The perception of pain that goes in to pain tolerance has two major components;
1) the biological component, ie: a headache that activates pain receptors. 2) the brain’s perception of pain, ie: how much focus is spent paying attention to or ignoring it.
(this nutshell version of pain tolerance is thanks to Google)
Pain is actually a bit of a touchy subject with me because of my mindset when it comes to pain, and pain tolerances. In the undesired relationship I have with pain – I.will.never.let.pain.win.
I’ve yet to come across anyone that understands my attitude to pain and even though some people think I can be a little ‘mean’ at times – it is what it is. I’ll even admit to offending people in the past 😬 and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll do it again in the future.
I have an extremely high pain threshold when it comes to pain levels, but because of these pain level tolerances, that I’ve been so-called ‘blessed’ with, I’ve been psychologically tested.
The psychological testing came about after I’d had my spine surgery as the doctors knew something wasn’t quite right with the amount of pain killers I wasn’t taking. I never asked for pain prescription refills, which I actually thought was a good thing, and each time they asked if I needed anymore? I’d tell them that I still had plenty left.
Next thing I know I’m in the middle of a serious discussion, with them explaining the kind of surgery I’d just had – oh and a growing concern because they knew how high my pain levels would of been. I tried to tell them that I was coping well with my ‘normal’ mind over matter strategy – because I was!! – but they wouldn’t accept my word for it.
My so called ‘abnormally high pain threshold’ had already been noticed prior to the surgery, but was now apparently entering into ‘unusual and non-typical territory.’
Seriously!?! Pfft what a fkn joke!
So now I had to keep an (honest) pain diary for a week, which I despised doing, and based on what I had written was why the decision was made to have me psychologically tested. My hourly/daily pain scores out of 10 were never over a 5/6 and when they were peaking at a 5/6, I wasn’t taking any pain meds and would just zap a heat pack in the microwave.
Anyways I won’t get into all of the long, boring and mundane details, but what I learnt from that pain level saga bullshit was > I wasn’t insane, I wasn’t self-harming, all future pain scores out of 10 now had to be doubled, and last but not least – I had a love/hate relationship with pain medication – which I will talk about another time.
With all of that behind me, I carried on as usual – and still to this day, I handle the pain the same way I always have. The only difference now is I don’t bother giving pain scores anymore, and just tell who-ever it is at the time that I can’t answer as I don’t know?
Am I trying to be a hero? Not at all. It’s just how my brain is unfortunately programmed to deal with pain – for whatever reason? – and from also having an unwanted, and very narrow-minded attitude, when it comes to pain in general – which I never asked for!
Is it something I feel with everybody who takes pain medication? Yes and no.
It all depends on the circumstances at the time, but as a general and across the board answer – the ratio would be around 80% for no and 20% for yes.
80% NO > if my husband takes a couple of Panadol for a shitty sinus headache, I don’t have a problem with it. If my Mum takes anti-inflammatory’s for her painful arthritic knee, I don’t have a problem with it. If my sister takes a Tramadol for her crappy bursitis, I still don’t have a problem with it. If anything – I admire them and fully respect their decisions.
20% YES > People who continually wallow in their pain. People who constantly whinge about their pain. People who become self-obsessed with their pain. People who allow pain to take over their lives. People who take their pain out on others. People who continue to feel sorry for themselves because of the pain and – people who just give up trying because of their pain.
To the 20% (depending on the circumstances) > SNAP.THE.FUCK.OUT.OF.IT!
Does this make me an asshole? Yeah pretty much, but to be totally honest – I don’t give a shit.
Now don’t get me wrong as I can truly appreciate that not everybody has a high pain threshold, which is more than OK, but to consume yourself with the pain, without even attempting to try and push past it, is a major weakness that I have no time for.
I’m not saying that feeling sorry for yourself from time to time is a bad thing either as it’s human nature, and WE all do it, but you have to know where to draw the line.
I’m guilty of it and will go through an occasional ‘feeling sorry for myself’ phase, but the #1 rule is to only allow myself to do it for a short period of time before I snap myself out of it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that when it comes to pain, some people just give up way too easy when, in comparison, and I say this with NO disrespect, their pain levels are nothing compared to what others have to go through – and that includes mine.
I can 100% guarantee that, if given the opportunity, people would line up for days to gladly swap their medical issues for ours. Why? Because our so-called ‘daily hell’ that we have to live with is pretty much a walk in the park in comparison to what they have to go through 24/7.
It’s so easy for us to lose sight of the positives that we actually have, and yes it’s also easy to get caught up in the negatives of living with chronic pain/chronic illness, but at the end of the day, I think we should probably learn to be a little more grateful.
I still have so much to say (and vent about) when it comes to the touchy subject of pain, but I’ll wrap this blog post up for now and continue to chit-chat about it more at a later date.
I will end this rant though with a simple > ‘maybe’ …
Maybe if people could stop thinking about themselves for just a moment and imagine what it would be like in the shoes of someone who is suffering beyond comprehension, then maybe – just maybe, they’d appreciate and enjoy their lives just that little bit more?
Hugs / Peace Out! Essie ❣