When it comes to a Chronic Pain Diagnosis I think we’ve all asked “Why me?”
The answer may be very easy and clear. A medical procedure gone wrong or a traumatic injury are common. The harder answer is – there isn’t an answer.
Personally, I think there are answers. Often times, I believe there is/was more than a single event. We’re told to not consider these or that it’s complicated but if we don’t consider the WHY? how do we recover?
Let’s explore “Why Me?” and Chronic Pain.
Stress is a common component of chronic pain sufferers. If you weren’t under stress before the pain you are going to be now. Stress has so many effects on our body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behavior. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can help you manage them. Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as stroke, high blood pressure, chronic pain, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
How do we reign in stress and manage chronic pain? I believe the answer is in how we manage our personal care. We’ve all heard of “self-care” but that’s a bit different than personal care. Link to Personal Care Article
As we navigate chronic pain it becomes more difficult to maintain our personal care routines and often I find clients haven’t had established routines and often put themselves on the lowest rung of the care ladder.
- Are you the one who does for everyone and often leave yourself to last?
- Are you the person who is told they are selfish for putting their care in the light in anyway?
- Are you guilted and shamed for wanting to do things for yourself that everyone else is “allowed” without comment?
I’m expecting a lot of “Yes, I am” to the above questions. And that “Yes, I am” – I believe has played a major part in your journey to pain without an obvious answer to “Why Me?”
10 Healthy Steps You Can Do - Right Now!
Emotional labor is the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job or experience. More specifically, workers are expected to regulate their emotions during interactions with customers, co-workers and superiors.
Within families, it’s described as the mental load of “always having to remember”. Constant management of their entire families’ needs takes a toll on women and especially wives and mothers, who often grow exhausted and resentful if their partners ignore the invisible burden. “The belief that women primarily are in charge of and accountable for the emotional climate in the home is still part of the invisible work that women do. And part of the issue about that is that it’s seen as something natural in women as opposed to something that takes time, energy, and skill.”
These societal and family expectations, invisible burdens that are ignored, are part of many peoples loss of personal care. How can we care for ourselves when the time that should be “ours” is being grabbed by others? When instead of winding down from the day we are managing children’s needs, spouse’s needs, household chores, social agendas and all the things that make tomorrow run.
I believe that for many, particularly women, they’ve burned out (emotional exhaustion) their emotional labor candle and break, quite literally from the pain. They’ve held the family together for years by the tips of their bitten off nails. They’ve been left hanging on the cliff by their nails and no one hears their cries for help. They are exhausted, fragile, alone, and isolated while their household moves through their lives as if they don’t exist past where’s dinner, taxi service and laundry. All while working full time and being treated the same way at work while being under paid. The invisible “Why Me?”.
Emotional exhaustion is a state of feeling emotionally worn-out and drained as a result of accumulated stress from your personal or work lives, or a combination of both. Emotional exhaustion is one of the signs of burnout.
“Why Me?” – Emotional Exhaustion
- Do you feel overly questioned about how things are happening or going?
- Is there pressure that you can do better or try harder?
- Are you hearing the old adage “pull yourself up by the boot straps”?
- Are you being compared to others? Are you comparing yourself to others?
- Are your choices being dissected and negated as poor or stupid?
These are all things that distract us from personal care and lead to Emotional Exhaustion. They are abusive and unkind. To take control of our pain we must learn to reclaim our voices. Link to an Article on Reclaiming Voice
Guilt. Shame. And Pain.
The final nail in the coffin, so to speak, Guilt, Shame and Pain. Societal demands, Invisible Labor Demands and our inability to keep up with it all (Emotional Exhaustion) lead to guilt and shame and I believe PAIN.
The “Why Me?” of the “No Obvious Trigger” is Stress, Emotional Labor, Guilt and Shame. The concept that somehow what was originally done by a team of people – running a house – will now be done by a team of 1. The secretary that used to track all the correspondence, manage the mail and the various calendars is you. The person who managed the groceries and meals, plus the person who ran for the groceries, plus the cook who prepared everything is now you. The maid and gardeners are now you. The nanny or au pair is now you. The work 8 to 5 and bring home the bacon is now you. The launderer, seamstress, and butler are all you. In modern society the household team of 7 people are now you while you work full time. And the modern society has convinced you that you are failure if you cannot replace 7 people while working full time and for women and marginalized for 40% less than everyone else. Adding financial distress to the tower of overwhelm.
So What Do We Do?
We begin the changes that will bring us back to ourselves.
We reclaim our voices. We speak up. We do so with grace. We do it through education. We do it with support and community.
We stop the emotional labor over extension (Emotional Exhaustion). We work on our own needs and personal care first.
We take steps and plan the course to put the lid on passive aggressive and abusive chatter within ourselves and our environments.
We find the “Beauty in Me – You – Us” and claim it back.
We allowed our personal needs to get lost in our constructed obligations to others and finally we broke. We literally wore ourselves out, stressed ourselves out and as anything that’s placed under constant stress – we crumbled. Our bodies said “no” in a way we couldn’t push away any longer.
Sisters, Friends, Community
Burn Out, Emotional Exhaustion, Stress, Loneliness, Lack of Support, Fatigue
Alone, by your boots straps, independent, isolated – this is not the way to handle burn out and stress.
Burn Out, Emotional Exhaustion, Stress are best handled by asking for help, by having your support team support you, to remove the guilt of asking for help and to bin the shame that you needed help. We all need help. You are not alone – alone is a lie we are sold that harms our mental and emotional health.