Last week, I made a terrible mistake by lifting improperly and injuring by back. The first few days were not too bad. It was more uncomfortable really! I continued with my regular routine but moved just a bit slower. The problem is, I don't slow down easily and adding pain to my day can really be annoying!!! By the third day, I noticed more discomfort but, with things to do and people to see, I proceeded to shower and get ready for the day. But while searching for something to wear, I felt it! A sudden sharp pain and instantly I knew I was in trouble. It was like a knife stabbing me in the back. I tried to balance myself but soon buckled as I slowly dropped to the floor. I stayed there paralyzed in pain trying desperately to find the perfect position. I just wanted the pain to stop!!! Eventually, I managed to move myself slowly to the bed. I soon called my doctor and received pain medication. But basically, there was little I could do but rest and let my body heal. So, I proceeded to clear my calendar. UGH!!!
When you have back pain, there really is little you can do except rest. You are not sick, so you don't feel like sleeping. Rather, you are held hostage. All you can do is sit and think! And what I thought was, how difficult it must be for those who live with chronic pain, whether it be physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual. Some people struggle just to get through each day. I know my pain will eventually end and I will be back to normal. But for some, "normal" includes pain. Faced with constant pain, it must eventually take a toll. You can become anxious, depressed, and for some, the pain is so unbearable that suicide becomes an option. I admit dealing with depression before. But I can truly say I've never been so far into depression that I would consider suicide. I may have wished, in a fleeting moment, that it would all end but not to the extent of honestly hoping for death.
With this back injury, I had a chance, for a brief moment, to wonder what life is like for those whose pain will not get better...whose pain will not go away. I was stuck lying there in bed. I had no choice. Though there were so many things I wanted to do, I couldn't. Each time I thought of something, I was reminded of my restrictions and would lay back in a sense of defeat. Why bother? I can see, over time, how easily this struggle slowly erodes your sense of joy, competence, and purpose. You might develop a feeling of urgency and willingness to do almost anything to just make the pain stop!!!!
For those of us who have never really understood the depth of this struggle, we may not understand what it means to be in pain. The fact is, to really understand a person's pain means to accept that sometimes, it is just too overwhelming to simply shake off and move on! People in pain need our love, not judgment. Often, when we watch others in pain, we want to do something about it. We want to make it go away and bring relief. When we can't, we feel helpless and uncomfortable because if feels like there is nothing we can really do. But this is not true! Simply holding their hand and letting them know we are there may be the best we can offer. With my back pain, the truth is, there was nothing anyone could do to make it better. What I needed was help with daily things. And simply knowing that someone was there to help me was more uplifting than you could imagine! All I needed was to know that someone cared!