(You have stumbled upon #2 of my ONE WORD posts. And you are astute enough to notice that this post is more than ONE WORD. The ONE WORD is the title. A word that maybe I am embarrassed about or afraid to admit or haven’t figured out how to handle.)
Being a ‘bad-ass’ Body Combat (Les Mills group fitness MMA-based cardio class) instructor means that pain is my companion. Any fitness instructor I know will tell me that if they are not hurting, they know they haven’t been working. I’m not talking about broken bones, or messed up joints or the kind of pain that means you should be home icing (or applying heat) with water, protein and rest!
I’m talking about the kind of pain that happens when you push your muscles just past their current limit, causing muscle breakdown that leads to building mass / strength. That’s good pain, pain that represents growth.
You can read lots of articles about that kind of pain online. Try fitness sites. This isn’t about that kind of pain.
I used to have fibromyalgia. (I linked to Mayo Clinic since they diagnosed me) It’s a kind of dull ache pretty much everywhere, that increases exponentially when pressure is applied. I say ‘used to’ because since I added regular, intense exercise I haven’t really had that kind of pain. I used to call it ‘fake’ pain. No real reason for it, no real fix for it, no beginning, no end. Elusive and exhausting. Mentally and physically.
Once, I was almost in a car accident and the shock of the situation sent pain shooting through my body. Not because of a jolt or some kind of physical contact, but just the surprise of it. All the way to my toes and finger tips. If Guy brakes fast, same thing. Pain, shooting all over. It’s weird. I tell myself that it’s unnecessary, but I don’t know how to listen to myself and stop it.
So now I’m not surprised that emotional pain shows up as physical pain for me. I sometimes think that if I cried more…you know, if I ‘got it out’ it might fix that. But I cry plenty 😉
Here’s the deal: Pain sucks, for sure. Some pain you can’t really do anything about. Some pain you medicate. Some pain is left over pain like fibromyalgia flare ups or arthritis from an old injury. Other pain is acute, immediate. The body’s way of screaming “I DO NOT LIKE THIS!”
The craziest thing about pain though is that it separates you. From yourself, your happiness. From the people around you. It’s non-bonding. No one else can feel MY pain. It’s alienating. Outsiders (people outside of me) don’t know how to intervene, to break the circuit that carries the pain from one place to another. …wait. I take that back. That cycle of pain has been broken many times. Visits from friends, phone calls, online chats, hugs, requests for work… lots of things short the circuit. But I guess the problem really is that it’s only a temporary sort of interruption.
When things get quiet. Thoughts start turning. Reality, not real reality – not my normal, hopeful, optimistic kind of reality, sets in. Reality that I am sad…still.
But… I am optimistic. I am excited about my future and the amazing things that happen in my life. I still think that the world is beautiful, friendly, kind, happy, loving – broken, too. I have complete faith that this pain will not last forever. I am reminded that if I feel like this there are many people who do too. I am not talking about comfort through the kinship of pain, because there is no comfort in being a part of other people’s pain along with your own, I don’t think. But I do think that some of those people have maybe fewer or less capable friends, less resources, less satisfying outlets. I am determined to learn the lessons swimming around in my head. I’ll need them, you might need them.
If you know me personally, thanks for being here..reading, calling, telling me jokes and more importantly laughing at mine!
NOTE: (maybe it’s a disclaimer) I am always a little afraid to write these posts. I don’t want it to look like I am losing it. Or like I am begging for attention. Or like I don’t need attention. Or that my friends aren’t good enough or that they are perfect. I don’t want people walking around worried or feeling sorry for me. I do want people to follow their hearts without manipulation. I guess the big deal is that people don’t USUALLY talk about pain, loneliness, sadness and the day in – day outness of it. I don’t want us to be walking around carrying all our burdens by ourselves- acting like we don’t have them, or like no one can understand. I don’t want us all pretending. It just seems like a lonely waste of time. So, again, thanks for listening.