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Pain

I’m sitting on my parents’ screened in porch. I haven’t been able to appreciate this nice weather much due to experiencing some health problems. It seems to be mostly abdominal and lower back pain. I’m also having stomach problems too. I don’t think it’s anything too serious, but it’s enough to keep me in bed, drinking tea all day. I drove back here to my hometown yesterday so that I could see my doctor this morning.

It’s hard to say how I feel mentally. Being stuck in bed for extended periods of time can make anyone feel down. I even wondered if this might be my body telling me to go easy on myself until I molt this layer of skin. I’ve accomplished very little writing lately. I’m slowly investigating graduate schools and getting my portfolio around. It seems strange that I’d feel sick after doing so little. I’m thankful to have the sort of lifestyle where I don’t have to “suck it up” in order to go to work or school. If I don’t feel well, I can cancel almost all obligations to take care of myself. If only everyone had that luxury.

It’s a shame how we are trained to ignore our bodies. There’s over-the-counter meds for any ache or pain you can think of. We just keep popping pills and pushing on. I’m just as bad–still unsure how to trust myself without fear I’m exaggerating my pain or acting like a hypochondriac. In sports, I learned to play with the mindset “no pain, no gain.” What an awful thing to tell kids. Sure, I think it’s great to push ourselves physically to improve, but it’s also important to treasure our bodies.

I blame my lack of confidence and inability to trust my own body  for many things. First and foremost, I didn’t think my depression was as serious as it got both times. I thought I was being “dramatic,” so I kept pushing myself until I had all sorts of physical symptoms surfacing. I also blame my inability to validate my pain (physical or emotional) for the fact that I went around using a broken wrist for a month. I waited to get x-rays, because it didn’t feel broken. Three days after I fell, I agreed to go get x-rays because the swelling had not gone down much. They told me it wasn’t broken, so I went back to using it a week later, trusting them more than me.

After a month of pain, I went back to the doctor. They told me not to worry and sprains can take up to two months to heal. Luckily, they sent me for x-rays again just in case. They called me that night, telling me I needed emergency surgery in the  morning. My wrist was not only broken, but it was cutting off the blood supply and starting to crumble. The surgeon feared I’d already done permanent damage. I should have gone back to the doctor sooner. Luckily, my wrist is almost 100% these days. The thought I could have done permanent damage scares me, though

Similarly, I shouldn’t have let them discharge me from the psych unit so early each time either. I thought I must be exaggerating, so when they suggested I might be ready to leave, I agreed. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to be hospitalized as many times if I’d stuck around and gotten it right that first one. I don’t want to sound like I have regrets, because I learned from those experiences. I just want to voice my frustration, because I still don’t trust my body. I wasn’t going to even come home to go to the doctor this time. Luckily, friends and family suggested it could be serious. Plus, it’s nice to have my parents and pets around if I need something. I hope to go back to the convent tomorrow. Maybe then I’ll actually have something worth blogging about.