(Or rather, its elimination.)
It's the first thing there when I open my eyes, the last thing I try to push out of my brain as I lay there pleading for sleep to take me out, and my constant companion throughout each and every day.
After 5 years of dealing with a chronic right hip/sciatic/SI joint condition, I'm no stranger to pain. But right around Christmas I hurt my back, and have now been dealing with muscle spasms and left hip pain on top of the "usual" pain I've grown accustomed to living with.
Most people would never know that I'm dealing with it on a daily basis. You know those life-sucking vultures who latch onto every ear they can find and whine about every ache and pain? Or the giant babies who become incapacitated by a mere headache?
Well, I can't stand them, and I have no desire to join their ranks. There are a lot of people out there suffering quietly and doing their best to cope, rather than exploiting their ailments for attention and sympathy. By no means is either category of person braver, more valiant, or superior to the other....I just don't see the point in complaining.
But this post isn't about those people, and it isn't really about my problem, either. It's about figuring out how to hold onto some tiny shred of hope when you're in the trenches with it.
When there's nothing there but you and the pain. When you can't escape it, because it IS you.
When you've tried it all, and exhausted the treatment options, and still it remains...what's next?
When every step forward is followed by two steps back, where do you look for hope?
When you're the one you can't fix...what then?
I've had my moments here lately. Moments when I just can't see it. Moments when I just want to give up, regress into the emotional fetal position, and dissolve into self-pity and helplessness.
Waking up in the middle of the night in pain and bawling for an hour straight.
Crying at my physical therapist's office.
It wasn't so much that one setback after weeks of gradual improvement; it was one more setback. One more setback on top of the hundred others. The ups, the downs, the times when you think you're finally on your way to getting better, only to wind up back where you started. It gets that much harder each and every time you have to drag yourself back up to fight another fight.
I should be a fucking professional at this by now. After all the days and weeks and years where I thought about killing myself every single blessed day, I should have the answer to pain.
But as my friend Therese at The Unlost reminds us,
"All of life, it seems,So I'm trying my best to remember how to keep getting up out of bed, and keep looking for ways to cope, and keep not giving up. Because I don't get a choice. No one asked me if I wanted this pain. It just is. And I have to work with it, and breathe with it, and lie with it, and if it never gets better, maybe even die with it.
is a process:
A process of un-learning and re-learning,
forgetting and remembering,
slumbering and waking up,
Since I can't escape from it, shouldn't I have stopped trying to by now?
Whether the pain you're dealing with is physical or emotional, there is really only one thing to do: sit with it.
"And so you sit with that feeling; you let it in. As much as you can bear it, you let it be. For a moment it encompasses you like you feared it would...but still you let it stay, even when every fiber of your being wants to run like hell...
And although the feeling is still there, it becomes smaller, less encompassing, less real. And you start to realize that it's not so life-ending, after all."