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