Although many of the pains I’ve had have gotten better, the two most debilitating pains, in my low back and my right knee, have gotten progressively worse. The amount of time I can stand, walk, and sit without pain have all gotten shorter, and noticing this can scare me, because it’s my inability to do these activities that is the most crippling. It can be quite difficult to live life lying down.
Sometimes I get traumatized by pain, and my fear of it. It tends to happen when I’m already on edge, and I’m in a situation where I feel trapped. It’s happened in an airport security line, on a bus, on a long aimless day in my apartment, in my car. My pain gets tremendous, my nervous system goes on full alert, and I shut down in fear. I cannot hold a conversation. I lose touch with all of my helpful mindfulness tools. And I become very angry, very defended.
No matter how good you become at managing your pain, no matter how much work you put into loving your life, there will probably come a time when you feel absolutely awful and nothing you do lightens your mood. You have a major flare-up, or two or three, and all of life feels dark, hostile, and meaningless. It really does feel that this is the end, that all you have to look forward to is more awfulness, anger, fear, rage, despair, and/or depression, until you die. That’s the story, anyway!
If you were once able bodied, and are now disabled due to persistent pain, you may feel that you’ve lost a lot. And like losing someone you love, losing abilities you love, like running, walking, or cooking, involves grieving.