Archives for posts with tag: pain and pain management

It’s a good Tuesday to work from the co-work space. It’s a good day to follow-up on outstanding applications for positions I could be a good fit for. It’s a good day to submit new applications on new leads. A good one to study new skills and new tools, or refresh an out-of-date credential. I’m seated comfortably. My equipment is working. There’s just this one detail that is amiss; I’ve got a massive headache, and it’s quite the distracting nuisance.

I breathe through it. Take breaks. Hydrate. Stretch. Take a headache remedy. Get a walk in. Correct my posture. Have a coffee. Focus on other things. I mean, for real, I’m just throwing solutions at this fucking headache and hoping for the best. lol I’m pretty glad I’m not in my office at home, while my Traveling Partner is working on complex design and problem solving tasks. He’s very sensitive to my “state of being”, and neither of us needs this headache pinging on our consciousness at all. I can, at least, take it out of his environment and do my thing elsewhere. So, that’s what I’m doing. He’s further free to focus on work because I had not even mentioned the headache at any point this morning before starting “the work day”, so it’s not on his mind as a concern even in the background. ๐Ÿ˜€

…I’ve got a bit of a case of the blues, though I suspect it’s just one more byproduct of this fucking headache, so I work on letting it go and not taking it personally. It’s an uphill fight today; the headache keeps dragging me down. I keep clawing my way back to a positive perspective. (I remind myself that this headache will pass.)

I have an amusing moment, as I sit working; my keyboard speed (on this manual keyboard) is distracting to the two dudes sitting near me (one of whom is staring into a boldly colored spreadsheet, the other appears to be scrolling up and down in some massive list of things). They shift uncomfortably, the faster I type. I am distracted by their being distracted. LOL One finally turns to me and says out loud “wow, you really get going on that keyboard…”. I look up, unsure at first if he is talking to me, then smile politely and reply “yeah, I’ve heard that” and get back to business.

…This fucking headache, though, g’damn…

Between the headache and my arthritis pain, today, I’m really struggle with “the blues”. I remind myself that it is the pain, and that these are common feelings. Humans hurt. Humans struggle. Humans feel. It’s not personal, even when it very much feels like it is. I keep fighting the distraction. Keep returning to the tasks in front of me. Keep working to “lift myself up”. Processes and practices. Having the luxury of being able to invest my time in self-care is pretty handy. It would be lovely to have the security of employment and a steady paycheck right now, yes, but… it’s also pretty nice that I am not having to choose between self-care and work right now. (Although it’s fair to define the job search and continuing education stuff as “work”, it’s very much self-paced, and no pressure.)

I recently heard from two very dear old friends. The Goth Technician and The Author replied to email I had recently sent of the “how are things?” variety. Makes me smile even now, though I read those emails and replied quite some time ago. It’s the connection. There is so much value in our human ability to connect with each other, even over email. It prompts me to send another friend and email – it’s been too long – and yet another. Somehow, these don’t aggravate my headache at all, as though to direct my attention to building and maintaining relationships, and away from task-processing like a machine. ๐Ÿ™‚ Something to reflect on? Probably.

I sit sipping my water, thinking about lunch time (which I plan to spend at home with my partner), thinking about sunrises and new beginnings, and thinking about… this fucking headache. LOL Very distracting. I definitely need to begin again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Every sunrise is a new beginning.

I am in an unreasonable amount of pain today. I can’t argue with the experience; it’s the one I’m having. Physical therapy-recommended exercises often help. Not so much today. Staying active, or distracting myself, works a lot of the time to reduce my subjective experience of being in pain. Today the pain just seems to color every experience. Sometimes medication dulls the pain. I guess I’m grateful that it probably did do that, today, although I’m not sure I feel that…I’m fairly sure it could be worse. My Traveling Partner has his own experience – both with his own pain, and of course having to exist alongside mine. That’s got to suck.

Meditation could help… sometimes it helps a lot. Today it’s just another box I ticked on the “list of things to do about pain”. Down the list I went. Some things helped somewhat. I’m doing my best to be okay with that and not lash out at “the world” over the pain I am in. There’s no “fault” in this here-and-now experience of pain. It is what it is. Uncomfortable. Limiting.

My world shrinks when I am in this much pain… so… I spent a portion of the evening in an altogether different world, in Minecraft. My world. My way. My peculiar blocky homes and wanders, walkways and walls, tunnels and staircases… for a couple hours I am elsewhere. Oh, sure, I still hurt… but, I’m not focused on that; I’ve got a glass tower to build, or a pyramid, or a terra cotta tile floor to lay, or…

…There are verbs involved. Doing the verbs does not guarantee a particular outcome, or offer any assurance of success – it’s just that not doing them definitely limits the chances of getting that outcome or success, at all. So… verb verb verb verb. Even in Minecraft.

