How Honest Should We Be With Our Loved Ones About Our Pain?
Vent, vent vent… complain, complain, complain… this is how I feel. I feel like every day I say the same damn thing. It goes something like this…
“I am not feeling well.”
“I am exhausted.”
“I am in a lot of pain.”
“That food was so good!” … and an hour later… “That food made me really sick.”
“I don’t have the energy for that.”
“My legs aren’t working” … “My hands are killing me” … “I have a migraine” …
I can go on and on and literally on! I know a lot of you folks out there feel like every time you describe to your family or those closest to you how you are feeling, it’s like a broken record. Should we lie? If I don’t tell the truth, people assume that I’m feeling perfectly fine and then expectations change. The truth of the matter is, just as quickly as I forget what pain feels like, others forget what me in pain looks like. And honestly… is there ever a moment in the day when you don’t feel any pain? For me, the answer is an adamant “No!” So if I go with my baseline pain level and call that “fine” and then just speak to my worse-than-baseline symptoms, is that better? And better for who? Me? My family?
What prompted all this? Well… I’m not sure. I think it’s because I have been in a flare for months now. I’m not sure how long because at the beginning of this calendar year I, for no rhyme or reason, stopped using my calendar. I had a calendar last year that I wrote all my health stuff in… this year I just haven’t had the energy. I’m not even sure it’s a lack of energy thing as much as it is I got tired of thinking about everything. I’ll be honest… I’m kind of a mess right now. But, as I was saying, I feel like I’ve been flaring for months. I don’t recall being in a flare for this long in years. It’s just not calming down.
So, is it a burden for my family and friends to carry if I am honest about how I am feeling or is it a burden for me to keep the truth to myself? What’s the balance and where do you draw the line? I’ll tell you what. I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling like sh*t. I’m tired of being depressed. I’m tired of never being able to say, “I feel great!” I’m just flippin’ tired.
And now that I have vented and complained, what the hell am I going to do about it? Um, can this be one of those days where I just vent and complain? Do we get those days? I think if you talked to my husband he’d tell you I definitely have those days… but that’s not what I want to do with you folks out there who have chosen to read my blog. We all have these sh*tty days, but to just vent and complain brings everyone down, including ourselves. How do you get out of the pit of pain and depression?
I believe you have to be kind to yourself. Acknowledge that you will have bad days and today is one of them. Tomorrow is a new day. It’s a new opportunity to have a less painful day. A less down day… one that could be a happy day. It sounds strange, but in our world of chronic pain, pain and happy go together. You cannot let the pain take your happiness away. If you don’t allow yourself to be happy while in pain… the alternative is not a life worth living.
Yesterday was a pain and happy day. I was having some issues walking, but I was determined. I couldn’t let that ruin our family day. We started the morning out playing soccer with my exercise ball in our bedroom (don’t tell the kids) – I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time (let’s just say we were almost in the market for a new TV), followed by an awesome breakfast the kids made and then we all piled in the car and spent the day together. A day which included walking… which was extremely painful. In this instance I was not about to let the pain get in the way of everyone’s happiness, and just as important, mine. We had a beautiful day I managed with pain meds, laughter, joy and a lot of positive self-talk. A pain and happy day.
So back to my question… how honest should we be? Maybe I will try another approach. Maybe I’ll use the baseline approach and if I’m feeling my normal pain, I’ll say, “I’m doing good!” I might even try to start saying, “I’m doing great!” If I’m feeling worse than normal, I can just say “It’s not a great day.”
Our lives are not predictable. The only thing we know for sure is that there is going to be pain and we are going to be uncomfortable. We are going to have days when we want to scream and shout, stomp our feet (although that would cause more pain) and cry. But after I realize my life could be a lot worse and that I am surrounded by the best family and friends anyone could ask for, I realize how blessed I am. Today may be hard… but there’s always tomorrow.
This blog was originally published on My Foggy Brain.