Living With Pain

For the first time in days I’m pain-free. My head feels as though I’ve had three glasses of wine and typing this post is tricky but I’m not in agony thanks to an over the counter allergy medication. Finally, I found something that works to ease the throbbing in my head. I don’t know exactly when my headaches began, perhaps a year or two ago. They appear without notice and wreak havoc on my life. I’ve learned to function with them most of the time. However, there are days like last Friday, when I must lay still in a silent, dark room waiting to be me again.

Why haven’t I gone to the doctor? Well, because when the pain subsides, I’m fine. I go back to my busy life hoping the headaches are gone forever. Hope is good except for when it stops me from seeing reality. Of course the headaches will return.

It occurred to me that the way I’ve dealt with my headaches is the same as the way I deal with other issues in my life that can be unpleasant. When something negative happens and I feel great pain I want it to go away as quick as possible. Who cares about the cause. I just want it gone. To mask the pain, I may listen to my favorite songs, write in my journal, clean my house, or dash to the gym.But those are all coping mechanisms much like taking ibuprofen or allergy medication. They don’t get to the root of the problem. It’s only when I deal with the pain head on (ha-ha) that I stand a chance of conquering it.

Facing reality is difficult. What if there’s a serious cause for my headaches? What if there are serious issues in my life that have not been dealt with? Wouldn’t it be easier to take a pill, pull the mask over my eyes and lie in a dark room until I’m well enough to run away? How does living in pain affect my relationships with others? When my head feels as though it’s in a vice I’m not the most pleasant person to be around. The same goes for unresolved issues. Just because I have a smile on my face doesn’t mean I’m not carrying pain within me that like the unannounced headaches can rear up with the slightest provocation. The solution is to embrace my fear of the pain, make an appointment with a doctor and discover exactly where the headaches are stemming from. Only when I have the courage to face my pain will I have true freedom because running away or living in denial never solves a problem.

I suppose the best way to look at it is to be thankful for the pain in my life because it forces me to see it, conquer it, and grow. It also reminds me to be thankful for my health and for my wonderful life.

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