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Debbie Downer Gets Some Puppy Uppers

The title of this post shouldn’t suggest that I’m on (additional) antidepressants. As much as I love me some puppy uppers, I had a bit of an epiphany this past week at my most recent session with Alexis, my shrink/nutritionist.

First of all, the word “chronic,” as in “chronic pain.” Alexis has yelled at me for using the word “crippled” instead of “injured.” I’m having the same issue now with “chronic.” Chronic is a synonym for stagnant, continuous, endless. That word needs to be deleted from my lexicon.

Memorizing and subsequently forgetting words is how I spend my Saturday nights. (Courtesy photo)

Memorizing and subsequently forgetting words is how I spend my Saturday nights. (Courtesy photo)

Even if this healing process does seem stagnant, continuous, and endless, it is moving forward because my body is constantly changing. I gain weight, lose weight, get a gray hair (ohmyGodthatfinallyhappenedlastweek), pull the gray hair out, get a bruise, lose a bruise. My body is not in stasis. It is changing. I am changing. I will continue to change.

Secondly, my pain has affected the way I react to the world and how the world reacts to me. I hide inside of it because I’m afraid to go outside half the time. I fear being jostled in crowds, tripping on ice, falling to the ground, injuring myself further by interacting with a physical earth that has things in it that can hurt me.

Then I think, “Why should I go to this [party on a Friday night/walk in the woods/birthday party/trip to the Cape/jaunt to the moon] when I won’t be able to sit comfortably and will inevitably have to bag halfway through and flake out?”

As I said in a previous post, I am inherently negative.

"Not only am I depressed, but I've transformed into a middle-aged man." (Courtesy photo)

“Not only am I depressed, but I’ve also transformed into a middle-aged man.” (Courtesy photo)

Why should I always be negative? Why shouldn’t I try to go out with my friends, go on a walk, go to a party? Instead of preemptively psyching myself out, why can’t I just suck it up and participate in fun times?

Except why should I have to “suck it up” at all? Why can’t I change my frame of mind — my approach to life — and accept that I have pain, that it causes certain limitations, and that I am going to do as much as I can regardless? Positivity has been proven time and time again to have an effect on chronic pain. These people do it. So do these people.

I want to change my automatic reactions. Instead of the following transaction:

Random Person: “Hey, we were thinking of going out for drinks tonight. You should come with!”

Hmmm, I think. It’s 4 pm. I’d already planned my day out. I have just enough energy to get home, flop into my recliner, and turn on my heating pad. But I also haven’t seen these friends in a while. I’ve been a crappy friend.

Now, this conversation can take one of two roads. Here is my automatic reaction:

Me: “Aww, shucks. I’d really like to go out, but I’m feeling super terrible today. Rain check?”

PAUSE.

Instead of testing the water, I’d refused to even get near the edge.

"Nope. Looks awful. I'm just gonna sit out here and read." (Courtesy photo.)

“Nope. Looks awful. I’m just gonna sit out here and read.” (Courtesy photo)

I immediately assumed that if I went out with friends that I would be the Debbie Downer of the group, that I would sit in an uncomfortable chair, that the chair would cause me pain, and that I would make everyone else feel awkward when I inevitably had to leave early.

Inevitably? I do not know what’s inevitable. Maybe I’d feel okay if I went out. Maybe I’d even stay up late for once in my life. Maybe I wouldn’t need the entire weekend to recover.

So here’s what I would like the exchange to be:

Random Person: “Hey there! We’re going to a rad place that serves alcohol, you should come with!”

Me: “Vodka with friends sounds nice. What’s the plan?”

That’s what I want. End of story.

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3 Comments

  1. That makes you a fighter in my book. Getting pissed off with our pain can be a positive thing because it shows you havent given up. Still wanting those things…..to have those things, means you havent given up.
    I had a quick look at the links. And when people are permenantly upbeat, my mind thinks “hmmmm…..either this is a beautifully made up brave face or their chronic pain just isnt as painful”. Because I defy anyone to remain positive under the viciousness of some pain I have been through. It would mean they had no emotions, that they were pre-programmed robots.
    Sometimes it does you good to cry. Sometimes it does you the world of good to rant. Sometimes you can and will be positive. Thats because you are human.
    The worst thing we can do is give up. And in my experience you need some Rarrrrr.
    I just love the captions on your pictures btw 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear you on the relationship between words and feelings. Language has a huge impact on how people see themselves and the likelihood of improving. I know many practitioners who now refer to “persistent pain” rather than “chronic”. Could be a word for the lexicon that’s a bit lighter and perhaps feels less permanent?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just sometimes feel like my rants overtake my ability to feel better, like the more I rant, the angrier I get, and the more I hurt. Sometimes some RARRRR is good, though. 😉
    And I think the captions are my favorite part of writing the blog!

    Like

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