It is the holiday season. Commericals and advertisements everywhere. Give. Give a gift. Give. Make a donation. Give. Of your time.
What about us, those in chronic intractable pain? I think we have a different give agenda and history.
The first two 'gives' are almost antithetical; to give in or to give up.
I decide, for me, to read or write, even this post. The pain gets really bad. Do I give up? Stop what I am doing? Get so angry/depressed that I decide no more blog. No more books, It is not even worth the try anymore. The pain is my life.
For those with body pain - do I not get out of bed, tie my shoes, make lunch, for many who are still able to work, resign or quit? Ohhh. Resign. That is a perfect word.
Give up. The pain is stronger then I am. Resign to the fate of the pain.
I do not have to.
I could give in instead. Surrender to the needs of the pain. Take the medication(s). Accept the sensations of narcotic. Stop all activity. Rest. My body, or for me, my eye. Let it be my life. Until I have recuperated enough to start up again. That does not always feel good. It helps the pain but still feels a surrender, a capitulation. Captivity to the pain.
And then the third 'Give".
Give myself the freedom to accept the pain as a part of my life, but not my life.
Give myself permission to do what I need to to incorporate the reality of pain into my day, into my life.
Give myself the pat on the back. "I can do it."
It is funny. So many people in pain tell me stories about friends, colleagues, family, mocking their pain, disbelieving it, refusing to hear the cry of "I can't" or "Help me."
In my own life and in theirs, it is rare, sometimes never, to hear the positive "Good for you. You succeed in having a life in spite of pain. You soldier on and do what you need to to not let the pain take you down." So few, if ever, "I am proud of you, of the fight you make to get through each day, of doing what you need to do to live."
This is my give to you.
I am proud of you. You put so much effort into living with the pain and getting past it so that you have a life. You agree to try things that most people would not agree to in order to try and help or even stop the pain. Your fight, our fight, is a hard one, one that those who fall into a chair and moan when the hammer hits their thumb, could never imagine.
Give. To yourself. All of the kudos and back pats, those that have not come and those that you have not given yourself. You deserve it.