I have a theory. Or maybe it was more of a thought that became a comparison in my life. We tend to handle our mental/emotional pain the same way we do our physical pain.
My husband when he is in pain will ignore it as much as he can until he HAS to go to a doctor. However, most of the time he believes that if he can just make himself go to sleep that in the morning things are better. This applies to physical illness as well as a bad day. He is forever the optimist that things “somehow just work out.” Only in deep severe cases will he call for help and then it is someone else’s job to figure what’s wrong and then how to fix it. After that, well he knows the issue and either adjusts to live with it or knows who to call to figure it out.
These last few weeks have been hard on me and I could feel a storm of emotions stirring. Try as I may I was unable to avoid the hurricane. The pain that washed over me all at one time and I was under attack. There is no quick fix for me. I barely sleep on a regular basis as my mind loves to think, makes lists, relive conversations and so on. I have to make things “work out, somehow” in my head.
Let me tell you a little about physical pain and my abilities to handle it. I am one of those fortunate people who will never have to worry about becoming a heroin or pill addict. Norco or most pain meds outside of over-the-counter Tylenol or things given to me via IV with an anti-nausea mixture will make me instantly ill. So after every surgery, my hysterectomy to sinus surgery on my face, I can’t take pain medications at home. I get to tough it out with regular doses of Tylenol. When reality I want to jump out of my skin and run away from the pain. I can’t sleep, I pace, I’ll try to distract myself, I get angry but I remind myself that I will get thru it. This pain is temporary and I’m tough.
This latest depression that was so dark and so hurtful hit like a hurricane. I wanted to jump out of my skin and run away from the thoughts and the pain. I didn’t want to be inside myself and I just wanted it all to go away. I was angry. Why me? I’m so damn tired of having to deal with this. Why can’t I just go to sleep and wake up feeling better? Why do my dreams when I sleep turn into part of this nightmare? Why am I alone in dealing with this? Doesn’t anyone see this? Doesn’t anyone care?
I made it thru. I have a 100% success rate for that so far. After all, I’m tough and the pain is temporary. However, I was reminded of a very big analogy last night as I lay in bed and my husband slept next to me.
When we had our son things happened fast; too fast. The doctor broke my water and said he would be back as I wasn’t dilated much. I went for one lap around the maternity floor (not that big of a hospital) when I started having huge labor pains. I called for the nurse to come in, which took a few minutes. When she came in she told me we had to move to another room fast. Apparently I was dilating rapidly and we were not in a birthing room. Quickly we settled in another room and upon another check I was told it was too late to have ANY pain meds at all administered. Yeah, so I had natural child birth. Did I mention it was rapid. To give you an idea, from the time my water broke to delivery was just over 2 hours.
I felt like my body was being ripped in half. I don’t think that I had much of a break between my worst contractions. I had my daughter 4 years before but was able to have something for the pain and it lasted at least 3 hours longer. However, next to me was my HUSBAND. I kept telling him to help me. My husband sat next to me and calmly would say that he couldn’t but he was there for me. He would tell me to breathe and hold my hand. I know he knew I was in pain, but the reality was he couldn’t take it away and it was something I had to do on my own. It was excruciating but temporary and I was tough enough to make it through. Yes, I was sad and angry that I was the only one in the room in pain. However, that didn’t change what the situation was nor did it mean my husband loved me any less.
So you see this weekend, when I broke. My husband didn’t know what to do. He let me be angry. Then when I was sad he sat next to me on the bed and was just there. He couldn’t do anything to take it away and he couldn’t go thru it with me in a sense. I was tired of doing all alone. But he was there, telling me to breathe and reminding me that he loved me. It’s temporary, even though it can be excruciating there is an end. Even if he can’t feel it, fix it or even fully understand it, he is in the room. I just need to push thru like I do all the other times when I am physically, mentally and/or emotionally in pain.
So that is my theory. Remember you are stronger than you think and you have skills you forget that naturally take over when you are in your deepest pain.