“Darkness is a great opportunity to discover the divine face of the light!”
So much of coping with chronic pain is attitude: how I describe it to myself. What is missing from the self-help books is acknowledgement that it is really hard to put yourself in a positive frame of mind, when your mind is blurred by pain, when thoughts don't flow but scramble themselves. The writers come in several flavours: “get a grip”, which includes telling your family not to encourage “pain behaviours” as if they are a form of tantrum; exercise, don't listen to your body screaming; and meditate.
My back has been badly out for several weeks, so am torn between letting it be so that it settles down (hopefully) or get it aligned so as not to perpetuate bad muscle patterns. I went for alignment and my chiropractor attacked my sacrum with what felt like a road drill.
The next day, I could hardly move. I tried to be cheerful, think positive but my brain was mush; the day was grey and sullenly trying to snow. It was obvious, living inside me, that the dreary feeling was worse than the pain. The harder I tried, counting blessings, walking as if not in pain, playing sudoku for hours for distraction, the worse the pain beat and the less resources I had to continue. It's a nasty psychological trick that when you feel a certain way, you remember all the times you have felt the same way: a dreary ribbon of depression.
I could see that will power wasn't going to do it. I seemed stuck in mud – and worst, I had lost my warm connection to God – or the spirit. As if a light had gone out.
“Please,” I asked the universe, “can you carry this burden for me?”
And it lifted. The pain was still rumbling on and we had to cancel our plans, but it was OK. I was no longer drowning – there was light. Why was that connection to something larger than me so vital? How did it make the pain bearable? I think it gave me purpose – my life seemed no longer drab and worthless. A great peace swelled my heart – the pain was there, but dimmed by the light.