get the vacuum out because it hurts too much,
it doesn’t mean you are useless in the least!
You are NOT defined by how much you vacuum! (And thank GOD for that!!)
WE haven’t LOST the ability to be US.
How ever you may feel today, whatever you are doing, be GENTLE with yourself, and know that you are so much more than your limitations.