Thursday, June 24, 2010

Learning From Pain

Last summer my cousin asked me what I had learned about myself as a result of my chronic migraine pain. The question surprised and threw me a bit - I hadn't spent any time thinking about this. I spend a fair amount of time thinking about how my life has changed and trying to figure out my new limits and capacities. I don't really remember how I responded at the time, but the question has spurred lots of contemplation over the past year.

What has chronic pain taught me about myself?

I still don't know that I have an answer. I almost feel as though the only thing I've learned is I'm no longer the person I used to be. I spent a good 2 - 3 years trying to fight against the changes living with chronic pain imposed on my life. Trying to let go of all the things I had come to know about myself but just are not true anymore is not something I wanted to do and has been quite difficult. I guess I feel more like the chronic pain has just taken from me without any real lesson.

Somewhere inside - intellectually - I know this can't be entirely true. Chronic pain has certainly taken a lot from me, but I'm sure there is a lesson in there for me too. My mom once told me that she was proud of me for continuing to search for an answer and not giving up. Perhaps I'm learning something about my ability to persevere. I have learned how to take better care of myself. I have learned some techniques for coping with my pain...

But I don't know if that's really what I was after in terms of an answer to what I have learned about myself. I can say that I'm in the process of changing some of my ways. I'm working on not being so hard on myself when I'm unable to do things as I would like. This is a little closer to the answer...part of me wonders if the only lessons I can learn about myself while I'm going through this will be lessons about the chronic-pain-me. I have been searching for some truth about myself that I wasn't previously aware of - something specific that this atypical experience taught me.

Ultimately, we all seek to know ourselves so we can reach our potential. My potential today is not the potential I had 6 years ago SO I don't really know that I can look for insight beyond what I've already been doing to optimize my current reality. If the day ever comes when I am no longer living with chronic pain there may be lessons to learn from this experience. But for now I'm going to focus on living the best I can today.
Do you feel like you've learned something about yourself as a result of your chronic pain?

No comments:

Post a Comment