By Kerry Smith
I had to turn it off. I felt my blood pressure rising with each and every tweet, facebook post, newspaper article, and tv journalist show. It was then and there that I had to take control of what my environment was telling me and switch it off. So I walked outside, sat in the sun, breathed deeply, and worked to place my mind in a different place, a different world.
It’s the political situation of our country. It feels hopeless. Our world is in pain and it is now as if those in control don’t give a rip. And for me, it is such a justice thing and I feel deeply about what is happening in our country and in our world. Understand, I too am a theologian and I believe in God, but do not throw down simple answers about God and the situation we find ourselves. I threw out the “God is in control” thingy about 16 years ago when my battle with chronic pain started. Sure, I believe in God but sometimes God expects us to use our brains and our bodies to make a difference in our world. It is a justice thing and for me, as I said earlier, I feel deeply!
Herein lies the issue for many of us who suffer with chronic pain; we are affected by the circumstances of our world to the place where it can affect our ability to fight chronic pain. Make no mistake, I want to do something about the injustice in our world. I fight the fight of the CDC and CMS in their new guidelines for chronic pain. I fight the fight of guaranteeing insurance coverage, which I personally believe is a right of every American. I fight the fight of a political system that continues to be increasingly less concerned about our environment and the “least of these” among us. And? And I love my family, support their growing issues, try to beat disability, try to beat Adhesive Arachnoiditis AND? Overload! Pain! Chronic Pain!
I am my own worst enemy. We are our own worst enemies. Not only do we struggle with what internally and externally is going on, we eventually will physically do something that will result in pain flares and setbacks and a ticket on the continuing roller coaster ride that is called Chronic Pain.
Disability means the inability to Disengage, right? The inability to Disengage from our environment. The inability to Disengage from pain. The inability to Disengage from the crap that does us harm. The inability to Disengage in from anything chronic. The inability to Disengage from our brains. We are wounded to the core and our wounded world only adds to our woundedness and the inability to Disengage.
Dr. Beth Darnall has two books among others she has written that are most helpful in dealing with our mental battle with pain; “Less Pain/Fewer Pills” and “The Opioid-Free Pain Relief Kit”. Our world may be “going to hell in a hand basket” but it is okay to mentally disengage from the world and the injustice that is happening and to develop boundaries that keep us all sane as we fight the fight we have been given. In case no one has told you this today, if you are suffering from anything chronic, IT IS CHRONIC!
We do not need anyone in our circle to affirm our Chronic-ness which means what? It means that you and I have accepted this struggle and have to process it accordingly. It means that the computer between our ears has been altered due to this chronic-ness, and it is perfectly fine for you and me to let someone else fight the good fight or rather, for you and I to choose where we will give our energy. We HAVE to DISENGAGE from that which makes our chronic pain worse which, is absolutely okay!
May it be so even for me!
Kerry Smith is a former minister, a professional artist, and has suffered with chronic pain for over 15 years. He has lectured and written on the topic of chronic pain for several years. Here’s a link to his art studio website.