I'm fixating on the concept of pain vs suffering

It is just something I've been thinking about. Obviously the pain is something we have limited control over. It is insanely frustrating because we try so many numerous methods to limit the pain in various ways... and what pain is left, if unmanageable, if too much to handle that there can cause a great deal of emotional distress. Apparently my doctors and even this new shrink concur that is the sort of emotional instability or depression I have... directly correlated to the amount of pain I am in. I just get overwhelmed by the pain. When the pain subsides my mood dramatically improves. But, it is the constant battle of unmanageable pain over time that causes this emotional strain. You know what is coming, you know what the battle has been like and you know what it will be like. Because the undeniable fact is, with my conditions and many others the pain is inescapable. It is a fact. And it is a fact at times it will be brutal. And during those brutal times expecting me to function is cruel, but its a cruel world out their boys and girls and that is exactly what it expects of us.

So pain is inevitable to some degree. Is suffering inevitable. I used to think the answer was yes. Doctors simply expected me to suffer. And they didn't give a damn about it. And suffer I did. And I wondered why do I have to suffer like this? Why do I have to struggle to get to work every day, struggle to get through the day, struggle so damn hard, suffer so damn much when no one gives a crap about how much I suffer only that I do what they what me to. And I never do enough, because I can never be like a healthy person... can never have a perfect attendance record because some days the pain just wins... can never concentrate as well because on the days I don't let the pain win and there is a significant amount of it it compromises my ability to think. It seemed no one cared about that struggle or the suffering, as long as I did it silently and complacently. And one day I realized I don't want to suffer like this every day for decades and decades and decades. I'd rather die. That is a logical conclusion to come to when you suffer like that. But how much is suffering linked to pain? I know we can reduce the amount we suffer by simple things people who do not suffer pain cannot even comprehend. They think 'How can you laugh and smile when in pain. You must not be in pain.' and that is a sign of someone who has not endured long lasting pain because those with chronic pain do learn that while the pain is inevitable suffering is not. I learned long ago that masking my pain behind a facade of humor made it easier to distance myself from the pain... and eventually the facade becomes the reality. It isn't really positive thinking... it is not dwelling. It is allowing yourself to be happy. So many just that helps with suffering. Another thing people without chronic pain do not get is that by doing things you take your mind off the pain to some extent. Your focus and concentration is reduced and in a work situation this can be very stressful but distractions of the sort where you actively set your mind on something else have been shown in studies to help with pain tolerance. Because pain isn't about just the sensation, it is about the interpretation. So that too helps with suffering. And maybe just acknowledging that we can't be rid of all the pain, that it is beyond our control, but that we can have some control over the interpretation, the response to it, and our reaction... in effect our level of suffering might in-itself help.

Head Shrinkery Apt #2

I've been really anxious about seeing the new neuro because I worry it is a sign I'll shortly be returned to work.  This makes me anxious because I know short term I can handle pain. I know short term I like my job and value it as a distraction. But that long term, too much pain boggles the mind. And I know that for the last few years I've been very tired of the struggle. I've had difficulty maintaining a facade. I've had a hard time with the suffering. The emotional strain has been always present. It crops up at the strangest of times. I honestly have a hard time describing it. It is like grieving... you are coping with the loss of someone but something will remind you of that person, of that loss, and the emotions will rise up and almost overwhelm you. Its the same feeling, but instead of grieving and loss it is this feeling of despair and hopelessness. This knowledge that I have to do what I am doing (work) that there is no escape and that I will have to just endure the suffering. A horrible feeling. I do all the same things I've always done to cope with pain, reduce suffering, but I have no hope of ever having the pain being less than it is or ever not having to have a break from work. And I suppose that is the straw that broke the camels back for me. And so, yeah, some serious anxiety about returning and this sense that it was inevitable and that I would have to deal with those emotions of despair being trigger at the thought of it, let alone the reality. But after talking to my shrink about it... okay, she saw what happens when I talk about it. Because as I said the reality of pain and talking about it is one thing that often makes that sensation come up and I have to choke back tears. I had a migraine as well that day, so I swear I was close to just breaking down... and I don't do that in front of people. Point being we chatted about it and she said I should not be anxious because she would assist me with the neuro and my insurance company in getting me long term leave from work.  And I honestly have never felt such a profound sense of relief in my life. I think it will be beneficial to have someone share the emotional toll with my application because doctors seriously do not even consider it and so I get declined again and again. And I really really hope it makes a difference. And the thing is she gave me a bit of hope and that is a pretty damn big gift to give someone with a few words. That someone, other than my man and my mom, actually has my back. My doctor doesn't have my back, I think that's been established. My last neuro gave up on me. And insurance companies don't want to pay. And my employer has never had my back, in fact they are the cause of my emotional distress in the first place. So having someone say they will fight for me almost brought me to tears again.
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