A few months ago, I woke up with a terrible pain in my lower back. The type of pain that makes your whole body tense up and makes moving next to impossible. I do not understand what I did to cause this back ache. What I knew was - it hurt. It hurt a lot. If you have ever hurt your back, you know the type of pain that I am talking about. According to the National Association of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (Yes, there is such a group), 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetime. I am not happy to say that I am one of the 80% (at least I am in the majority!) A friend shared this take on back pain: “Once you have experienced back pain, you are in pain or you are living in fear of being in pain for your entire life!”
My back hurt so much that I could not focus. I needed to get out of bed. Not an easy task let me tell you! Ugh! Have you ever tried to get dressed when your back hurts? OMG, you can not bend over, you can not stretch, you can not twist. I am sure that I looked like I was playing a game of “Twister“. As I was trying to get moving, my cat was at the foot of my bed, not so patiently waiting for food. Every once in a while she would meow in a loud, long cry for attention. I know she was saying; “What the heck are you doing? Stop being so weird. Life is not about you, where is my food!?”
My back was getting better, then I pushed myself to do more and made it worse. My fault entirely. I own it, but I am not happy I did it. The pain in my back is like a large angry bear. If I sit too long, stand too long, walk too much, breathe too hard, it rears its large and ugly head and growls loudly. It is also a very sneaky and mean bear. Sometimes he lulls me into a false sense of peace, making me think; all is well, and the world good again. Then BANG, he’s back in my back making normal functioning impossible! I named this bear “Bane” because he is the bane of my current existence. I feel so guilty about these feelings when there are so many people who go through way more pain and suffering than I. Just another emotion to add to the pile.
One thing that I am finding hard to deal with is all the stories and advice that people are offering. Lot’s of people have terrible back stories to share, and they are happy to share all the details with me. People have also shared various ideas on what I should do. From telling me I should go to their doctors, chiropractors, masseuse, personal trainers, to offering me a wide range of drugs (legal and illegal) oils, creams, and braces. As I was sharing with my husband what everyone had been saying, I had a sudden ahh-ha moment. (actually, more like a thump on the head.) One that I am not proud to admit.
Sometimes, I do the same thing. I try to let the people I care about know they are not alone by sharing stories. I give them advice on what I have done in the past. I share the names of professionals I trust. I don’t even realize when I do it. I think it is because I want to make sure people know how much I care. I want to fix their problems. I want to make them all better. I want them to be happy!
Now that I realize my natural reactions. I know that I need to change them. From this point forward, I will actively work on changing my responses. I know what I am supposed to do. I need to put it into action. Easier said then done for a verbal processing Ennagram type 2 who was born to serve. I will be more conscious of what I say and do. I will be present. I will listen. I will reflect on what I hear. I will show that I sincerely care and I will share that if they need help, all they need to do is ask.
I found a great article about this topic on the website Psych Central.
Here is the link: https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-sit-with-someone-elses-pain/.
It is a quick read, and they share a lot of useful information.
I also need to understand that when people are sharing their stories and advice with me they are sharing a part of themselves and are genuinely trying to help, and I am blessed to have every one of them in my tribe!