Are We Killing Chronic Pain Patients? | Incident Report 115
The blame game of chronic pain
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What is the first thing we ask ourselves when we become ill? “What did I do wrong?” Why not? When we're children, we learn it is all up to us. All of it. Life and death must be up to us, as well as sickness and health - it must be. Don't we learn all the truisms children have always learned, such as, “Step on a crack and break your mother's back.” Now that's power.
We live in a cause and effect world. “Eat your veggies and you will grow up to be big and strong,” or as my husband tells the grandkids, “Eat (whatever) and it will put hair on your chest.” This, of course, works better with the boys than the girls.
Since we are soall powerful, we immediately blame ourselves when tragedy strikes. We become ill with some life changing disease and are altered forever. “What did I do?” we ask, or we whisper to ourselves late at night when we are alone in the dark, “What did I not do? Am I being punished for something I did? No, it must be something I didn't do.” On and on it goes, this talking to ourselves, searching for the cause as we live with the effect.
I did that, didn't you? What if I had taken better care of myself? What if I took more vitamin B, C, D or is it Z? Maybe it was too much stress at work. Maybe it was too much chemical additive in the soda I drank. Maybe it was the moon, the stars, Venus? On and on it goes. We search our hearts, we search our lives and we search all of our behavior to find the answers. It's just what we do. We all powerful human beings chase our tails around and around in circles. We wake up at night, asking ourselves those questions. We drive ourselves and everyone around us crazy with questions, questions and still more questions. Acceptance takes time and patience.
There are many health issues which we have heard have a cause and profound effect, such as the link between smoking and lung cancer. There are, of course, many other examples, but for most of us it's like the witch in "The Wizard of Oz." That house just flies through the sky and lands on top of us before we even knew the wind was blowing. SCHAZAAM! Life is different. It must be our fault since we are suchall powerful,all-knowing humans.
Eventually, we must learn to let it go. We grow exhausted by the constant self-interrogation. The only questions which remain are: How do we live with this thing, who is the best doctor to help me through this, and does it threaten my biological relatives?
My family is a flesh-and-blood example of the power of genetics, but that's another blog for another day. For now, dear friends, just get some rest; try to reel in the irrationality and guilt because the chances are it is not your fault. Let it go and get on with it. Tick, tock, tick, tock. Those are the minutes of your life, both precious and fleeting.
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