Tonight my friend Carrie came over for dinner. My voice issue has been acting up, so she carried the conversation like a champ. I love hearing about all of her adventures in work and love.
Spending a lot of time alone while I’m not working and putting effort toward my recovery, I start to feel like my life is on hold and everything is standing still. Putting myself in the presence of others, no matter how broken I’m feeling, feels like it puts me back in the flow of life. (Thanks Carrie!) I’m sure there’s neuroscience that explains this, but I’ll just go with feeling.
I also feel this way when I go to my pain clinic groups. I’m usually tensely wrapped up in my thoughts and pain without realizing it, but by the end, after seeing everyone and talking about a therapeutic topic that resonates, I drive home feeling like a happy, gooey cheese. (Excuse the weird analogy- that’s what comes to mind.)
This makes me think about how much I love and appreciate the presence of my husband too, as the person I see every day.
One aspect of my life right now that I’d like to change is that I spend a lot of time alone. I had always been a super social person with a big network until my injuries and chronic pain caused me to need to reduce things smaller and smaller. I’m going to work on changing this.
Being in pain tends to make people want to isolate, (a “Don’t look at me, I’m a monster!” sort of feeling). But after having pain over a long period of time, us chronic pain-ers need to start tending to the opposite for positive recovery.
It feels like it actually takes a lot of skills and tools to do this, which we’ve never had to use before. First of all it takes energy to be social. We have to pace ourselves, we have to have acceptance for our conditions and however we’ll appear to others, and we have to be aware of and comfortable with any accommodations we might need to participate.
I’ll start reflecting on spending less time alone and how to flex these tools.