This pinch sets up my next two pinches.
I am now open about my pain with my family, friends, colleagues and even people I’ve just met. This is not how I was for most of the time I’ve had chronic pain.
For a long time the way I handled my pain was to tell myself that I couldn’t process what was happening now, I would “deal with it later”.
I deliberately haven’t used the word “managed” as looking back, I don’t think I was managing my pain at all.
I imagined my pain was a ball that I could isolate and put aside, out of sight, to be “dealt with later”. I did this for years. I started “dealing” with my pain this way in school when I had pain from my jaw, knee, and hands.
I continued this in university and in the rest of my daily life.
It was exhausting and not very effective.
Shutting myself off from pain started to extend to my emotions too (the next pinch).
Hiding my pain meant asking for help was hard. I hated asking for help for two reasons. It meant feeling like a burden (the pinch after next) and it meant bringing the pain into sight and feeling it.
This combination was often overwhelming. As I never brought the pain up to myself or to others, I was alone with the thoughts of feeling like a burden and terrified of how bad the pain could get.
I’m going to skip ahead now to end this pinch on what opening myself up to my pain has meant.
I realise now that although my pain is not who I am, it has shaped who I am. I like who I am so that’s not a bad thing.
I have found that the more open I am about how I feel about my pain, the more open I can be with other people; and the deeper relationships I have.
Everyone has something difficult in their lives, often more than one thing.
It took me a long time to stop hiding my pain. I still by default don’t want to talk about how I’m feeling when the pain is bad.
When I do talk about my pain, I feel a relief. It takes a lot of energy to hide my pain and I’m not hiding what shapes me from people who care about me.