We all feel pain in one way or another. It's a basic survival mechanism of being human. It signals danger. It tells us something is wrong.
But what happens when pain persists longer than expected? What happens when the signal is no longer serving us and actually causing us harm? What happens then...
We can let the fear of pain overwhelm us or we can stand in the face of pain.
Facing my pain, understanding it, learning from it, and building a relationship with it has been paramount in my journey towards recovery.
When I started to recognise the role of pain as my protector I was able to start letting go of the resistance and fear towards it. If you were to humanise your pain, it could easily be seen as an overprotective parent trying their best to protect you from harm.
It is this perspective change that opens the door to healing.
Have you ever thought about what your pain would say if you could let it speak? What questions would you ask it? What questions would it have for you? These are great reflection activities for you to improve your relationship with pain.
Our pain has the ability to show us exactly what is wrong. It reveals our biggest fears and the emotions that we are not willing to feel. Chronic and persistent pain is the a culmination of our whole self telling us that something is wrong. If we don't listen, the message will only get louder i.e. the pain will get worse.
What does it mean to listen to your pain you may ask?
It means that you are willing to work with your pain. Learning to respond to pain appropriately. This may mean different things to different people. For example dealing with emotions that arise due to pain, managing your activity levels and exercise, using mindfulness and yoga practices are just some of the ways to respond to pain.
Over the course of my recovery, understanding and learning from pain allows me to respect its message, and challenges me to respond in ways that are helpful in my healing journey.
Working as a pain specialist who has a lived experience means that pain will always be my number one teacher. I hope you can treat it the same. With respect and understanding you can overcome.
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