In the Dentist's Chair

 
" Don't worry- you'll get used to it,."


I am writing this after a frustrating day of worsening pain. It is early evening and my energy levels are low and my stress levels are correspondingly high. I am writing a Blog, so that I don't have to be entrapped in a butterfly net and led away by men in white coats....

I think it is the combination of pain AND the huge stress of knowing that it is not a healing pain, not a short term situation, that makes chronic pain so difficult to be shackled to. 

Many of us have bad memories of going to the dentist as a child:the needle, the smell of that foul pink stuff you had to gargle with...and the phrase ' This may hurt.'  The dentist is our seminal experience of pain that is out of our control!  The sense of having to be fixed in an uncomfortable position, feeling anxious and finding it hard to breathe and swallow with ease, make a really good metaphor for how pain finds me after it has beaten me into a mush.

The sense of being overwhelmed by uncontrollable circumstances, could be a dictionary definition of STRESS. It is not surprising that so many of us 'painies' also struggle with mental health issues: the anxiety about the pain getting out of control, our finances, our future...AND the misery of leading a life so limited by something that, try as we might, we cannot change.

There are days where you can meditate, drink chamomile teas, sniff oils, take medications, pray, distract yourself, eat cake, have hugs......and you know what?- you are still in wretched amounts of pain and it feels as if your body parts have just heard the starter gun for a race involving them all hurtling at speed to different points of the compass.

 If you are spectacularly unlucky, then there will be more than one kind of pain- sort of a pain cocktail. "Electrical nerve pain and a dull aching in the limbs, with a cherry and a twist of groin pain, please barman."

Those days enter some kind of gap in the space-- time- continuum, for the day is not the regular 24  hours you inhabit, no, you live through years. It is as if you are staring up at a vast and pain filled sky and the clouds are moving SO SLOWLY! By midday I am usually convinced it is early evening, and 6 pm feels like midnight. It is only my sluggishly diminishing medication boxes that tell me I'm wrong.

So, I will end for now, and will end the day hopeful that I will get as much sleep as I need tonight. As that great advocate for self belief in challenging circumstances, Scarlett O' Hara observed:

 "After all,: tomorrow IS another day..!."


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