Pain Can Be Something More and Better Than Just Pain

English: Vladimir Bystrov. 2006 Russian Premie...

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Self-Care Tip #181 – Look for help if your pain never becomes something more than pain.  Be a friend to yourself.

Glee is back!  I’m so glad because it makes great work-out distraction.  Good music, drama, beautiful people, and wonderful ah-ha concepts like,

Use your pain and loneliness to inspire you to make something beautiful.

Can’t remember it verbatim though and I noticed after an hour surfing the web for Mercedes quotes (and getting detoured to all sorts of other fun stuff for grazing) that whoever writes these quotes up didn’t find this one worth it.

Joni Eareckson Tada on the Larry King Show said that when she thanked God for her paralysis, she began to be productive through what paralysis offered.

It is however sometimes impossible to take what hurts and let it fuel our fires.  Sometimes it’s just a cold lump of coal.  Sometimes, we aren’t adaptable.

Luckily we aren’t sitting in a cave during the ice-age and can trust that a bear won’t come and eat us when we are wounded.  But there are other predators.  In my line of work, I could call disease process a preying force.  It takes over more and more cells, space, grey matter, consuming bits of our identity and changing our ability to cope with stress.

It’s easy for people to say, “Turn your pain into energy for creativity,” as if it were a volitional option for you like it was a choice for them.  Or we call it bits of morality; maybe a fourth of an inch on the rim of our gold crown we get in heaven.  Those of us who care about that crown look at our shoes, apologize and promise to try harder.

It is not easy to explain these apologies and inactivity to someone who has never been immobilized by mental illness.  Even those of us who have experienced it first hand have a hard time remembering the real texture of what we went through once it is passed.  Illness can be so awful that even our subconscious shudders when turned back to remember.  It is no wonder that we find it difficult to explain.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way.  If we aren’t able to adapt, aren’t elastic and sit stunned in the presence of pain, immobile to the newness that it can offer – recognize this as a flag to turn towards medical help.

Question:  What was/is your story when you weren’t able to adapt well to stress?  When you didn’t adapt well, what helped/helps you hope for more?  How did you find it?  Please tell me your story.

13 thoughts on “Pain Can Be Something More and Better Than Just Pain

  1. Happy Valentines Day! I experienced a mixture of emotions as I read tonights post and thought for a moment that the mom-mobile was going to be traded in for a nice new Mercedes. Never watched Glee… hence the confusion. Also… you should probably not trust bears just because we are not in the ice age. One time…. Squidward did not believe in Sea Bears and he had big problems.

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  3. If you don’t know you are being ridden by the horse of mental illness you are doomed. But if you have just the beginning of insight to the dynamic of how your particular milieu operates, you can become proactive in your recovery. That is why I think it is wise to seek the help of a mental health provider. Without shame. All living things from the cellular level to the thinking human being have a self destruct mechanism and a survival mechanism. I try to activate my survival programing. Sometimes being plain old stubborn in combating our devils works too. Stubborn worked if I could not adapt. Adaptation my not be an alternative. Unfortunately some survive and some are crushed.

  4. When I was so stunned that I was unable to adapt, I quite literally was unable – to do anything. The only thing I remember sitting at the bottom of the basement stairs in semi-darkness wishing God would find me. I’ve heard so many times that when you are as far down as you can get, that’s when you find God. Not me. And He had been my only hope all of my life. The only thing that helped was to allow others help me by getting me to the right (even if often they were wrong!) doctors, psychopharmachologists, therapists, etc., and that was proof positive that I was as low and stunned as I could get because I used to be a leader, not a follower, and the co-decision-maker as our kids were growing up. To give up control wasn’t something I did easily. “Stubborn”, as Carl says. However, I got help, crawled back up the stairs, discovered that God hadn’t gone anywhere, and somehow made it through the darkness…and, no, I don’t remember, now, how bad it was (and my husband says that’s a good thing). The down side is that I still haven’t been able to find the leader, controller, whatever who was me before and, this late in my life, I wonder if I ever will.

    This one hit me hard, obviously, but having re-read what Sana wrote – and then what I have – I realized that the one good thing that came out of my darkness was that I, for the first time in my life, have had the opportunity to actually be the artist I always wanted to be, so my pain and loneliness did inspire me to make something beautiful.

  5. Pain can be immobilizing and those in the midst are often unaware of their immoblilization. Hindsight is 20/20 – I can see and understand so much more after the fact! I did get your comment on my blog…unfortunately it was in my spam folder and when I clicked it I pushed the wrong button because it disappeared! I’ve done that more than once to comments in the spam, not sure why some of it goes there in the first place and then some really odd stuff makes it past the censors, go figure!

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