(...it would be something else. -Elizabethtown)
Life is funny.
Just as I find myself tackling, and I mean really tackling, and coming to terms with a painful experience in my past it comes back to test me in more ways than one.
In the perfectly timed way that only the randomness of life can deliver, my (very) new-found resolve to accept my shortcomings and try and build positive and more optimistic responses to what life throws at me is being challenged.
An old injury has flared up and coping with the physical pain of it is not fun.
Coping with the memories it stirs up and the further impact this stress response has on the way my body interprets and handles the pain now is probably equally hard.
It’s sometimes difficult for me to tell the difference between these two challenges - perhaps it’s something people who have also experienced chronic pain can understand.
Even two weeks ago, when prompted I would have waxed lyrical about how my pain is worse than yours, how everything is harder for me and in effect how I should be entitled to some kind of special treatment. However, I now believe this not to be the case at all and I can see how this attitude has left me stuck in my misery.
Everyone has their struggles and to each of us they are relative. Perhaps your pain is the worst you have ever dealt with. Similarly perhaps this is the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. It doesn’t make our experiences comparable in any way, however much I have needed them to be in the past.
I have been desperate for validation that I am somehow different, because my problems are worse than your problems. But it’s just not true. In believing it, I have lost some of my compassion for others in distress. Something I hope to regain as I reframe my own experiences.
I read recently that the brain doesn’t know the difference between physical and emotional pain - the stress response is very similar. So to anyone in pain today, whether in body, mind or spirit please know that I understand and that if you are feeling isolated by that pain these feelings are something you can work on - they don’t need to cause you more pain.
I want to write more about how I have come to this conclusion as I have some good books and ideas to recommend, but for now perhaps that is enough.