Archives for posts with tag: pain and pain management

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. πŸ™‚

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 ThΓ­ch NhαΊ₯t HαΊ‘nh. 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 ThαΊ§y’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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰

Raindrops on a rose bud.

Sipping coffee and counting down the days to Giftmas. πŸ™‚ I remind myself that the holiday season, and this life with my Traveling Partner, are by far more significant, more meaningful, and more valued than this physical pain I am in. My partner called me on it before I was half finished with my coffee. First thing on a Saturday morning, and I am so visibly obviously uncomfortable that I am uncomfortable to be around. Well, shit. I take my coffee with me on my way to my studio, consider my pain management choices on the way, and get to work on managing what I can manage, and letting go of what I can’t. My results may vary; I know to expect that, too.

…Good cup of coffee, though, and a pleasant Saturday morning on which to enjoy it. πŸ™‚

I think about the upcoming holidays, and smile to myself. Winter Solstice, then Giftmas, then New Year’s Eve and day… then, it’s a whole new year unfolding ahead, and back to the grind. πŸ™‚ No idea what the new year may hold. I didn’t expect this one, just now ending, held a pandemic – or a home purchase. Life is filled with surprises, unexpected turns, and assorted fortune (good and less so). Some eventualities will be very directly tied to my own choices and actions, others less obviously so. Sitting and waiting around for change is one possible choice… still a choice, and potentially less effective than grabbing life with both hands and making of it what we can. I suppose there is also some “personal style” involved in all that, as well. πŸ™‚

…Mmm…Yeah. Great cup of coffee this morning, well-suited to reflecting on life. lol

I did scroll through the news earlier – fairly pointless on the average Saturday, unless there is some sort of major event some where in the world. All of the news seems to repeat yesterday’s talking points, retread and regurgitated, linked and quoted, by various other news services that perhaps now wish they’d thought of it first. Uninteresting. I’ve been making a practice of willfully rejecting headlines that seem crafted to stoke an emotional reaction prior to reading the article; it’s a clickbait practice, and I just don’t appreciate having my time wasted, or my emotions manipulated. I definitely read fewer news articles as a result. lol My time is better spent reflecting on my own life and choices. πŸ™‚

I think over the day ahead. I’ve got one errand to run, a bit later, maybe I’ll also stop by the grocery store? I’ll tackle aquarium maintenance a little later, too. Tomorrow? Housekeeping. I know, it’s all very routine, simple, ordinary stuff. That’s what most lives are crafted of; ordinary moments, commonplace tasks, simple everyday acts and efforts. It took me too long to understand how very few individual lives are truly, spectacularly, exceptional or extraordinary in such a notable way that one would expect to read about it in the news. Most of us live very unexceptional lives – and that’s entirely okay. More important that we also live well, show kindness, consider others, care for the world and our community – and take care of ourselves and each other. Isn’t that enough? πŸ™‚ Are any of us really so good at even that, that we ought be discontent and seeking more? I suspect I’m not alone in my awareness I could do more/better, often, even in these ordinary circumstances, within this ordinary life. It’s about the verbs. Our choices.

I sip my coffee, hearing the video my Traveling Partner is watching, in the background. The sound of it, the sound of his presence, brings me a sense of comfort… and joy…

And now I am hearing holiday carols in my head, too… LOL

What is “enough”? Do you have that? Have you defined it so that you can more easily make your way to that goal? Have you been so fortunate as to overshoot that mark, and find yourself living in some comfort? From where you are, right now, what can you do to help heal the world? What about your community? Are there simple things you can easily do, without undermining your own necessary resources, to lift someone else up? To ease suffering in the world? To give something back? ‘Tis the season… what will you do about that?

I finish my first coffee. I think about a second cup. I smile for a moment, feeling pretty okay generally. It’s time to begin again. πŸ™‚