Pain of the emotional kind is very familiar to me, until I gave birth the physical kind was not so familiar though. Besides witnessing the untouchable pain that my Mother endured for the 11 years that she was so sick, my own body had only watched on. I think that pain is one of those highly subjective and somewhat elusive experiences that can only be described through our own retelling.
Empathy aside, the very real sensation of pain within our own bodies is difficult to put into words. Recently a little pain in my lower back suddenly became a pain that I needed to talk about. As someone who works in the charity sector, who has seen many people live with cancer pain and who is hesitant to bring attention to my own troubles it took me a little while to voice the concerns about my own pain. Was I just being overly dramatic? Was it really that bad? Maybe I should just carry on and keep reminding myself that I am fine, there are people in a lot more pain than this!
Luckily I listened to my body, really sat and took the time to listen. There is really no other way to know if something needs to be voiced. After a few days of listening, I knew that this was not normal and that I needed to investigate. Long story short, and it really was only a matter of weeks before I knew that my back was a little broken...I now need surgery.
Somewhere along the way recently I herniated a disc in my lower back and it is now pressing on a nerve causing me constant and debilitating pain along with loss of feeling in my left leg. It could be worse, that is what keeps me going. I am still working, as much as I can and mostly from home. I am still a Mother, although one who is not able to lift my almost 20 kilogram toddler anymore, much to his dismay! At times I choose the comfort of my daybed rather than a social commitment, much to my dismay! Always, I remain positive and upbeat, although I now know that pain is also a very obvious trigger for anxiety and depression! Just what I needed, another trigger! hah - this one won't be getting the better of me!
So I now have a deeper understanding of the pain that I have witnessed so closely over the years, close to home and further afield in my work. It is another experience and insight that I consider a gift, a lesson and a way of developing deeper compassion for others. It is an experience that has allowed the people close to me to step up and express their love, a few in particular. The simple yet profound act of showing care in practical ways at a time like this leaves a lasting impression.
Hopefully by sharing my own physical pain I am able to lessen that of someone else and again let out a reminder that we are not alone in our pain, whatever kind it is.