It can be easy to focus only on all of the negative things when you’re in pain. And, I have to admit that my last two chronic pain posts were pretty heavy. I guess they reflected where I was at in the moment that I wrote them. I have to admit I’d been seized by a particularly tenacious pain flare, and I was feeling pretty grim with a side of hopeless.
Read about the 12 Negative Things My Chronic Pain Makes Me Feel.
I’ve come out of it now, and I thought the time was right to do something a little more positive.
I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fool anybody if I tried to pretend that having a chronic condition is all sugar and spice. But, that being said, it doesn’t mean that I can’t find some positives, if I take the time to look – the silver lining per se.
I’ve actually been reading a bit about gratitude recently, and exploring its potential for healing, and while I haven’t really settled on how I feel about its efficacy for reducing my pain experience, I do know that focusing on the positives can’t possibly hurt. And deep down, gratitude is really just a method for focusing on what’s positive in your life.
So, here are 8 POSITIVE things that I feel despite my chronic pain:
While I would never even try to pretend that I’m grateful for my chronic condition, and the pain that comes with it, that doesn’t mean I can’t find things related to my condition that I’m grateful for.
I’m grateful that I have a loving family that puts up with me even when I’m not at my best. When I’m angry for no reason other than that the pain has taken away all my patience, and I’ve lost my ability to cope, they give me hugs, kisses, cuddles and gentle words.
I’m also grateful for the moments when I feel truly alive. Sometimes, when I’m feeling depressed, the pain reminds me that I’m alive and have my whole life still ahead of me to do amazing things with.
I’m grateful that my condition isn’t worse, because, believe me, it could be MUCH worse – only takes one google search to know that for a fact.
I have an amazing husband who has stood by me through multiple bad times (I have an anxiety disorder too, just to make things more complicated), and he absolutely refuses to believe that I won’t get better, even when I’m so mired in doubt that I can’t see any hope – he keeps hope alive for both of us.
I’m also thankful for the friends that have stayed in my life. I have a friend who always calls me immediately when I text her wondering if she’d been just sitting around hoping that she could talk to a friend in tears. She stays with me until my tears subside, and my smile returns.
Saying I feel strong might seem like a bit of a contraction if you read my post about all the negative things that my pain makes me feel (insert link). It’s true that most of the time the pain makes me feel weak. I get focused on all the things that I can’t do. I think about all the times when I succumbed to the pain and lay curled up in the dark. But then the pain passes. After a difficult pain flare, there are a few moments when I’m able to appreciate the strength it takes for me to persevere.
Even though sometimes I have to rest, I’m still parenting my children, working, exercising, volunteering, and pursuing my dreams – all this with ever-present, almost full body pain. No easy feat.
Being in constant pain, sometimes makes the days start to feel all the same; they kind of gray together, linked by that pain. But then something surprising happens, and I’m reminded that there is colour in life.
Almost daily, I’m surprised by random acts of caring – especially from my children. Just this week I had retreated to my bed to try and reset my sensory overload. Shortly after I lay down, I heard the door creak open. I inwardly groaned. Couldn’t my kids give me just five minutes? I just needed five minutes.
My son didn’t wake me though. Instead, he placed something on my bed and then sneaked back out. I peered over my sleep mask to find a teddy bear dressed in my son’s shirt. Later, my son asked me if I had found the teddy bear, and he informed me that he’d put his shirt on his teddy so that I would feel like I was cuddling with him. What a sweetheart.
My pain doesn’t make me feel happy. Rather, it tries to suck the fun out of every thing that I do. But, despite the pain, I’m happy.
I find that the subject of hope is another apparent contradiction in my experience with chronic pain. A good portion of the time I feel hopeless. But, it turns out despite hopeful being the complete opposite of hopeless, I still feel it too. I might be feeling hopeless because it feels like my world is crashing down around me, and I’m powerless to stop it, but at the same time, I’m hopeful that tomorrow will be different, that tomorrow something will work, and I’ll be able to stop my life from sliding backwards towards the abyss.Turns out that hopeless and its opposite, hopeful, aren’t mutually exclusive after all… Click To Tweet
I’m lucky in my life. I have a supportive family. I have a good home in a good neighborhood. Our household income is at a level where we are more than comfortable. I get to pursue my interests and my passions without having to worry about money.
I have many times lamented: “Why can’t I be like everyone else? Why do I always feel so terrible?” And, of course, I don’t mean that I want to be a cookie cutter image of everyone around me. I still want to be a unique individual. But, I want to be able to greet life each day with a smile, some energy, and no pain, just like everyone else.
I’m fully aware that pretty much every one is suffering in some way. There aren’t many people who just skip through life with a constant smile, but sometimes, when I look around through my pain-goggles, that’s how it looks.
It’s not like I didn’t know that there were many others dealing with similar issues, but getting involved in the chronic pain community has given me a new awareness. I recognize that I’m not some isolated castaway – there are many like me; which, of course, means that despite my limitations, I’m normal.
It’s normal to cry.
It’s normal to be angry.
It’s normal to want something more out of my life.
It’s normal to struggle.
Statements that I believe hold true for pretty much anyone who reads them no matter what their situation.
THE TAKE AWAY MESSAGE:
Living with chronic pain is brutally hard. It’s easy, really easy, to get pulled into the darkness of negative emotions. Pretty much everything is negative, if you just look at the surface.
Taking a few moments and delving deeper, searching for that silver lining, is an exercise that might just lift the darkness enough to let the light come flooding in.
Hopefully, by sharing my ‘positives,’ I’ve given you some threads to follow to find some positives of your own. You don’t have to be in chronic pain to need the occasional reminder of the things that make life worth living. We all do.
I would love to hear about the positive feelings you feel amidst you daily struggle – you can share them in the comments below.
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