The day was full of promise. The “Things-To-Do” list was already made. When the list was made there was a sense of excitement and purpose. Now that the day was here that sense of purpose and excitement was nowhere to be found. What was found seemed to be an all-encompassing sense of doom and hopelessness.
A lot of time, when adjusting to the new normal due to chronic pain, hopelessness and the doom of everything falling apart with no way to bring things back together can become the companion of the pain. So, along with dealing with the physical aspects of the pain, the mental and emotional aspects of the hopelessness has to be dealt with as well.
Being in that dark inner place of chronic pain makes it hard to see the openness and opportunities of life – even the little things like watching a bird flying around or seeing training clips from a karate seminar. The words of Jesus Christ saying that he, “… came to give life and a life that’s more abundant” rings hollow and can be seen a words with the biting mockery of a cruel joke. That makes the constant battle of losing hope a reality. It’s a dark reality that can take a person from a level of despair regarding thoughts of suicide to the anxiety of a frustration that brings thoughts of hitting someone or something, regardless of the consequences. All that’s seen is a possible sense of relief and purpose, no matter how temporary, futile or the fact that it could lead to a worse situation.
For people who are in chronic pain, having family and friends around is a great source of grounding the person in chronic pain, to a real life that demonstrates, that in spite of what they’re going through, their life still matters – even if things are different. Without being preachy or judgmental, letting the person know that things are okay, just different. It’s the demonstration of other people that shows the person in pain will make it through the situation. Letting the person continue to take part in the activities of family members and friends can go a long way in providing hope. The activity could be something as simple as allowing the person to set out the plates for a meal or as in my case recently, it was helping to set up and hold the tools needed to put air in a flat tire. Just being included goes a long way.
As someone working through chronic pain, the effort to put myself out there and actually make myself more vulnerable, regardless of the pain, is part of the battle in dealing with the sense of hopelessness. Despite the pain, comments such as “things will get better” or “hang in there” can at times fall on deaf ears and we have to stretch ourselves realizing that the person is doing their best to help. Giving people the opportunity and freedom to make those comments is another weapon in battling the hopelessness.
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