|Art by Rimfrost on Deviantart|
The last week has been pretty wild. I was on Norwegian TV with my book, and participated in an online discussion with readers and viewers afterwards. The discussion reminded me of something I don't often talk about here on this blog:
Living with chronic pain is torture.
Actually, it is pretty close to hell.
People can get angry at my "positive thinking" angle, and I totally understand that. Positive thinking doesn't make the pain go away, and when your nervefibres have been screaming every day, year after year, hearing somebody say "think positive" is enough to put most of us in a completely understandable homicidal rage.
I have needed to find a safe outlet for my pain, grief, trauma and despair. I have found it in music, writing and painting. I also attend self help groups and I have had great help from good counselors.
For me, being proactive about healing and working to think positive is simply a matter of survival. When I'm depressed my pain signals intensify, this is partly because chronic pain and depression share the same bio-chemical messengers in the brain. Simply put: Gravity is constant. When I don't work continuously on myself, my health declines, and my pain gradually intensifies. I´m so afraid of going back to that place of constant agony that I hardly ever talk about it. I just smile and say "it's over now" - not even daring to think that it may come back at any time. My healing is fragile - and keeping it up is a full time job.
I choose not to talk very much about the negative sides, because talking about it actually activates the pain center in the brain and intensifies the pain. I also choose to not share all my pain with my closest friends and family, because I want to have a positive, uplifting exchange with them and not be a victim or a martyr. But I have my safe outlets for talking about the worst parts of living chronic pain, and those are invaluable.