As chronic pain patients, we have all experienced our share of losses. We have lost the ability to live a pain-free life. We have lost good health. Many of us have had to give up our careers, our doctors, or our homes. Others have lost their marriages, relationships with family members, even a sense of self.
Loss is inevitable in our situations. We don’t function like we used to. We can’t enjoy the same things – at least not in the same way. But does it all have to be about loss? I think it is time to take a step back and look at what we have gained.
We have gained a heck of a lot of medical knowledge about our individual conditions. We have gained a new perspective on what life is really about. Some of us have had to start over completely. To reinvent ourselves. That kind of change isn’t easy, but we are left with no choice. Fate has handed us a cruel blow in the form of constant and debilitating pain and the conditions that cause them.
For some of us, our journey into this world of pain was gradual. It took years for us to get where we are now. For others, it was one single life-changing event that changed everything. Some of us won’t progress further than we are right now whereas others are only at the beginning of a journey that can only get worse.
Not trying to be negative here, just trying to be real.
I won’t even get into the medications angle – that’s an entirely different beast.
The point I am getting at is that we don’t have to focus only on our losses. We can try and find joy in our existence. We can look for ways to gain, whether that be in the form of knowledge, or finances, or anything else.
Our perspectives have changed considerably. The fact that we have an opportunity to find a good side of this should give us hope, because it is only through hope that we can grow in any way.
We are all at different places in our life journey. Some are young, others older. Some of us deal with conditions that can go on forever while others have more of an end-date so to speak. No matter where you are – it is still possible to gain something.
Are all of these gains positive? Absolutely not – how could they be? But we don’t have to be negative about everything. There is a way to gain something positive, no matter how big or small it is. We just have to look for it. Perhaps we will stumble across it or perhaps we will endlessly research things looking for it.
Sometimes it is staring us right in the face. Perhaps it is a sense of tolerance for how others misunderstand how we feel. Maybe it is appreciation for how well we might be doing in the big picture. Maybe we attempted to end it all and stopped short just in time to realize that there is still a lot to live for.
Just like we can choose to laugh or cry, I believe that we can wallow in our losses or we can celebrate our gains. Which are you going to do today?