What Is Your Pain Trying To Tell You?
Posted on January 21, 2022 by Anna Nyeste, One of Thousands of ADD ADHD Coaches on Noomii.
Pain is a signal that something is wrong. But we're rarely taught how to listen to what it's saying. When we do, everything changes.
When I was a kid, we spent a lot of time in the car with my mom. I’m the middle child of three and she was usually the one ushering us to and from school, practices, rehearsals, appointments, etc. Seeing as we were normal human children, we were often obnoxious as hell and would fight constantly. Well, my older brother and I would fight. My little brother is 5 years younger so he would usually just cry – either from the noise or the fact that I had likely just punched him simply for existing. I honestly don’t know how my mom didn’t try to sell us more often. I would have.
Often, our arguments and tantrums deteriorated to the point where my mom would likely have wrecked the car had we lived in a city with more than like 80 people in it. But whenever we got to the breaking point – or rather whenever she got to the breaking point – my mom would do something that I remember so clearly — she’d crank the car radio up to the max to drown out anything within a two-mile radius. Apparently, minivans could bump.
It would be so fucking loud that all of us would throw our hands over our ears and cry or yell for her to turn it back down and promise on our allowance that we wouldn’t so much as make another peep for the rest of the car ride if she’d just make it stop. Maybe this is why I never got into heavy metal. It may also be why I yell “I can’t hear you” 43 times a day at my husband in the next room. huh.
Eventually, my mom would turn the radio back down and whatever semblance of peace we knew at that time would return until we forgot that we were monstrous children and started it back up again at home. But for the time being, it worked.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Specifically in reference to our experience with physical and emotional pain. Because pain is a signal from our brains that something is wrong. But we’ve been conditioned to avoid or ignore pain. It’s unwanted and uncomfortable and we don’t believe we have the ability to fully manage it. So we create all sorts of excuses and distractions and identifications and rules to pretend it doesn’t exist or we delude ourselves into believing that it’s not even affecting us if we’re not paying attention to it.
But you see, pain is smarter than that. And it’s persistent AF. Pain knows it serves a purpose and it refuses to cease until that purpose has been realized. So the longer and harder we try to ignore its existence, the louder it’s going to get. Until the point where it cranks up the volume to the max and makes you cover your ears with your hands and promise to do whatever it wants if it will just stop.
So we treat the symptoms of the pain and say “There, are you happy? Now please go away!” But that wasn’t the real issue to begin with. The physical pain never is. And until we accept that the discomfort and unhappiness we continue to experience is due to an underlying root cause that has yet to be acknowledged, it will continue to blast our entire systems with the loudest noise you’ve ever heard.
Sounds exhausting, right? It is. Believe me. Exhaustion is one of the most defeating symptoms of living with chronic pain or illness. And when I say chronic pain I don’t just mean the physical variety. If you live in a general state of distress, discomfort, unhappiness, apathy, or despair, you’ve lived with chronic pain. But you don’t have to.
I don’t know if I will ever truly know what it is that lives inside of me that continued to tell me during the years of living with physical pain that the doctors were wrong. That the diagnoses, or lack thereof, were pointing me in the wrong direction and that regardless of the certainty with which these “experts” assured me that there was no answer to my “mystery” diagnosis and that I was destined to live a life of misery, I knew, something in me knew, there was an answer.
Because my volume was maxed one too many times. My speakers were about to blow, I could feel it. But there was something even louder coming from within. Pushing me to keep going. To keep asking. To keep seeking. To keep learning. Something deep down knew that I was the only one who was going to be able to solve the mystery. And I did.
And I continue to keep piecing together the puzzle every day. I’ve learned so much in the past few years but the biggest lesson is that I have so much more to learn. The education of my Self never ends. When it does, the pain returns. It’s that simple. The more I get to know who I really am – not who I thought I was supposed to be or who I thought I had to be, but who I was only ever meant to be – the easier it gets to hear the music without needing someone to blow out the speakers.
So ask yourself, do you listen to that voice when it tells you something’s off? Do you know your Self well enough to hear the message without the blaring pain or noise? Is there something deep within you that refuses to accept that this is all there is or all there ever will be? If you don’t, could you?
Whether your pain is physical and prevents you from doing the things you want to do or experiencing the life you want to live, or it’s emotional and keeps you from receiving the love, joy, and pleasure that you inherently deserve, or it’s mental and keeps you feeling locked in a prison that no one else can see and feels impossible to escape, there is more to your story.
Consider this your volume being cranked to the max. If you need a little help, I’m sure my mom will physically come to visit you wherever you live, pandemic be damned, and max it out for you. I’m genuinely not kidding. But you don’t need that. You just have to believe that you already have everything you need to solve your own mystery.
So start living like the main character in your own story and accept that there’s work that needs to be done. But it doesn’t need to be done alone. And it doesn’t need to be done the way you’ve been told it should. Life is a never-ending cliffhanger with a new surprise on every page. There’s pain and there’s pleasure. There’s love and heartbreak. Confusion and clarity. But there’s always more.
Accepting that we can be causing our own pain is excruciating at first. Just me suggesting that has likely infuriated so many people. I know it did when I heard it. it feels untrue and cruel and hateful to even mention it. But here’s why it’s a good thing… if we’re the ones causing our own pain, it means we’re the ones who can make it stop.
You don’t have to believe me. But you do have to believe in your Self. It’s pretty damn life-changing when you do.