Pain – You get to decide

Pain is a feeling. Pain is also a sign that something is not right.

With respect to life coaching, we consider pain as a circumstance, as a neutral fact. And from there explore the possibility of thoughts associated with it.

In Gynecology, women suffer from 2 types of pains – normal and abnormal.

Normal pain comes monthly for a few days in the form of dysmenorrhea or the pain associated with labor, or the low back pain associated with the pregnancy, or the pain when learning to breastfeed. It is “supposedly” normal to have these pains.

And then there is a more agonizing abnormal pain. Period pain associated with endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cyst. Some have chronic pelvic pain associated with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease, a first or a second-trimester miscarriage, pain during repeated internal examination in long labor, pain with heavy delivery bleeding, pain during a urinary tract infection, pain with blocked milk ducts.

No matter what type of pain, it is still very painful and our thoughts about it are what makes it worse.

Our mind doesn’t differentiate between normal or abnormal pain. It physically feels the same. We in the medical field objectify it by asking our patients to score on a scale of 0 to 10 but that is just to document it.

For the patient, at that moment, it is 10 because she reached the doctor.

For the doctor, it means what pain relief we can offer her on the analgesic ladder. Sometimes oral paracetamol works like magic and sometimes they need morphine and sometimes nothing works and the patient continues to suffer.

I have seen all of those.
The reality is that pain is painful. Our thoughts about it make it worse.
We can have positive, neutral, or negative thoughts about it.
 Someone who suffers from PCOS and never gets regular periods feels blessed to have menstrual cramps because that validates her womanhood. Someone who is avoiding pregnancy is ecstatic when she gets her periods cramps because she escaped this month of having unprotected intercourse.

Someone who has a full healthy life and has nothing to complain about, considers menstrual pains as a part of her life and pops in a pain killer, and moves on. Someone who has a huge assignment to submit at work takes whatever available to soothe her way into finishing her deadline.

And there are those who are suffering emotionally. The ones who are struggling to get pregnant, those who are having a recurrent miscarriage, those who bleed heavily during periods, those who need to visit the hospital for morphine.

This article is specifically for those who are emotionally suffering from pain.

Explore all the thoughts about your pain.

Like- I can’t handle this, I don’t want this, I want to feel better now, I should not be suffering like this, I don’t like this, something is wrong with me.

These thoughts produce feelings of victimhood, resistance, urgency, resentment, defeated, inadequate.

These feelings make us hide behind our pain and we continue to suffer for as long as the pain exists.

Instead, let’s explore if these thoughts are even true, and if true are they serving us?

After answering the above questions, let’s question how would we like to think about our pain?
I have pain every month and I can deal with it. This pain is a part of me and I accept it in all its forms. Some days are bad and it’s ok. Nothing has gone wrong, especially when I don’t need to see a doctor. I got this.

These feelings make us feel empowered, accepting, allowing, courageous.

We make a plan for the painful days of how we will cope with the pain.

Maybe sleep more if possible, eat well. If at work, slow down and ask for help if needed. Have a high fiber diet so that constipation doesn’t worsen the pain. Empty the bladder frequently as a full bladder makes the pain more. Take safer analgesia if needed. Use a hot bag if that works. Avoid tampons or menstrual cups if that makes it worse. Go for a walk if you feel like it or just rest and watch a movie.

You get to decide.

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