Living with Chronic Pain
As far as we have progressed on the subject of pain and how to diagnose and treat it, the medical and alternative health care experts are still baffled about what to do with someone who never seems to fully recover from injury or illness. What about the reality of actually living with chronic pain?
Each year in the United States nearly 90 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain, varying from physical ailments to mental and emotional disorders. Needless to say, neither the medical, alternative health care, psychological professions nor those who practice faith-based healing have mastered a sure-fire cure for this complex problem. A lack of cooperative efforts between disciplines to improve upon the efficacy of treatment still prevails, and so the gap between medical thinking and spiritual healing widens even more. As a result, millions of chronically afflicted are left in the middle of nowhere, neglected, and not knowing what to do next or where to go. And in reality, there are very few options for many of the chronically wounded forced to live with chronic pain everyday.
Living with Chronic Pain – The Nature of Daily Torment
I am fascinated with the subject of living with chronic pain because I personally live with daily debilitating pain and know how it feels to be caught in this gap. About fifteen years ago I was introduced to chronic pain. What started out as something that I felt I could cope with turned into a very real nightmare. Pain took on a whole new meaning. Not your ordinary, everyday pain such as stubbing your toe, or burning yourself while cooking – but chronic, unceasing pain — pain with no apparent beginning or end.
To begin understanding the nature of living with chronic pain, think about water from a scalding geyser directing its powerful forces upon a beautiful, full-sized tree. Imagine thousands of boiling water droplets bombarding that timber over time. In your mind, look closely at the tree through a pair of binoculars – what do you see? Look closely. Changes are visible in its shape, color, and content. It has lost substance and identity. Time and scientific discovery will not replace its once-beautiful wholeness. The same thing applies for someone living with chronic pain. Like the affect of that sizzling water upon a once-thriving tree, I underwent dramatic changes when exposed to a continual barrage of pain impulses. Pain roughened my appearance and robbed me of the completeness of who I thought I was. Internally, I was stretched to, and then beyond, the breaking point.
Living with Chronic Pain – A New Vision for Hope and Healing
Much has transpired for me while living with chronic pain. For me, I truly feel as if I’ve been through a seminary of suffering. The beginning stages of healing started when I began to understand two lessons. First, the path to healing is not a direct shot from anguish to pain-free joy. True healing occurs when the human soul can experience freedom from its circumstances no matter the restrictions. Often the ideal path to healing sojourns from suffering to freedom and then to inexpressible peace. Second, I learned the importance to look beyond my own circumstances. It was then that I recognized my pain was not an exclusive matter to bear. It needed to be shared with others who also suffer in order for me to participate in the pain of humanity. This is why I invite you on a shared journey of faith toward true healing. .