For as long as I can remember, my mum has suffered with arthritis. I have to admit that, at times, I have been impatient with her negative attitude, with her focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. I have thought ‘if only she could believe in the treatments, maybe they’d work’, or ‘she needs a more positive attitude’.. etc, etc. I’m sure if you’ve ever suffered with chronic pain, you’ve heard all of this before. Being in pain for the last few months has taught me how ignorant this kind of thinking is.
Sure, positive thinking can help some people deal with pain, if that’s what they choose. For others, feeling sorry for themselves is what helps to heal. For me, it’s a balance of listening to my own body and doing as much or as little as I feel like doing – I look after myself, in a very selfish way that means I’ve started to just do what I want to do.
I have to forgive the ignorance of well-meaning friends – because I’ve been in that blissfully unknowing state of mind myself – but if I had a pound for every time someone has suggested that if I got ‘out more’ or if I ‘took my mind off it’ I’d be happier, I’d be bitter and rich!
What I’ve learnt? Your pain is your pain. No-one, no matter how hard they try, can tell you how to feel about it or how to deal with it.