Dealing with Pain: chronic and emotional


Pain has been a constant companion starting in childhood. Part of it was physical and another part emotional (trauma) pain.

After a professional athletic career of injuries, plus a violent triple rollover on I-5 South in San Diego, my spine was damaged.

A spinal fusion ensued along with killing the nerves in the right side of my neck twice, I ended up in a 15 person chronic pain group.

What was weird, enduring my father’s abuse prepared me for chronic pain.

I had the skills they lacked. They avoided their pain religiously and talked about its great strength. No way as a competitive jock I would give power to anyone or anything like that.

I named my pain, Mr. P., I cussed him and berated him as my enemy. He wanted to control me, stop me from moving my legs.

I had no fear of my pain, I lived with pain throughout childhood, then pro sports.

No pain, no gain is a true statement in sports.

I threw away my opioids and started hiking uphill with intensity.

As everyone else avoided any exercise or taking action, I brought my pain out to compete.

What we fear grows, becomes more and more the unknown with avoidance.

This is true with chronic pain or Ptsd emotional pain.

My chronic pain prepared me for PTSD pain.

I have experienced my PTSD triggers and pain over and over and over.

So have you!

What are you afraid of?

You and I have survived our PTSD eruptions.

Why be afraid?

My PTSD has not surprised me in a long while.

I do not fear my triggers or my PTSD.

Yes, trust is difficult, thoughts are destructive but fear is not a factor.

Can you sit in the middle of your fear?

Can you use slow focused breaths to dissipate those chemicals?

Can you stay present and feel the body sensations of fear?

We can improve with daily action.



17 responses to this post.

  1. Physical pain is a strength for me

    The shame and trauma of ptsd are much harder for me

    My chronic pain started to compress after a month of intense hiking.

    I would cry the pain would be so intense at times

    After a while I was use to my pain being out and me hiking for another 20 minutes back to the house.

    It was a battle to keep moving my legs against Mr. P.

    I was a jock

    I brought chronic pain out into my strength.

    I could compete directly with my pain hiking

    Making the contest about Mr. P. Trying to stop my legs gave me achievement, secreted my own pain killers, (endorphins) and flushed my system of poisins

    Sedentary is closer to death
    Action closer to life

    Take action in the face of fear of the unknown

    One guy followed me out of that chronic pain group

    He got off of 75% of his meds and dialed down the morphine pump

    He changed his live

  2. I have often made life decisions by choosing the option that scares me most. I do not believe in others changing so as not to trigger me.

    I still find being in pain (physical and emotional) a challenge and difficult.

    I really admire how you confronted your pain in such a challenging way. I’d never really considered taking on pain in such a direct way before. This has given me a new perspective.

  3. One of the guys in that chronic pain group followed me out

    Chronic pain only does damage when it reaches that intense level we can not stand anymore

    I give my pain no energy, no attention

    Thinking about my pain gives it blood and synapses of attention and it grows.

    If my pain spikes I have tools to calm it.

    My hiking brought my pain out but did not damage

    I became friends with my pain

    I wish I had this kind of power over my ptsd damage

  4. Thank you for the gratitude.

    If writing this post gives one person a different perspective

    It was well worth it

    I meditate which helps me with the pain

  5. I can relate to the pain management. I have learned skills over the years. Part of it has been ignore the pain and it will go away or at least grow smaller. Part of it has been keep moving and things will loosen up and work better, part of it has been technique like ergonomics and heat therapy. I have arthritis that I am mostly unaware of. Movement and warmth in the right places has made a huge difference. ….. I’ve been thinking a lot about trust lately. Mainly because I have huge trust issues. As a blanket statement I don’t trust anyone not to hurt me. On an individual level though I do trust specific people. Do I think they will never hurt me? No, I know they probably will, we are all human we’re not perfect. When I look at the overall picture I feel secure that they have my best interests at heart. ……. For me trust is a choice. to distrust would be to live in constant fear that someone could hurt me. I choose to take an educated chance on someone. There are plenty of people I don’t trust as far as I could throw them, as the saying goes. But there are plenty of others that I have trusted and not been disappointed. Hurt now and again, yes. Disappointed overall, no. I think pain management and trust management have a lot in common. We can decide it won’t rule our life. I’m living that out right now. I have a new friend that I know little about. I could be wrong but intuition tells me I can trust him. I’m choosing to do that. If I’m wrong I haven’t lost anything, if I’m right my life will be richer for the experience. There are plenty of people in this world who could love us well if we are willing to step out and take a chance. ….. I have to keep reminding myself of this too. It doesn’t come easy just because it’s true.

  6. You probably wonder how did we go from pain to trust. There was something in here that prompted the thought although I’m not seeing it now 🙂

  7. Nice response

    Physical pain
    My physical pain needs only trusting myself

    With other people

    I have specific people I trust

    Then I have acquaintances that have have a shallow trust

    Trusting a mate in a relationship has never happened since college

    Remember I did not attach to either parent

    I have never attached deeply to anyone except my kids and grandkids

    The chance of them betraying me is slim

  8. Yea

    That connection escapes me

    My pain is inside me

    I do not need to trust anyone to handle my pain

    Now I have had operations and adjustments

    But my pain is owned by me

  9. I can relate. I didn’t attach with either parent. It would probably be truer to say they didn’t attach with me. I attached with my ex but he didn’t attach with me. I have many attachments in varying degrees. It’s just sad to never trust again. Distrust is a negative emotion and it does not bring us life or happiness. There is a saying that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. I think the same goes for trust. We win some lose some. It’s a shame to miss out on bright spots we could have had if we were willing to take a chance. Anyway this was only my perspective on things, not an effort to convince you of anything.

  10. Trust and pain have no connection. I think it’s the treatment that is the commonality. I refuse to let distrust rule my world.

  11. I know I am supposed to trust

    I do not agree it is better to love and lose than never loved at all

    My college experience betrayal changed my life

    Destroyed trusting at any deep level

    My last marriage of 17 years

    I packed my suv up and was gone in 36 hours never to look back

    I am only on Facebook to use it for my blog

    I am not going to put my pics and things out there

    What benefit does that give me

    I can be happy in my space with the amount of trust I have

    I have no desire to meet strangers or do small useless conversations with others

    I have always been a loner deep down, even in the midst of people

    My vacation would be in nature away from crowds

  12. I do my thing

    I navigate when the need is there

    I do not think about trusting or distrusting

    I try to enjoy what safe space I have carved out

    This quarantine of 6 foot suits me just fine

  13. I think I am far more trusting
    I do not fear people
    I can be congenial and engaging
    My emotions flow when I see suffering, homeless or the poor

    I am kind to others

    None of that takes the fear of betrayal away

  14. I don’t disagree with most of what you say and I live and am happy in a very similar life style. There is one part in all of this that makes me sad and I don’t know how to express what that is.

  15. Oh there are many things

    My ptsd lay dormant until mid 50’s so subconsciously I practiced habits for five decades

    I avoided people when I could

    I became a salesman’s for a couple decades

    Yes I wonder who that guy was

    Like I said

    I could be life of the party

    Or be afraid to go to that party

    Life has so many contrasts for us

  16. What are you doing that’s working for you? Something that makes life better, not just a coping mechanism.

  17. I hike
    I need that endorphin rush

    The challenge of putting my body under stress is invigorating

    I meditate It is my clam secure place

    I help others it is most gratifying

    I am in an online kundalini meditation group

    I live with my grandkids

    This fills most needs for people

    I use to fill my time doing odd jobs

    Now at 70 I am weaker and have more pain and can not keep busy enough to avoid Ptsd’s impact like I use too

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