Pain & Fear

One of my little secrets that I’ll share with you that many people already know about me is that I don’t watch television. A lot of people, dare I say MOST people, do watch television. It’s not that I can’t watch TV. It’s really not a political statement or a decision as much as it is that I just have this addiction to my work, to writing and to the internet, so there’s rarely time for television. I sometimes have the television on, but for the most part, I only watch the commercials. There was a time I thought I could really write good commercials. The point of all this is, there is one guilty pleasure on television for me: HOUSE.

And the point of this is to bring about a line that was said on HOUSE: Pain makes you make bad choices.

PAIN & CHOICES

I take that line a step further to say that not only does pain make you make bad choices, but fear of pain makes you make worse ones.

I know this because I have pain, fear and the fear of pain in my life. I guess many of us do have all three at various times, but I, unlike most (but not all), live with pain, fear and the fear of pain on a near daily basis. I can agree that pain and the fear of pain both make a person make bad choices.

How many of you out there have had a minor medical condition that you haven’t gone to see the doctor about because you’re afraid that there might be something wrong, you worry it will cost too much money, or you worry about the expensive and painful tests? I did that. I did it when I hit my shin against the side of my car and it left a small bruise and a little, tiny cut. Then I didn’t go to the doctor, ’cause it wasn’t so bad. As it got worse, inflamed, infected, and I still didn’t go to the doctor. Fear of pain. Fear of…

That fear ended me up in the hospital for over a week, fighting for my life. Central lines hurt, did you know that? Yeah, and they hurt a lot more than the treatment I would have received if I’d gone before it got that bad. But then, I made a bad choice, out of fear, because of fear of pain.

I go to the doctor now with no problem, but when she writes up a lab order, and then gives it to me to go get the blood drawn, I will sometimes wait weeks before I go in and get the blood draw down. Why? Fear of pain. How many of you have ever had a toothache, but you haven’t gone to the dentist. Why? Fear of pain.

It’s never as bad as I build it up to being in my head and it will be over in a matter of seconds, and yet, I’ll stress and worry and fear over the pain for days, even weeks.

I’ve started doing my blood sugar testing, since steroids can sometimes change your blood glucose (and I’m on steroids). I am not diabetic and we’re not really worried about me becoming diabetic, rather just making sure the steroids don’t cause high blood glucose while I’m on them. Each time before I poke my finger, I’ll sit there with the pen (the pen that pokes with the lancet to prick the finger and draw blood) and I’ll have to psyche myself up to do it. I can do it pretty quickly and it rarely hurts as much as I expect it will, and I always say after, “That wasn’t so bad,” but then I hesitate the next time I have to do it. Fear of pain.

MORNINGS & NIGHTS

I have trouble going to sleep at night. In the past, it was insomnia, where I would literally go days without sleep to the point of near hallucination before I’d finally pass out. Medication and changes in my life have made the difference in sleeping now and I have no problem going to bed at night, physically. Emotionally, though, that’s a different story. See, first thing in the morning, I wake up in pain–lots and lots of pain–horrible, agonizing, deep down aching miserable pain. So at night, I am ‘afraid’ to go to sleep, because I know I’m going to hurt when I wake. The pain in the morning is bad. Very bad.

That’s a bad choice though, because I know that not sleeping brings about pain too, but the morning pain is a more immediate pain, so it gets pushed to the front. Gradually increasing pain is, of course, easier to take than sudden pain. There are levels of pain and thus levels of fear of pain.

EMOTIONAL PAIN

You know, fear of pain and bad choices aren’t limited to just physical pain. We human beings do the same thing with emotional pain. One of the reasons I think a lot of people ‘cheat’ on their partners, spouses or significant others is not because they are really horrible people who just don’t care what other people feel, but rather, these are people who fear pain. They fear the pain that will be caused by them and to them when they try to end a relationship. It’s the same reason many of us haven’t left bad relationships we knew were over, because we wanted to avoid the ‘sudden’ pain.

The problem with this line of thinking is that when we avoid the sudden pain, the intense but temporary pain, we subject ourselves to living with the long-term, albeit duller, pain, and though we might not realize it, that duller pain still makes us make bad choices. That pain becomes a constant, a part of us, and all our choices, decisions, ideas, beliefs and more are then tainted and influenced by that pain.

And pain makes us make bad choices.

And fear of pain makes us make worse one.

Just a little something on my mind today. Not sure why exactly. I’m in a lot of pain today and was putting off going to the doctor about it for fear that it was something bad. I have an appointment tomorrow, so hopefully it won’t be bad.

Right now, though, I sure do hurt. And pain makes me make bad choices.

Ouch.

Love and stuff,
Michy

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Comments

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8 comments to Pain & Fear

  • Dk  says:

    Oh Michy I am sorry that you have to go through so much pain and trouble. . .

    But you are right about the concept of “fear of pain”. Many times I have skipped telling my parents and the doctor just to avoid that.

    And yeah, we do avoid sudden pain by going through the constant pain. It’s something like very inherent in us humans I think. It’s like we prefer 2 days small tablets as compared to 1 time 1 minute long syringe. 🙂

  • Buffy  says:

    Pain is the body’s (or mind’s) way of notifying us that something is wrong. But many of us have grown up in a society or in family units which teach us to ignore our pain, to muscle on through, to tough it out. Succumbing to pain is equivalent to “wimping out”, “being a wuss”, or disappointing someone who is counting on us to be bigger than life. We are encouraged to make “bad” decisions rather than admit to or treat any form of pain (physical, mental, or spiritual).

    And yet, we are told that an ounce of prevention will cure a pound of woes. But once we are hurting, where is that prevention then?

    My stoicism kept me from going to a doctor immediately after injuring my shin last year. When I did go in, it was for an ounce of prevention – antibiotics for what I thought was a case of pleurisy coming on and to check out a rash since a very dear friend had just gone through a life-threatening bout of cellulitis. Ultimately, my stoicism almost cost me my life when what I thought was pleurisy turned out to be multiple blood clots which had hit my lungs and which could have hit my heart or brain.

    Don’t let your fear of what might be or your fear of how others might react stop you from finding and treating new sources of pain (or old sources, if they have not been adequately addressed). Don’t let fear or pain cost you your life or your quality of life… I almost did (as did you)… and I know you learn from your lessons without the universe resorting to the use of bigger 2×4’s.
    (((HUGS)))

  • Teresa  says:

    I know this is nto the right place for this but I was needing the correct email address to send in a unsent letter. The one on that web page is not correct.

  • Michy  says:

    Thank you, DK and Buffy for your responses. Buffy, I knew you’d get it.

    Teresa, the email on the Unsent Letters website is correct. You can find the submission guidelines here:
    http://ourunsentletters.com/node/4

    And the email is submissions AT ourunsentletters DOT com – replace the AT with @ and replace the DOT with . and it works just fine. I get emails from it every day.

  • Teri S.  says:

    Pain sucks big green donkey dongs! Yes, I said that.

  • SLC  says:

    That is pretty insightful. It gave me some ideas and I’ll be placing them on my web site soon. I’m bookmarking your blog and I’ll be back. Thank you again!

  • Samual Purtlebaugh  says:

    I found your blog on Yahoo , this is a awesome blog , i will come back.

  • illenuipt  says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog ~ thanks for posting such awesome material.

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