I was asked recently to define my understanding of chronic pain.
I had to think about it. I have experienced both acute and chronic pain in my life but I’ve not actually ever had to explain what that meant to me. It was something I lived through, its over and gone, I use my experience to help others but when I tried to work out what that actually means in my heart, mind and soul was difficult and I found I was stuck.
When I’m stuck, I go within, into trance, meditation, altered state of consciousness, however you describe this, what happens to me is I find stillness and I listen.
The first thing I realised is that I know quite a lot about it.
On a superficial level, chronic pain defines the pain experienced after an acute period of pain. The acute phase usually lasts up to 12 weeks after that the pain is described as chronic. I am describing science’s version of physical pain here.
As I started to go through my library of memories I realised that I class emotional and spiritual pain in the same category. There is an acute phase, where the pain (physical, emotional, spiritual) is felt. By acute, I mean it is so strong that it can take your breath away, followed by a period of duller grinding numbing pain that sometimes feels like it will be with you forever and covers you like a heavy cloak.
I suffered a head on collision in 2012.
Boy, did this leave me with acute pain. I suffered soft tissue injury and a heamatoma in my right buttock, that caused sciatic feedback the whole way down my leg…wow did that hurt.
In my body, but also emotionally, I was in shock. Spiritually, I’d had a wake up call. This acute pain was shaking me up on every level of my being.
This then followed with 9 months of physical rehabilitation, depression, agrophobia and a long spell of introspection. This was the chronic pain period that I associate with that particular car accident.
Chronic pain, lasts for a long time. It grinds you down, changes the hormonal balance in your body, and creates physical postures and movement patterns as your body tries to avoid going back into the ‘acute’ phase..
…your unconscious remembers you see.
This chronic phase locks you down under armour, layers of self protection that your body thinks it needs. The emotions that surfaced in the acute phase perhaps were too much to bear. They get locked in the body (in my case my back), and spiritually if the changes you are being pushed to make seem so big your spiritual life force can become small and disconnected.
Chronic pain is awful.
Through my life I’ve had 5 car crashes (don’t worry if you see me on the road in my car, none of these were my fault) each one causing extreme pain in the short and long term. These experiences though have been my learning.
I often say my body and my path have been my University degree teaching me all that I need to know so that I can help others.
My own experience is that I needed to be gently coaxed out of my own shell.
Touch in the form of hands on healing, and dialogue that brought every question right around back to me and how I felt, understanding and non judgement for my ‘poor me’, someone listening to me without trying to fix me and compassion from another were the things that helped me most.
That together with balanced, aligned movement, movement where I felt supported.
Movement that slowly showed my body that it was safe to find another way of being, movement that built my confidence in my own body and movement that opened up my energetic channels to reignite my spiritual life force.To sum it up, chronic pain locks you down on every level.
But, and this is a bit positive but, you don’t have to continue to live with it.
There are ways out.
I know, I’ve been there.
Today, my body feels amazing.
I am in love with life and those period of darkness feel a long way away.
Today I’m celebrating that!
Help me out here… what are you celebrating?