So I met with my pain psychologist for the first time today. I went into this appointment not knowing what exactly it is that she does. I thought she would be trying to teach me to “deal” with the pain. I deal with the pain, everyday! I thought she would try to teach me breathing techniques to cope and get through it. That’s something I learned how to do a long time ago. So I really went into her office thinking this would most likely be a waste of my time, but I’m willing to try everything.
She is going to help teach me ways to deal with the pain, using guided imagery and all that. I’ve seen it help other people, so I’m going to really try it. If she had told me I need to imagine my “happy place” I was going to walk right out of there. I did tell her that when I’m having a migraine, the last thing I want to do is think. But it’s something you work on every day so that when you are in the moment of pain, it is there for you to use as a tool.
For me though, the big thing she said to me boils down to this; I have to throw my pride out the window. I come from a family that, no matter how bad something is, you PRETEND everything is perfect. I’m great at this! And I’ve been an athlete since I was a child, so it’s been beat into my mind to play through the pain and not show weakness. I need to learn to stop when I’m in pain. My pride be damned, I have to admit that I’m not Sheera or Super Woman. I have to ask for help when I hurt, or it’s too much. This is not something I’ve really ever done before.
I’ve watched many people in my family push through the pain. I’ve been told for so long to be strong and keep going, not to let anything get in my way. So, for me to stop because I hurt is going to take A SHIT TON of humility (something I’ve struggled with for years).
She told me when I’m out shopping, if I hurt, to sit and rest for how ever long and how often I have to. I told her, I don’t want people to look at me and judge. I look super young and healthy. You can’t see pain. She told me forget what people think. I told her I’m much better at pushing through the pain. She told me it makes the pain worse later. I said, “yeah I know. But at least I’ll be at home where no one can see.” Mind you, after one of my knee surgeries when I was in a locked straight knee brace and you could see the bulky dressings, I was in an amigo cart at a grocery store and I actually had someone come up to me and tell me that I should be ashamed of myself because the carts are for people that really need them because they have trouble getting around. I know my jaw dropped because I was with my sister and it was clear I was not able to get around well. Being as it was just a week after my surgery and I was still on high doses of pain meds I was rather nasty. The woman that said it was a super morbid obese woman. My snarky comment was to the effect of I was sure the extra walking wasn’t doing her any harm. Petty I know, but I do feel that way. And I’m a super fat person myself.
I want to be healthy and pain free. My physical health is taking a toll on my mental health. I feel useless when I can’t walk, or do everything around the house that needs to be done because of my pain. I have to show my weakness. I have to admit to everyone that I can’t do it all. I have to stop and ask for help.
I’ll let you know how it goes…