I just keep at it. One moment, one day at a time. This happens to be the struggle I’ve got. It’s maybe not that big a deal for someone else… they’ve got their own struggles. Maybe pain isn’t one of those. Maybe it is. We’re each having our own experience. Each walking our own path. What’s odd, I think, and also kind of … hopeful? Is that we’re also each sharing some basics of lived human experience that can allow us to look upon one another with compassion, empathy, and fond regard – if we let ourselves. We “get it” – maybe we’ve “been there”, or just understand through similarity. Handy. Sometimes it’s hard being human… feeling lonely on top of that just suuuuuuuuuuuucks. Let’s not do that. Share. Listen. Be open to “being there” for someone else. Be there for yourself, too. (Definitely be there for yourself!)

I’m sort of “over” Minecraft for the moment. I still hurt. Pain is distracting me and preventing me from becoming sleepy, which definitely sucks. I feel a yawn come over me… can I sleep? Will I at least rest?

Fuck pain. I mean… just… yeah. I’m not enjoying this experience of today, though I really wanted to. I’ll just have to begin again. Maybe less pain tomorrow?

Queue “Love Rollercoaster“… or…maybe “Love Rollercoaster“? Love has its ups and downs, not unlike a rollercoaster; it’s an appropriate metaphor. We deal with our own challenges – and our partners’. I’m confident that my Traveling Partner loves “all of me“. I count on his enduring love, “right down the line“. Maybe ours is an uncommon sort of love story – maybe not. I know this is our love – and it’s where I want to be. Sometimes love is like dancing, and I feel like I’ve “got the right dancing partner”, at long last.

Valentine’s Day? It was lovely. Spent lived, out loud, and wrapped in love. There are other experiences worth having. ๐Ÿ™‚

I originally wrote a very different post under this title (on Friday). It was hurt-sounding, and infused with strong emotion, seasoned with pointless frustrated tears, and more than a hint of self-pitying catastrophizing. As the weekend proceeded, quite differently I’m pleased to note, my thinking on the writing (and events) of Friday evening continued to morph, evolve, mature, change, and deepen. I ascribed to the events first greater significance, then less, dwindling in magnitude of catastrophe and emotional pain over happy days spent in my partner’s good company, feeling loved, and loving, and enjoying our precious mortal moments together. At several points, I re-wrote, edited, adjusted, and refined my written thoughts, as my lived thoughts of the moment themselves changed. Mostly, I focused on being a better partner, better friend, and better love, and didn’t put nearly as much into writing about any of those things.

I spent quite a bit of time in a thoughtful place, reading “You Are Here” by Thรญch Nhแบฅt Hแบกnh. You’ll see a lot of his written work linked in my reading list – or on my book shelves. This one was a recent gift to me from my Traveling Partner to ease my sorrow when I learned of Thแบงy’s passing. Funny, I was so moved by my partner’s gift that simply receiving it was emotional and memorable; I felt so loved and understood. Diving into the work and actually reading it, this weekend of all weekends, I could see so much of the depth of my partner’s affection; every page seems to speak to our “here”, our “now”, and the very nature of Love itself. It led my thinking onward, gently, over the course of the weekend. Like a map, it helped me “find my way”.

Yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, I woke to an entirely different understanding of Friday evening’s moment of hurt and conflict. I found myself looking at it through a very different lens – one of real compassion and empathy, and awareness of what my partner is/may-be going through, himself, and pushing myself out of the hero’s role of the narrative in my head, to view our experience of each other through a more… equitable(?) perspective. We both have PTSD – and for both of us, the majority of that damage comes from intimate partnerships (other than our own, though at this point we’ve done ourselves a fair bit of emotional damage over a decade) or familial relationships. I now find myself painfully aware how often I insist I be nurtured and supported, while also pretty reliably overlooking his triggers, and his need to be emotionally supported, also. I shut him down when I “don’t feel heard”, instead of listening deeply because I care. I could do better. For sure. Like… probably a lot.

The tl;dr on Friday’s misadventure was simple enough; I triggered him (and did not recognize that in the moment), he reacted, and his reaction triggered me. I threw a fucking fit, and behaved incredibly poorly, and had a nasty temper tantrum we both could have done without. I wrecked a lovely romantic moment in the making, and we had a shit time of things that evening. (I feel fortunate that our love endures our individual and mutual bullshit.) We turned things around together over the course of the weekend, each of us “doing the verbs” to live our best versions of ourselves, and to love each other in the most healing way we could. Win and good; we enjoyed a lovely weekend together.

I thought about posting the original writing from Friday’s moment…but reading it, and even reading various edits and footnotes, I just “couldn’t find room for it” in my current thinking – I’ve already adjusted my thinking, and made room in my awareness to be more supportive and directly nurturing of my partner’s needs, and less strictly focused on my own. Self-care is supremely important, and boundary and expectation-setting is a pretty big deal for building lasting love – no argument there – and I’m not saying that it is any part of my plan to undermine those things (I’ve worked too hard “to get here”!). What I am saying is that I’m more aware that I’ve got room to grow and improve on how well I identify my partner’s need for emotional support, and could use some additional work on those skills, too. Love is a verb. Balance is a healthy quality.

