There isn't one single reason I can give for 'coping', I think a few things play a role. The biggest of all, I believe is my own brain's chemistry and built in ability, something I don't believe I have control over and was born with (and how greatful I am for this ultimate survival gift!), but coming in second, or even on par, is my husbandly support, Theo. I don't know what I would have done if Theo hadn't understood my pain and my eratic injury and hadn't supported me 200%. Seriously there were days I thought I was crazy...
I was active, I had capacity, boundless energy to execute my creative thoughts (and meet the expectations of a full social calendar!). I worked veeeeery long and wonderful days, I walked everywhere, lunching, dining, starting every day at a local cafe, picking up art materials, walking the dog, running the dog, to Carlton, the city, Fitzroy, I skipped through the streets of the great arrondissements of Paris when on annual holidays, and swore by my four day a week yoga routine that unravelled my body and had me feeling like Gumby warm to the ends of my extremities... There was no 'tired', 'sore', 'fatigued', 'have to rest', there was no 'pain'. Like I said, it was bliss.
Chronic pain is a waste of life’s precious time, its a huge hold up. But if you have to deal with it then you have to find a way to cope through the awful journey and survive it. Before my precious implant (Professor Teddy I love you!!), I couldn’t move much without pain, everything hurt and it hurt all the time. And yet, my gorgeous friends and family kept telling me ‘but you look so good for someone who’s in pain all day!’ (Uum… thanks??).
Chia Moan's painting Shrinking World aims to shed light on the effects of living with severe and persistent pain. Moan was among artists who spoke to pain sufferers and says she remembers one patient who said she felt like Alice disappearing down the rabbit hole, with the opening at the top growing smaller and smaller.
My creativity has been one of my main coping mechanisms through my chronic pain life. It's the place I go to feel free, release the steam, express my pain, and to get distracted to the point of pain! But it's worth it every time. There isn't a lot I can achieve with my capacity so one drawing, one painting over months, one post on my blog... anything, it's all worth it.
How many definitions for pain signals are out there? It doesn't stop and I have to be really honest here, it all sounds like hogwash for a person who was unstoppable and prior to her injury had the stamina of a bull (as a friend once described me).
Its limiting living in a birdcage!!! But when you are injured, unable to work, need to rely on a system for money, you don't want to risk losing your only source of income. So you sit, gagged, locked up, don't attempt or try anything and that can be most damaging. How did I survive in the birdcage?