I feel not many people talk about it, but pain changes you. At least it has changed me.
There are different kinds. There is physical pain, mental pain, and I would go so far as to say spiritual pain.
Like many people, I have experienced pain. Still do in varying forms and degrees. As of late (the last 9 years or so), it has been of the physical kind. I have not been as active as I once was. My back and right leg are constant reminders of that fact. Countless herniated discs, and Spondylolisthesis in my lower spine. It hasn’t been fun and as time goes on it only seems to get worse.
A few years ago, I also managed to tear the tendon of my upper left pectoralis major. A truly frightening injury due to the way it occurred. On a smith machine stuck under the weight of 325 lbs. Definitely a memory I would opt to completely forget.
How physical pain can impact mental health
Both of these injuries, whether I’d like to admit it or not, have shaped who I am today. Most days, I wake up with the pain. It’s impossible to ignore it. My mind has dealt with it in the only way I know. Suppress it, block it out, and avoid. In some ways, this has negatively impacted my personality and social life. Having to cancel events, or leave events early because the Advil isn’t enough.
With physical pain, depression also comes into full view. I don’t know how much of mine is attributed to my physical pain, but it definitely exacerbates any underlying problems. If you’re already suffering from depression, any physical pain just compounds those feelings of dread over and over again. You feel there’s no escape.
What physical pain has taught me
Through all of this, I have learned a lot from my own bouts of physical pain. The most important lesson, is the realization that we’re not going to live forever. We’re all mortal and as we age, more pain is likely to occur. And if that is the case, the best thing we can do is take care of ourselves in the best ways we know how.
This may seem like common sense, but like myself and many others that I know personally or have heard of indirectly, humans have a tendency to abandon their innate instincts and allow carelessness to takeover.
There is this illusion in front of our eyes that we will live forever. Pain helps us see the truth though, that time is truly precious. Like I’ve written in previous posts, time is the most important asset we have. We shouldn’t squander it.
Moving on from pain
These last two years, I’ve taken moments to inwardly reflect on my life and part of that reflection involved my health. Although time is limited, I believe that there may be ways to extend lifespan and in the process address underlying issues causing physical pain.
Before the pandemic, I was so focused on this projection of my outward life, that I never stopped to think that my internal life may be completely broken. It’s hard to think about. Where do you even start?
I can tell you, that I’ve started with my physical health. I think the old saying goes “treat your body like a temple”. Not sure I completely agree with that, but I get the point and tried putting it into practice.
In a later post, I’m going to cover the things I’m doing to improve my physical health and increase lifespan. Stay tuned.Tags: mental health physical injury physical pain