Dealing with Pain

I have decided to write about the process of dealing with pain this week because that is all I can think about at present.  I have chronic sustained pain as a result of diabetic neuropathy.  Sometimes the pain is so intense that I cannot function at all.  I don’t like to be in pain and neither does anyone else whether it is short term, long term, spasmodic, acute or just plain annoying.  Yet, it is a fact of  life that at some point everyone will have to deal with it.  My pain is debilitating and has affected every aspect of my life from the inability to work,  to sleep or even to focus or think without the interference of pain.  I often feel as though my entire life now is revolving around my level of pain.  As time has gone on, I have learned several things that help me deal with pain but I am the first to admit that it is a new challenge each day and I succeed better on some days than others and many times I fail miserably.

Naturally, one of the first measures for dealing with pain is the use of medications.  I have always hated taking medications even for colds or headaches.  In fact, when first seeing a Doctor for my illness I was adamant that I wanted natural cures and vitamins.  I, like so many others, feared becoming addicted to pain medications.  Even assurances  from Doctors that the medications, if taken properly, would not be habit forming left me with very little confidence.  Unfortunately, as time progressed and my pain levels increased, I found myself taking more and more medications. 

I remember breaking my ankle a couple of years ago and was given morphine over the course of a week.  That is the first time in years that I have been pain free.  I can remember thinking as I felt the effects of the morphine go down one arm into my leg and then the other, I can actually think clearly.  Of course, I couldn’t, as I was high on morphine but the shock to me was how fuzzy my brain was from all the pain.  I have chosen not to take any more pain medications than I have to in order to continue living.  I believe that over the years, I have built up a high tolerance for pain and prefer not to take drugs unless absolutely needed.

Besides the pain, you also have to deal with all sorts of other things such as fear, anxiety and depression, feelings you are alone in the world with your pain and having no one you can discuss it with.  All of these are big obstacles and interfere with your ability to handle the pain.  I have several techniques that I use, either consciously or unconsciously to help me deal with the pain and want to share these with you.  They may seem somewhat simplistic in nature but I have found that they help me.  Try them and let me know if they help or maybe you have some others that work for you.

  1. Focus your attention on something else or someone else and their needs:   Forcing  one’s self to concentrate on something else, such as writing this blog,  fixing lunch, or  anything that you can use to distract yourself from the pain helps you get outside your circle of pain.  Often, thinking about others and their needs, helps you to forget about the intensity of the pain.  Yes, it is still there, but the level of pain becomes less.
  2. Try to find meaning outside the pain:  No one wants pain to run their lives and to be the center of their lives.  But pain has a way of having a life of it’s own.  There are many things you can still do that have meaning to others and bring joy to you.  Find new activities that you can do and find joy in doing them.  I am preaching to myself on this one.  As we become less and less active and more and more sedantarywe begin to do less and less.  It becomes a vicious circle.  You have to be innovative and creative and find some areas that you can still do.  I know how easy it is to say, that requires too much effort and I don’t have it to give.  It’s up to you to find the things you can do and put meaning into them.
  3. Refuse to become angry and difficult:  I fight this everyday of my life and sometimes I do alright and other times, I just don’t.  We become easily angered and frustrated and this only intensifies the pain.  We don’t feel like anyone understands us and go out of their way to upset us.  The truth is that dealing with pain is difficult and frustrating and we take this out on those who are closest to us.  Sometimes just talking is difficult and our family thinks we are angry with them when we are in too much pain to cope.  Honestly, sometimes I have to send myself to my room and shut myself away until I can control my tongue and become fit company.   
  4. Stay involved:  Stay in contact with your family and friends as much as possible.  I have found myself becoming more and more of a shut-in.  Keep in touch through the phone, personal contact, letters and using the computer.  I like this method for me because I have such trouble focusing that I can take my time and write down my thoughts and it takes less energy. 
  5. Make yourself responsible for your own cure:  I think it helps to search out natural cures for your own disease and try them (of course, with Dr’s knowledge and permission).  Don’t give up on a cure for you.  Keep hope alive.  Actively involve yourself with your course of treatment.  It is so easy to give up and accept the fact that you have this condition and pain.  It’s like a circle that surrounds you and you can’t get outside the circle.  That circle of pain and disease can be broken.  I believe this with all my heart for me and for you.  It is so important for you to believe this and believe it strongly every day.
  6. Get up every morning:    I just want to cover my head up and forget the world exists outside my circle of pain.  I want to give in to it, I want to surrender and say, here I am and here I will stay.  Well DON’T.  Make a committment to yourself to ALWAYS GET UP AND START THE DAY AFRESH.  It is a new day with new hope and with new joy awaiting your arrival on the scene.  Today is a day full of memories awaiting.  A day full of possibilities.  Don’t allow pain to consume your possibilities.
  7. Pray:  I don’t know what you have faith in but I believe in God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit.  Sometimes, no matter what techniques I try to use, the pain is just beyond me.  So I cry out to my maker, my God to help me.  Often, I can feel an unexplainable presence fill my soul with joy.   This helps me to get ouside my circle of pain and be thankful for the positive things in my life., i.e., family, friends, even life itself.  It is a precious gift from God.

I hope some of these techniques for dealing with pain may be of some help to you.  Let me know.  I desire your comments.

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One Response to “Dealing with Pain”

  1. dorharbin Says:

    Look forward to future blogs… I’m just sorry you have this burden to carry around.

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