I used to say it is literally insane to try and function through the pain. What I really meant is it is insane to exceed our limits because society demands it of us. Doctors, insurance companies, family or loved ones may demand it of us. And it is impossible to cope with riding that edge of pain like that. Insanity. Something needs to be adjusted in order for us to cope with that. I personally adjusted in a few ways but one of them is not working full-time and that is still pretty damn taxing.
But I have decided that a touch of madness is needed to just plain adapt to the insanity of functioning through pain at All really. We have this amazing capacity to adapt to pain. I mean, I exist in pain levels that my younger self would curl into a little ball and refuse to move under. While this isn't exactly an awesome superpower it is a fundamental adaptation if you have chronic pain. As far as I can tell I wouldn't get very far curled up in the fetal position all day long.
So what do we do? How do we Do this?
1) We sort of lie and nudge ourselves along- We lie to ourselves a lot. And we make ourselves believe it long enough to get through that thing we have to do. Just need to get out of bed and it will be all right. Just need to get dressed. Just need to get to work and once I am there it will be fine. Just need to get through this hour. Just need to get to lunch and I can have a break. Just need to get through a few more hours and I can get home. Lie, lie, lie. Sort of just nudges to get ourselves to certain goal points really.
2) We create facades- We create entire alter-selves in order to cope with functioning. Because pain sucks and having to cope with pain while out in society sucks even more. So we adapt by presenting ourselves in a certain way. My favorite is I created a stronger sense of humor. I smile and laugh. This puts me in a good mood. Makes me believe it as well. It masks the pain incredibly well. I am able to function better. I don't put all that negativity on myself, which inevitably makes me feel worse when I am in pain... so I am essentially faking myself out. Like that study that said even faking a smile makes your brain release the same happy chemicals as a real smile... I just presented myself that way until I felt that way. Makes my day better than the sarcastic, negative person I generally am. Because That person doesn't cope with pain quite as well.
3) Gallows humor- We all seem to develop wonderful gallows humor. I once had someone ask me why I laugh at myself and my illness the way I do. Why I make 'such jokes' about my illness. What can I say to that? Almost want to quote Lincoln on that one. "I laugh because I must not cry. That is all". I find gallows humor about my illness funny at least. And for some reason it just pops out. Can't say everyone finds it funny. That is just too bad. If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? If you are in a hard situation long enough... you learn to laugh about it. But generally that sense of humor about it is truly only enjoyed by others who suffer as well.
4) We do weird things in the name of pain- We will damn near do anything if it helps with our pain and screw anyone that thinks we are weird. I slather this Japanese mint oil all over my forehead, temples, and down my jaw. I constantly smell of Japanese mint oil. It is now my official fragrance. I meditate. And while that isn't weird... I would never have meditated a day in my life if it were not for pain management telling me I had to. We pick up hobbies to distract ourselves from the pain. New hobbies we never had or even thought of before... just because focusing on something Else helps. Like knitting. Suddenly becoming a knitter. Or coloring. Which is a fad now, so we seem cool doing it but we are just trying to mellow our brains. We will try anything that helps the pain and anything that distracts the brain. Imagine for a moment if you listed all those things if someone asked what you like to do for fun? "Well, I meditate, color, Netflix binge, took up painting, do poetry, blog, write novels and I was thinking of picking up a hobby."
5) and finally we have a touch of madness for the routines we have to cope with pain.- We exercise. Meditate. Do physio work. Maybe biofeedback. Take vitamins and supplements. Take our medications. Take walks when we can (to get some fresh air they say). Special diets.
But you know I think it is just that touch of madness, that spark of insanity, that gets us through the pain. We have our own way of existing in the world for sure. And I think it takes this to get though a mad world. To survive a mad world, and function in it, we need our touch of madness to get us though. Madness that say I can cope today, because I coped yesterday and I will cope tomorrow because there is that thing I want to do. Madness that says you will cope or Society Wins, and can;t have that now can we. Madness that says this is my life and I deserve to live not survive. Madness that says pain should be treated not ignored. That touch of madness knows society is insane, we just have to have a touch of madness to endure it.