I've been thinking about pain today.
No big surprise - it's pretty much my daily companion.
But today I've been thinking about the varieties that the evil one has devised for us.
God had pretty much safeguarded me from mental pain - for which I am deeply grateful! I have dear ones who fight depression, Bi-polar and SAD, and the suffering they endure can not be called anything else but pain. And it breaks my heart, because I fight with my heart, and their hearts are so battered and worn by the type of pain they experience, that they feel inadequate and weak.
And they are anything but.
I so admire them. I've had my heart stabbed a few times (figuratively ) and I almost couldn't bear it. I am not strong enough for that kind of pain. And I so respect those who fight that battle - and I cheer their victories and the beauty that comes out of them.
Give me physical pain anyday. (I mean, instead of mental/heart stuff) Not that I'm asking for it. I've just pretty much figured out it's gonna get me sooner or later in my daily life.
I was in a pain study once, and the cartographer asked me how I could laugh and still say I was in a high rate of pain.
He was probably thinking about sharp pain. I am a wuss when the pain gets sharp. I don't handle it well. At all.
]But my pain is the deeeeeep ache that seems to settle in your bones and scream at you from just beyond your reach. It's the kind of pain that sucks the energy out of you like a 5 year old with a straw and a root beer float.
I didn't know how to answer him that day. I'd only been sick for a few years, and didn't realize that I was starting to learn coping.
Coping is a big part of pain. I feel like the pain wins if I let it dictate to me - something that has gotten me in trouble a few times. So, after 26 years and counting of pain, I know the answer now.
Chronic pain is like no other. When it's constant, day in, day out, and the only thing that varies is where/how strong, you can take pain meds and bear it. You can focus on other things that are enjoyable and get those endorphins humming, and yes, even tho the ache is bone deep and the black hole of energy, you can laugh and make light remarks - often because it would be useless to do otherwise.
I routinely tell people I'm ok when they ask how I am.
It's not true.
But unless you have experienced pain in that way, for that long, you would have no clue what I was talking about anyway. And worse, you wouldn't know what to say. It's a guaranteed conversation killer.
Aren't you worried about addiction? that's a frequent question. And my answer is no.
There is a light year's worth of difference between addiction and dependence.
Addiction seeks drugs for the high. And because your body gets used to the dosage you are taking, to get that high, you need more and more as time goes on. And to get that high, you would do anything. And that is what you think about and plot about and designed your day around
Dependence doesn't produce a high. No weirdness or dizzyness or wiped out-ness. Just a decrease, deeply welcomed, in the pain. I've been at the same level of narcotic for almost 10 years. And one of my problems is, I completely forget about taking my pain meds.
So by the time I realize "Oh! This is getting nasty!" my pain meds are less effective, and I mentally kick myself for it, and remember to take it the next time it is due.
I have partially gone into withdrawal twice. And I do not want to go there again. You cannot stay still. You feel like your legs will walk off without you if you stop moving. You can't think. Your pain becomes so obvious that suddenly you realize, "I'm in withdrawal!" and mentally try to figure out the last time you took your meds and promise yourself you will never ever do that again.
And yet I did. One more time.
I've discovered I can't go longer than 24 hours without taking it. In that respect, it has me bound. But it still is not even a blip on my consciousness for most of my day. In addition to the regular, on going pain I have severe arthritis in my neck, which makes a lot of things difficult.
And yes, I can still talk and laugh with people, even when it's bad, even when there's no relief for hours after I take my meds, and I know it's because I'm not alone in this.
I serve a God Who has measured out my allotment to the last bit of dust there is in me. He walks through it with me, and teaches me a lot about what I can do and what I can't - and Who holds each one of my breaths in His hands, and has measured them, too, down to the last O2 particle I will breathe out. He knows the kind of pain I can't tolerate - that sharp, suck the life out of you pain that comes with nails in your wrists and heels and your back torn to ribbons and rubbing on the rough splintery wood each time you take a breath that in itself is agony.
And I am keenly aware that He did it for me.
And no, I don't know why He chose to give this to me. Or the mental agony He chose for some of those I love.
But this I know:
He can be trusted beyond my capacity to imagine, and His motive is love for me. And if I can submit it to Him day by day, it will be the greatest adventure of my life.