Pain is something we all have to deal with, but it is something thats different for everybody.
Some pain is emotional, some is psychological, and some is physical. Pain can be caused by an accident or some sort of trauma, and other pain can be caused by by disabilities or diseases. Some pain is dull, and some is sharp; some aches, and some is excruciating. Some heals with time and others doesn’t.
Pain can do funny things to our bodies. Pain has caused me to faint before, as if we are in pain for sustained periods of time, that can sometimes affect our hearts and blood pressure. Pain can, as a result, be very draining physically. It can also be quite draining emotionally, especially when there doesn’t appear to be any reprieve. I know firsthand how exhausted, and sad, and just generally over it pain can make us feel. I know how challenging it can be dealing with all the different sorts of pain.
I have always been against taking medications for pain. I know others don’t have any alternative, as their pain has become too severe. But, for me, I am trying to hold off as long as possible so that, when I do have to start taking medicines everyday, I knew I did everything I could to hold off as long as possible.
As a result of this, I have learned some valuable tactics for dealing with pain, and I thought they may be valuable for someone else to read. Because, whether it’s FOP or something else, chances are none of us will really, honestly, be able to get through life without experiencing some sort of pain. So we need to know how to cope. Also, pain can make us feel vulnerable. And if we don’t talk about it, that can make us feel even more vulnerable, as then we feel as if we’re dealing with it alone.
First and foremost, distraction is important, in whatever form you can manage. I know that pain can sometimes really take it out of you, so you won’t be able to distract yourself by going to the gym or even going for a stroll. But there are still ways to distract yourself. Send a message to someone you haven’t seen in awhile and have a bit of a chat – maybe organise a catch up for when you’re feeling better. If you like clothes, you might browse for something special to wear when you feel better, and then you can also distract yourself by organising whatever that event might be. Maybe listen to some of the recommendations from your friends and pick up a new, engaging TV show – and pick one that’s going to make you feel better. I recommend shows like Schitts’ Creek. Find a good crossword or sudoku app. Maybe you can even start a blog! The point is, even though you might b stuck in bed, doesn’t mean your mind has to be stuck.
Next thing – set yourself little goals. Accomplishing something, even something small, can be a great way to give your brain a nice, positive jolt to help balance out the negative impact pain can have. In my case, when my pain is more severe and I’m having to physically take it very easy, I set myself little physical goals – like one day I’m going to make it to the bathroom to brush my teeth, the next day make it into the kitchen to refill my water bottle, and so on. These aren’t really groundbreaking or major accomplishments, but having this progression of goals helps me feel like I’m getting somewhere, which in turn helps with the pain.
Another thing – be honest with yourself and where you’re at. Don’t push yourself. I know it can be hard to acknowledge and deal with sometimes, but I think it’s better to take it easier in the short term, if you are in serious pain, so that you can properly recover and also recover quicker. You might miss some things that you really want to do. But in the long term, you’ll benefit. The pain is sending your body signals, and it’s sending those signals for a reason. We need to listen to those signals and be more in tune for what condition our bodies are in. Sometimes they just need a proper rest.
Finally, find laughter, wherever you can. Again, doesn’t need to be “tears in your eyes” laughter – maybe something to make you chuckle or smirk just a little bit. But that smile sends a positive message to the rest of the world, and I think even to yourself. And this is a very important message. Finding even a small amount of positivity in the darkness means that, hopefully, the pain won’t become overwhelming.