…As silly as this is likely to sound, I put a ton of study and practice into self-care, and meeting my own needs, I somehow almost entirely overlooked how best to support a partner and their unique emotional needs in the context of their PTSD. I mean… for fucks’ sake, really?? Omg. Definitely time to begin again!

I can’t even string together enough swear words to adequately describe the pain I am in this morning. It’s just physical pain. It’s even mostly the “healthy pain” of spending a day working in the garden, stooping, bending, lifting, digging, kneeling, standing, reaching… all good stuff. Fuck I hurt though. That pain on top of my arthritis, on top of my [whatever the fuck is wrong with this bullshit] neck/headache pain – it’s a lot. I’m sipping a very good cup of coffee this morning, working on shrugging off the pain, to get started on the Sunday routine – housekeeping, chores, upkeep. The details of having good quality of life do not take care of themselves. (Note: if you think that the details of having good quality of life “just sort of happen”, then I suggest you look around for that person who is clearly caring for your clueless ass and say “thank you” once in a fucking while, and oh yeah – how about helping out?)

It was a lovely day in the garden, yesterday. There’s more to get done (I didn’t quite finish, even with my Traveling Partner’s help): there are yet a handful of dahlia tubers to plant, some final tidying up of beds (for this go ’round), and tools to put away. I enjoyed the work, and the effort. I am pleased with the results. I focus on those things, and turn my attention away from the pain I am in. That, and good self-care now, are the best I can do. Some yoga and pain management first thing when I woke, and hopefully once this coffee is done, I’ll be in fair shape for the chores ahead.

If you’re reading this as a healthy fit twenty-something, feeling immune to the aches and pains, and possibly just the tiniest bit dismissive or smug about your fitness, I have only this to say; your turn will come. ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t mean in a harsh way, I’m just saying that I understand that you “don’t get it” – we don’t know what we don’t know. I didn’t get it in my twenties, either. I couldn’t. It was outside my ability to truly understand. Enjoy ease and comfort and freedom of movement while they last you, my healthy fit friends of all ages. We’re all at risk of losing that fitness – whether through age or adversity – and once it is gone, it can be damnably difficult to get it back. (I keep working at that. Slow progress is still progress.)

Be kind to people. It’s unlikely that we know what someone else is really going through – even if they do try to tell us. Our own pain is typically the worst pain we know – and if it “isn’t that bad” we may not have a real reference with which to understand what someone else is going through. That’s as true for me as for anyone else. My partner tells me when he is in pain. I tell him. We hear each other. We earnestly seek to support each other with real care and consideration. We still can’t really know the pain the other one is experiencing. How bad is it, really? Well… I suspect it is always 100% “bad enough” that we do well to be kind to each other. I mean… that’s a small thing, isn’t it? So huge for the person we are being kind to, though. Oh, and when we’re in pain? When we’re suffering with it? Still, be kind. Sure, it’s an excuse one can offer for being a jerk to someone to say we are in pain. It’s even pretty real, right? Be kind, anyway. Pain hurts, for sure, and it can be a huge fucking challenge to muster one last shred of resilience to make that effort… but when we treat people poorly because we hurt, that person doesn’t feel our pain – only their own. From being hurt by being treated poorly. By us. Are you seeing how cyclical that can be? I’m just saying… it may be worth the effort all around, for all of us, every day, to be kind.

“I’m just being real.” I’m suggesting be kind instead. (Or, you know, in addition to being “real”… how about that?)

“I’m just giving helpful feedback.” I’m suggesting that if you must, that you do it in a kind way. Legitimately kind. If you can’t? Maybe don’t bother – especially if you weren’t asked for feedback.

“I’ve got my own shit to deal with.” Don’t we all? I’m just suggesting it may be less of a burden if you are also being kind to people you interact with.

“I’m all about ‘tough love’ and I’m only kind to people who deserve it.” It’s possible you’re missing the point of both “tough love” and kindness and I’m not sure what to say about that, at all. “Tough love” is about love. (It’s also about setting reasonable boundaries to avoid letting someone abuse your affection… seems like it would be possible to do so with kindness, too. I don’t know. I’m not walking your mile.)

Kindness may not save the world, but have you seen what the lack of it does to the world? It’s in the news a lot. Hate crimes. Road rage killings. Family violence. Kindness is a lot less news-worthy, generally… but the outcomes are far better.

I feel like I’m on a bit of a rant. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s just the pain I am in coloring my experience. That’s why I’m on about it; I expect to needs these words, myself, as soon as I interact with my partner, neighbors, or the community beyond. This is a blog post I’ll re-read a number of times, today, as pain wears me down and I fight back for one more shred of resolve to get one more task completed. ๐Ÿ™‚

Take care of yourself today. Take care of those dear to you. Be kind. We all need more kindness, day-to-day. If we’re not willing to provide it, how will those around us understand to proceed, themselves? “Please be kind to me, I’m having a tough time today” are not easy words to say… maybe we would do well to practice, that, too? Anyway… practices need fewer words, and more practicing, and here it is, already time to begin again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Raindrops on a rose bud.