Psalm 38:7 - My back is filled with searing pain; there is no health in my body.
It’s the beginning of a new year.
To most people going back to their normal routine may be a bit sluggish at first, but for the most part they slip back in with no trouble.
But for the person who battles pain, the idea of starting another year with chronic pain can bring out negative, hopeless emotions.
You start in denial, saying to yourself that you aren’t going to suffer this year, even though your doctor warned you that your back is much worse and to be ready for an increase in your pain level. “Maybe he can help me make it all go away,” you say to yourself. Or maybe you don’t even go to the doctor, and try to pretend you’re like everyone else.
After denial has spent its last breath, you move on into anger. “Why do I have to suffer another year? It’s not fair!” You want to stomp your feet, throw a few things around and punch a hole in the wall. But you can’t. That would hurt. So your anger burns stronger.
When all your anger energy has been blown out, you move on into bargaining. You tell your doctor, “I promise I’ll take it easy this year. I promise I won’t try to do something that may cause me to hurt myself. I promise, I promise, I promise.” But no amount of bargaining or promising to your doctor that you’ll try harder will help; you still are facing another year in chronic pain.
After you’ve run out of bargaining chips, you move on into depression. You’ve lost your hope. You’ve spent all your energy. You’ve got nothing left that was part of your old life. Your family tries to lift your spirits. Your friends stop by with a sampling of new recipes they’ve tried. And then, you simply don’t care anymore. “Is there a way to make this all go away?” you ask yourself. And there is.
It’s time to move on into acceptance. “No!” you shout. “I won’t accept this! I can’t accept that I have to suffer in pain for another year.” Yet if you really want to help yourself, then accepting your situation is the only way to make life doable.
Painnewsnetwork.org posts the article, “Accepting Chronic Pain: Is it Necessary?” in which it states accepting chronic pain doesn’t mean giving into it and it doesn’t mean that you stop looking for treatment. They also discuss what accepting chronic pain does mean such as learning to live again.
Beginning to understand, accepting the chronic pain you face, can help open the door for you this next year to the possibilities of finding joy again. There may be searing pain and no health, or limited health, in your body, yet your spirit can be filled with life and hope again.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.