She could distract herself. Pushing distressing thoughts from her mind. Run away. Hide her head in the sand. Anesthetize and delude herself… with food, shopping, manic exercise, alcohol, and cigarettes. And anything else she could find to dampen any feelings that sprung up.
She could squash and numb the pain with powerful drugs. She could stick her head under the duvet and pretend the world didn’t exist. If all else failed, she could ignore the pain – for a little while, at least.
She felt like the little boy with his finger in the dam. As soon as she plugged one leak, then the pain broke through somewhere else.
But it got progressively harder and harder and harder… Every mole hill became a mountain. She was going through life staring at her feet. Each step more difficult than the last. The world passing her by.
At the end of every day she was totally exhausted. No energy left to do anything for herself. Not even a minute to breath.
She felt as if she was drowning. Using every drop of energy she had in her to just stay afloat. Suffocating herself with all the effort to subdue the pain.
But all this came at a cost: the rest of her life.
She discovered that in ignoring, suppressing and trying to wall off the pain she had also isolated herself from all that is wonderful and precious about life.
The world became increasingly wane and grey. It became darker and darker and darker. She was never hungry. Food lost its flavor, its excitement and its texture.
She no longer laughed or cried. She lost touch with her heart and with passion and desire. Her love life declined into irrelevance.
Her life became one long battle for survival… Survival that she wasn’t even sure she wanted anymore.
All this meant that when she could no longer maintain the struggle, she simply crashed and burned. So not only did the pain return, every time worse than before, but, with all of the things that normally sustained her love of life having evaporated, she was left feeling fragile, burnt out, and broken….
To be continued.
Adapted from and inspired by Mindfulness for Health: a practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing - Vidyamala Burch and Danny Penman
- Laugh it off! (noonegetsflowersforchronicpain.wordpress.com)
- Exercise Reduces Stress (healthylifestylesuccess.com)
- Bringing you Down (noonegetsflowersforchronicpain.wordpress.com)
- The Most Important Question You Can Ask Yourself Today (huffingtonpost.com)
- Pain in infancy alters response to stress, anxiety later in life (sciencedaily.com)