Following on from yesterday’s post, and to cut a four week long course down into a readable post, if you have chronic pain, are struggling with it and are lucky enough to have a hospital with a pain management course available, get yourself on it. I was one person before the accident, another person after the accident and a third person after the course, jeez, I could get a diagnosis of multiple personality disorder (though Mr M has been saying that for years…. 🙂 )
I went into the programme feeling tired and sick of my pain, angry at what I perceived as weakness and reduced ability, frustrated that I no longer felt proud of myself, and feeling I was useless as I was no longer achieving what I saw as my full potential. I was constantly tired, stressed out and irritable, and though that was just me, the way I was now. But I hadn’t always been like that. The course was a revelation to me. It wasn’t so much that I suddenly had something to blame – the ‘chronic pain’ – but that I was shown the effect it was having on me physically and psychologically. I was constantly on a cycle of attacking life to prove I could still do it, then being floored by pain and taking days to recover, and being angry and upset over and over again. Listening to other peoples describe exactly the same kind of feelings made me feel like I wasn’t going mad, hey, I’m a group therapy convert! I may give AA a try now….joking! The guilt was the other thing, of breaking appointments, letting friends and family down, not having the energy to join in all the time, not being as good a partner / girlfriend, the list was blinkin endless 😦 But they’d all been there and got the t-shirt too.
I’d never really considered the simple changes that constant pain has on the human body and they explained it like this. You get acute pain when you hurt yourself and this is your body’s way of saying: stop, rest, heal, fight, flight, protect, and a whole host of other shouted messages which then cause physical and emotional reactions in the body: stress, muscle tension, anxiety, fear, upset. So if you stand on a tack, you get a quick rush of all those feelings and it’s soon gone. If you break your leg, those feelings and reactions take a little longer to go away. With chronic pain, your body is permanently on a pain alert, sending out signals all day every day – so, to put it bluntly, you’re always knackered! Your body is always reacting to pain messages even if your head has got used to them, made sense when I thought about it.
And so the course taught me, and the others on it, how to manage our pain. Some of the people were in more pain than me and were more debilitated, but I learnt that this wasn’t really relevant, it’s all subjective and about how the pain affects your life, has changed your life and your reactions to it. I had a complete meltdown halfway through the month, which I was told was fairly common for ‘high achievers’ as they start to get to grips with accepting that they’ll never be the person that they once were. By the end of the course, I’d started to like the person that I was again, and could start to see a positive way forward, so I guess it was a raging success for me.
And so to this week’s events…. the creepy surveillance. I opened up a package on Wednesday and out dropped some dvd’s, weird I thought, what are these? I read the accompanying letter and I felt a bit sick as I read that I’d been secretly filmed by private investigators as part of the court case linked to the car accident. I didn’t feel queasy with fear that I’d been doing anything I’d claimed I couldn’t, but just because it felt so hideously wrong. I watched the dvds. They’d been outside my house for days! Following me as Mart drove us round to site, to the hairdressers, to clients, taking a delivery, even to the airport when we were getting away on a short spa break to Ireland after I’d had a pain filled summer. It was very odd, watching myself, us, and thinking we’d been stalked for days at a time, what a horrible feeling. There was nothing incriminating there as I’ve never claimed to be incapacitated, I’m self employed and have to work through pain because no-one else is going to pay my mortgage for me, but it’s so hard isn’t it, because pain is often invisible. You can’t tell someone is in it if they don’t have a cast, a bandage or some kind of physical manifestation. Life doesn’t stop when you’re in pain, you just have to work round it, especially if it’s there all the time, usually doped up!
They’d even included the episodes from Channel M, saying if she can get on a horse and ride a bike, she isn’t in pain. What a load of guff. Have they ever done any tv filming where ten minutes on an old nag can be made to look like you’re in training for the Derby?! How I wish they’d have been there to see me popping co-codamol like sweeties beforehand then lying down with heat packs for hours afterwards, but oh no, it’s just the smiley tv shot they see, grrrr. If I was hiding those things, do they think I’d have them on my YouTube and blog FFS!!!!
I have no idea where these developments will lead, but must have faith in the fact that I’ve been truthful and honest and hope that comes across. I know life’s changed but it’s very hard to prove that sometimes. I wish I’d have clocked those video-guys though, they must have been very careful, when they saw the size of Mr M……