I was once told that pain changes you. When I was discussing the pain, I knew that the statement was correct, pain changes you. But I was thinking more directly long term. Pain, or at least the understanding and the experience of pain, changes your perspective, your outlook, your understanding of pain. It does change you in that way.
But what I forgot at the time was how much pain changes you in real time.
Because pain and I are intimate associates, because we walk hand in hand nearly constantly, I forget how much an escalation in the pain can change you in the immediate. Because I try very hard to listen to my body and rest when it says rest, I find it easy to push the knowledge of what pain (the sharp gnawing searing life draining immediate pain that the intimacy sometimes covers over) can really mean and how it can really affect everything about you when it comes crashing down.
Because of RA I can understand the way that people with RA feel, especially when they are first diagnosed and the world seems to be crashing down.
Because of RA I can understand forever conditions (Sjogrens for my son, Epilepsy and gastroparesis for my daughter… the list is long).
But because of pain, the pain that sneaks up out of nowhere and beats the snot out of you when you least suspect it, I also know that my temper gets very short, partly because of the pain and partly because of the exhaustion that comes as a result of the pain.
I end up saying things that, if the pain wasn’t there in its bright, blinding, glaring snow white intensity, I would not ordinarily say even if I don’t have much of a filter. I end up hurting people, pissing people off…
Add in pushing myself too hard, even when I flair and flair badly, and it makes for very bad day(s)/week(s). I hate being short tempered but I know that it comes and that when it does all I can do is try to fight it. Unfortunately, it is hard to fight it when you feel like during those same times is when people become more needy, more demanding, when they require more gentleness.
Sometimes it would be really nice if I could find the place to have the gentleness that I know I need to give to others. And I wish with all of my heart that I didn’t feel like I just wish I could get that gentleness that I need to give given back to me when I really really need it.