Saturday, January 26, 2013

Book Review: Belinda and reflections on Pain

So how do you deal with your pain? Emotional pain. This is a question that I have been pondering for a while. Do you admit to yourself that you are in pain? If you do acknowledge it, should you share it with others? And who should these others be?

I've just finished reading a story of Belinda and how she survived a horrific car accident. She fought for her life, and then fought for her body to work again whilst grappling with the many losses that her disability brought her. I have met Belinda a couple of times - in fact Iblogged about her a few years ago. I don't know her well, but I was interested to understand more about her journey .
On the cover of Belinda's book is a picture of broken egg, which comes from the quote: "You cannot go back and unscramble eggs. There is no way to undo what has been done. Let’s move out of our past failures, and starting with our scrambled eggs, learn how to make soufflĂ©!" by Barbara Johnson

Her book is really a diary that she kept over the 10 years following her accident, and she shares her triumphs and her frustrations. In some ways it was hard to read, as I was overwhelmed by the multitude of challenges that she faced and her progress was slow - requiring grit and determination. She also shared honestly about her emotional pain and loneliness. Also hard to read. Oh how we prefer the successes, the joys, the feel-good bubbles that make stories attractive. To be with someone in their time of aching is difficult - part of me wants to run from people's sorrows. Yet it is in that place of struggle that so much is learnt. And through her writing, it was when she took me into those dark places that I gained the most.

I’ve not been shy to share my difficulties on this blog and with others in my social circle. Explaining our challenges is one thing, but I don’t give myself much space or time to dwell on the pain associated with the difficulties. My attitude to life is to recognise the difficulty and then I move straight on to seeking a strategy in order to overcome it, and if that not possible find a way to manage life with it.

In the last couple of months I have found a tugging from my inner being to give myself permission to feel sad about the difficulties. My inner being obviously thought this would be healthy and appropriate, much to the reluctance of my more conscious self. The reality is that I am fearful that if I let myself feel the ache and sorrow then it will just be downward spiral into depression.

Yet I have come to see that by not giving myself space to “feel the pain”, I end up unexpectedly imploding. By imploding I mean seriously over-reacting to a situation, being assaulted by intense negative feelings and experiencing a desperate yearning to run away from my life.

But where is a wise and safe space to share this pain, and the reason for the pain. Is it fair to Matt that I share with the world all the ways he frustrates me? I am unsure if sharing this with the blogging world would be dishonouring to Matt. Yet by not sharing the hard things, then my blog ends up looking like life is easy and Matt is just sailing through. Yes there are joys and triumphs, but there are also tough, heart-aching times. 

In Belinda’s book she was very real about her pain. Maybe one can be in a book, where the reader sees the pain in the context of the whole story. Blogging is different because people can just dip in and out – and can completely miss the big picture. Hmm not sure yet.

But I do know that this year I am going to be a lot more honest with myself about acknowledging the soreness of our challenges. I will seek courage to verbalise this to close family and friends. And not just fast track to finding a solution or coping strategy.

1 comment:

Inspector Clouseau said...

Part of the deal is having people in one's support group who are not judgmental and simply offer support.

Nice blog work. I came across your blog while “blog surfing” using the Next Blog button on the Nav Bar located at the top of my site. I frequently just travel around looking for other blogs which exist on the Internet, and the various, creative ways in which people express themselves. Thanks for sharing, and best wishes for the New Year.