Physical pain is an infliction on the psyche as much as it is a debilitation to the lifestyle. Disappointment in one’s own restricted abilities can create an internal confidence conflict that is hard to shake. I’m sure you have had an experience where an injury not only kept you from doing something, but also nag at you with thoughts of inadequacy with each painful move.
Recently I had to retire from my first love: cosmetology. I’ve developed tendinosis, a degeneration of the tendons in my right shoulder and arm. Sharp, gnawing pain has been chanting the lyrics of one of my dad’s silly song in my mind repeatedly. Have I really become “old, tiered, bent and busted”?
I try to make my weakness no big deal. I’m just injured. Maybe it’s simply time I focus more on my new love: writing and speaking. The thing is, my pain put me in an emotional funk, making it hard to focus at all. I allowed my discouragement to rule my thoughts. When your body is screaming at you to focus on pain, you do.
That may be a logical requirement for healing, but I was battling that logic. To some of us women, it feels more like selfishness to care for ourselves than it does to become discouraged and needy. This confusion can send us on an emotional spiral–like the water being sucked down a drain–into a deep depression.
If there is anything I learned with the loss of my daughter, it is:
Stop the spiral, quick!
Which, of course, is a lot easier said than done. In fact, I cannot even imagine how to plug the drain of depression without either shutting off all emotion or getting help. For me and my husband, it was only by the power of prayer and the support of each other that we learned to redirect our thinking in order to stay away from the drain. Grief has its challenges because the thoughts that begin to “suck you in” are often beautiful memories and changing them feels like disloyalty to the one we love. I guess that’s where our faith came in. We believe God cares and that His plan is perfect even though we do not understand, which makes it easier for us to turn our memories toward thankfulness instead of bitterness. But that’s a blog for another day.
When it comes to injury and pain management, it’s a different ball game–or shall I say: sink.
You may remember from the blog about my embarrassing fall, that I am learning the balance between being desolate and demanding. I don’t want to be the girl who doesn’t care for herself at all; disrespect of self only breeds rejection. Neither do I want to be the girl (ok, getting-old-lady…) who expects everyone else to understand, care about and meet my needs and desires. I am responsible to take care of myself and when there are times I need assistance with what I cannot do, then I need to to request (and allow!) help without whining, manipulating or demanding; this breeds respect.
The thing is, I’m still learning to take responsibility for my emotions as well as my physical needs.
Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23
Last night I threw a party for my girlfriends. I found this great new line of cosmetics, and I wanted them to experience the fiber lashes. Our time together totally lifted my heart out of the drain. My injury hadn’t only caused my early retirement, it also changed my 30-year identity, took my spending money and worst of all: my girlfriend time! No wonder I have been in such a funk.
I know some of us (typically Dramatics, Ingénues and Gamines) need social events more than others (Romantics, Naturals, Classics) but we all need girlfriend time!
If you are feeling down and drained today, explore your heart and consider what you may need to fell joy again. Perhaps you, too, need to throw a party and focus on spoiling others for a change. Or maybe it’s time you spoil yourself. If you find respite in a walk on the beach, excitement in a competitive game, satisfaction in creating something beautiful, or fulfillment in simply being heard, then make the time to care for your needs–emotionally and physically. Remember:
If mamma’ ain’t happpy, ain’t nobody happy!
Taking care of you is actually selfless and makes you will be better able to take care of those who need you.