What to do with pain?
Unfortunately, I cannot even say I was some badass green beret in the USAF. Fortunately, I cannot even say I went to war and yet unfortunately, I still managed to injure myself.
Not that I take pride in being clumsy but I can remember throughout my childhood getting hurt or causing myself some kind of pain because I was careless, impatient, or fearless, not sure which one! Yet, I am still all those things.
Pain has been no stranger in my life – from the pain of an unplanned pregnancy to the pain of a broken knee, pain is a part of this life.
Though, I was not a green beret I was a badass law enforcement female cop with a pixie and an attitude. Going into the military in the nineties was right on the heels of the women before me who broke rules and changed the game paving my way. Being a female in law enforcement was the best but it was also a challenge and created places of pain, not just physical but emotional pain also.
I will never forget the recruiter telling me that I should choose air traffic controller as my AFSC (job) per my satisfactory scores and the demand. Furthermore, this job field would most certainly mean job security in the civilian world; and yet none of those reasons, though logical and wise, were acceptable because my professional goals were to apply to the FBI!
Dreams are what little girls, and especially Virgo girls, are made of. I remember when I was a little girl, using all my stuffed animals to enact a full fledge war right there in my small little corner of our little yellow house on 44th Avenue North in St. Petersburg, Florida. I dreamt of being the next Demi Moore in GI Jane.
During a military exercise, I shot a huge wartime weapon, and for weeks after, I experienced back and neck pain that included insane headaches that would eventually lead to debilitating migraines. Over the years, the pain has changed and increased leaving me service-connected disabled. While I do not appear disabled, the pain is disabling every day.
Physical pain is different than emotional pain, I cannot fairly say that one is better than the other. I just know that both the emotional and physical pain I experience or have experienced have led to several dark nights of the soul! Help! Clarity! They both would allude me for years, unsure of how to cope, questioning how could this be, I am too young to be destined to a retired disabled life when I still have so much life to share with the world. Chronic physical pain is different than any other pain.
The pain has since become arthritis in my lower back which comes from inflammation of my intestines creating this nagging lingering pain like what I experienced during pregnancy labor (only those who have had back labor will understand the way this pain feels.) It literally takes your breath away and not in a romantic way by any stretch of the imagination.
The pain I feel in my body influences the pain I feel in my mind. And in most cases, it is not like the mental is any stronger than the physical because the mental is still trying to catch up and accept the physical, the physical pain that has created unwelcome limitations! Not to mention the pain the mind is healing from. It is a lot! Yet, nothing I cannot overcome!
Some days I wish I would have listened to my recruiter and gone the Air Traffic Controller route, but then I may not have met Ron Williams, Tony, Anitra, or Momma Bev, or gone to Okinawa, Japan, none of which I would trade. What-ifs are useless, and frankly not helpful in almost all the cases I can think of. I find “what ifs” more hurtful than useful.
I remember the day that I did not have a headache. It was the first time that I could feel how it felt to not have a headache. I literally always had a headache for years. This was until I realized that nearly all that I ate was actually making me sick, or maybe I can say with great enthusiasm, killing me. That day was strange. It was also the day, standing in my laundry room that I realized that I did not have to live this way and that I had control over my diet. This was also the beginning of my journey to heal my gut, as they say. Our gut affects our mental. It is a fascinating science indeed!
In keeping with my plan for the next nine months, I am certain that I will continue to find what is helpful for my mental. The mental will also help me cope and overcome the physical pain. I choose to not grow weary in well doing, as in due time, I will reap a harvest!
Note: I am working on a post that connects sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) or highly sensitive persons (HSP) with pain. Specifically my journey of coming off of pain and anti-depressant medicine and how the discovery of being an HSP has made this journey a bit lighter and freeing! Stay tuned!
What say you?