What happens if I don’t think about my suffering, now or in the past?
Hello sleepy friends, Dawn from Positively Narcolepsy and Going Beyond Coping dot com. Today I want to talk about suffering – physical, mental and/or emotional suffering. It’s something that most people know at one point or another, and the chronically ill or pained know intimately. I am not a doctor, or a mental health professional. I can’t tell you what will help you cope with your own personal suffering because I am not you.
But, it’s my hope, and the reason I write this stuff, and make these videos, that there will be something in my story, my words, my experience, that you can cling to, that you can put through the YOU filter and adapt it to your own wants and needs in life, and find your way to coping, coping more, coping better, and maybe, just perhaps, find your way to going beyond coping, into thriving and loving your life. I’m going to go a little deeper into the written part and just wing it for the video, so the script won’t be exact.
This is another of my What happens if I don’t Wednesday series where I talk about how I changed my life for the better by asking myself (repeatedly) “what happens if I don’t?” There are many of these now on the videos tab on the Positively Narcolepsy page and on my YouTube channel GoingBeyondCoping without spaces.
So, what happens if I don’t think about my suffering? Quick answer is… I feel better. I don’t like to deal in “why,” I prefer to deal in what. What was I thinking about and what could I do about it? I go into that more in my Killing the Monkey in your mind video.
There are many forms of suffering and, to be quite frank, I’ve been through a lot of them. I was ridiculed and ostracized from first through seventh grade, dealt with abuse – in many forms, not gonna get into it but yeah, no fun, undiagnosed for 11 years with narcolepsy, chronically ill for 38 years, I have 9 disorders + other stuff not worth counting but still challenging, been attacked by a dog and have a set of teeth scar on the back of my leg, abandoned repeatedly, mistreated, taken advantage of, disowned by my first born child… I tell you all this not to whine but just so you’ll understand when I tell you… I’m familiar with suffering.
Back in 2011-2012 I hit rock bottom with my health and decided to take the opportunity to rebuild myself. I always find it humorous that some of the best advice I ever got came from some of the worst characters in my story. One of them was, “Only when you see your part in it all will you be able to change anything.” I’m quite sure it was some meme they saw online because they said it like an insult but, what it did was open my eyes to the fact that I was the only constant in it all. That doesn’t mean it was my “fault,” it just means that who I was as a person was essentially opening a door and letting all these unsavory characters in. The door, was my brain and the way I thought about myself when I was around those characters.
Most of us suffer on a daily basis, and we think about it a lot. We think about how tired we are, or how much pain we’re in, how nobody understands. We think about how long it’s been since we felt good, how much more we used to be able to do, how our social situations and financial situations are taxed to the max, leaving us often suffering guilt, shame, loneliness or some other negative thing.
At rock bottom you think about all those things and, if you’re not careful, you can think that somehow you “deserved” them all… and that’s just not the truth, that’s just something your brain tells you when thought monkeys are running the show.
I went quiet. Well, quiet for me lol. I stopped talking about my health, my ex, my problems. You can’t really stop thinking about something if you’re discussing it with people and I was SOOOO sick of my story. Tired of living it and tired of talking about it, so I stopped.
Thoughts about my childhood would sneak in and I would remind myself that while all those things happened to me, they didn’t happen to the me I am now, I wouldn’t let them happen now… I know better now. So, there’s no reason to think about it.
Something would come up and it would be like something from my further past and then all those thoughts generated feelings, and not good ones… ones like “this always happens to me.” And then I’d think about all the times it happened and, before too long, I’m sad, I’m weak, I’m tired, I’m aching in my body. Nearly every time. I needed to stop it. I reassured myself that I decide what I think about so even though it’s what happened in the past, and it just happened again, I’m gonna find out … what happens if I don’t think about this?
Fear pops up, the one telling you that if you don’t figure out why it keeps happening, it’s gonna keep happening but, oddly enough, it’s the fact that you still think about it that puts you back in that victim state.
I reassured myself that I would never “forget” the memory of what happened… the whole “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it” BUT, and it’s a big one, I could think about it again “later” because it’s an experiment lol I’m not wiping my memories, I’m not suppressing or shoving things down… I’m just trying to let them go a little more into the deep storage while I find out what happens.
For the next month, thoughts would come and I’d just say, “nope. Not time yet to think about that, experiments not over.” Yes, I am a dork lol but, it works for me, put it through the YOU filter and think of something more doable to you to say but, if you want to try it, the mind you save may be your own.
Does that make sense? It’s ok to just try stuff, stuff that’s weird or may not seem plausible or that no one else seems to be doing just to see… you gotta pilot your meatsuit for the rest of your days, may as well find out what this sucker can do! Lol, open it up, tinker with the “engine.”
This was a game changer for me, I felt lighter and happier and more capable. I felt more comfortable stepping into my “new” way of being. Which led me to the next experiment, not thinking about my health suffering. Day after day, hell, hour after hour, I physically suffer. Even right now as I’m writing this in the morning and in a few hours when I’m shooting the vid, I’ll be physically suffering from a multitude of symptoms….I’m tired, almost always to one degree or another. I’m in pain, probably a 2/3 always. I have no saliva flow and that’s not fun lol. Hives here and there. Lady problems.
It’s EASY for me to think about my suffering because it’s ALWAYS there, often screaming for attention. But, what happens if I don’t? What happens if I only think about the symptoms and what I can do about them and don’t think about the suffering? So, I tried it lol. I apply my coping skills as best I can, do research, ask people questions but I don’t think about the suffering bit. It just is what it is. Would I like to feel better? Heck yeah! Lol who wouldn’t? But, once you know you can’t… once you’ve exhausted (pun intended) every avenue for relief, thinking about the suffering bit of it is just adding fuel to the fire.
When I have an episode of any kind, it tends to last a long long time. I go months with TMJ issues, I went months with my skin issue. When I look back at those things, I think about the people who helped keep my spirits up, the new massages I learned, the supplements I started to try to help me. I remember what I did to cope through them but I don’t remember suffering… because while I was suffering, I didn’t think about the suffering lol.
I don’t “suffer” any more. When I feel like I am suffering… like this morning, getting ready for work, my butt was flaring. Hot, searing pain in my butt. I put my pain oil on and distracted myself with what I was doing. It hurts, like a 5/6 pain level, but, I got things to do, so I don’t think about the pain. It’s still there but it’s not *up here*
If you’ve ever given birth, it’s kind of the same thing. You can tell your story about your horrific birthing but not feel any of the suffering because you got a beautiful baby out of it, who kept you busy and filled you (hopefully) with joy. If you’ve never given birth, maybe you had a time where you were very hurt or sad, and crying and then a friend said something super funny and despite the suffering, you laughed. And, you felt a little better.
There was a time when I thought if I didn’t talk about my suffering that people would not have proper empathy for me. I discovered the opposite. When they saw how happy I was and how much I was able to accomplish, they tended to be stunned when they found out I have 9 disorders and am tired and in pain all the time. They have more compassion for me, more understanding. Most people also really respect the fact that despite I do a ton for other people, I also put myself first. A lot of people struggle with ego and self-care. Yet, when you put yourself first, you have more for others, and they see that too. It’s EASY to burnout when you’re chronically ill. Avoiding THAT will help you more than anything.
So, what happens if you don’t think about your suffering? Or, talk about it (outside of necessity)? Go find out. Give yourself 30 days and just see what happens!
Make it a great day people, the choice is always yours!