Mind Over Matter/Pain – Part 1

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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 general. 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 go as far as admitting to offending people in the past 😬 and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll do it again in the future.

Now without being a show-off, I have an extremely high pain threshold when it comes to pain and pain levels, but because of this tolerance (that I’ve been so-called ‘blessed’ with) I’ve also had to be psychologically tested 😀

This testing came about not long 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 thought was a good thing, and each time they asked me if I needed anymore ? I would tell them the truth of still having plenty left.

BUT – because of this stupid pain tolerance, a meeting was then organised and I found myself having to listen to the medical ‘experts’ explaining the kind of surgery I’d just had, and the growing concerns as they knew how high my pain levels would of been.

Ahh FFS! πŸ™„

I tried to tell them that I was coping with my ‘normal’ mind over matter strategy (because I actually was) but they wouldn’t accept my word for it, and the psychology process began.

My so-called ‘abnormally high pain threshold’ had been noticed before the surgery, but apparently it was now entering into an ‘unusual and non-typical’ territory???

Seriously!?!

What a fkn joke! 🀬

So now I had to keep an (honest) pain diary for a week, which I frign despised doing, and based on what I’d written in it was why the decision was made for the psychological testing.

My hourly/daily pain scores out of 10 were never over a 5 or 6, and when they were peaking at a 5/6 – I wasn’t taking pain meds, and would just zap a heat pack in the microwave.

Anyways I won’t go into all of the long, boring and mundane details, but the following is what I learnt about myself from that pain level saga bullshit >

  • 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’ll talk about another time)
πŸ’ͺπŸ˜‚πŸ’ͺ

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.

Actually that’s a lie as it’s not exactly the same way I’ve always handled it.

The slight difference now? 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?

Too easy, lemon bloody squeezy! πŸ‹

Am I trying to be a hero? No, 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 ever asked for.

Is it something I feel with anyone who takes pain medication? Yes and no.

It 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 – no problem with it. If my Mum takes anti-inflammatory’s for her painful arthritic knee – no problem with it. If my sister takes a Tramadol for her crappy bursitis – still no problem with it, and if anything – I actually 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 give up trying, just 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 everyone has a high pain threshold (which is more than OK) but to obsess over pain, without even attempting to push past it, is a weakness to me that I just 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 really have to know where to draw the line.

I’m 100% guilty and will go through an occasional ‘feeling sorry for myself’ phase, but the #1 rule is to only allow it for a short period of time before I start snapping myself out of it.

Truth!

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, given the opportunity, people would line up for days to gladly swap their medical issues for ours. Why? Because our so-called ‘daily hell’ 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 do have, and yes it’s also very 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 actually 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 will continue to chit-chat about it more at a later date.

I will end this rant though with a simple > ‘maybe’

Maybe if people would stop thinking about themselves for a moment and imagine what it would be like in the shoes of someone who’s suffering is incomprehensible, then maybe – just maybe, they’d appreciate and enjoy their lives just that little bit more?

Hugs / Peace Out! Essie ❣