Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pain Opened My Eyes

Written By Don Shetterly

Here are my observations about my experiences right now, and I'm recording them to help myself not to forget as well as hopefully help others by sharing what I've been through.  This is not an easy experience dealing with dental pain, but I am trying to learn as much as I can as I go through it on my open.  The pain is opening my eyes.

While I know that pain will get your attention and will increase until it does, sometimes I know we (and this includes myself) numb and disconnect from it so much that it takes a baseball bat to wake us up.  I know that, and I'm sure most people do, but somehow we still numb and disconnect from the pain.

I've realized that the dental pain I'm dealing with is something I've been living with for some time now.  I've altered so many things unconsciously just to deal with the pain and numb it.  In fact, I didn't realize I had even done this.

For example, when eating, I have learned to eat on the side of my mouth to avoid the pain.  Another example is we have learned to eat things I can eat, so I didn't have to experience the pain.  I've learned to just live with it because the fear of dealing with the pain was so great that I just numbed my conscious thought to it.

That's the thing we humans do.  We numb and disconnect our conscious thought and awareness to the pain.  We do it without realizing that we do.  We do it automatically.  As much healing work as I've done on my mind and body with respect to trauma, I still do this.  It is an unconscious behavior.

Pain is there, and even if we feel some pain in our body, our unconscious behavior can minimize it or alter how we see it.  It can keep us from truly seeing all aspects of it.  More importantly, it prevents us from seeing beyond it and framing our mindset and perspective about the bigger picture in life in a way that opens up to possibility not restricts us from being more than we are.

As I write this, I feel like
  • Pain is exhausting.
  • Pain takes over my life. 
  • It feels heavy.
  • It prevents me from seeing things in clearness and reality.
  • Often I don't completely know it is there.
  • Often I disconnect from it.
  • Pain increased to the point of getting my attention.
  • I sometimes close my eyes to the pain.
  • I numb myself to the pain without being aware of it
  • I find ways to disconnect from the pain automatically.

One thing the dentist said that was like a big ah-ha moment for me was that "I deserved to live a life without this pain." While that may be one of those statements that sound so simple, it was anything but that to me.  I sometimes see the wounded part of my life that doesn't deserve to live a life differently than the trauma and abuse that was done to me.

I record these things as part of my own processing of the events that are unfolding.  It is my way of making sense of all that is happening in my life at this moment.


As I go through this process and learn more about my life, I realize that all this time I've been trying to numb and disconnect from it, that it was taking far more energy than if I would have just got it treated.

Yes, I know it is easier to write those words than to put them into practice, but I can't help but think, "I should have taken care of this a couple of years ago because it might not have been as bad."  Hopefully I've learned from this and my intent is to not let myself forget the ways that pain has opened my eyes.

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