How do we express our pain?

4

Life is a mix of pain and happiness. We are sometimes blessed with joy we feel will never end, just to be hit hard by something that’s crushing us for good (or at least that’s how we feel in that moment). I’d like to write today about our pain, not the physical one, that we can ‘solve’ with a painkiller, but the one that’s really hard to cope with. How do we express and cope with our pain? How can you react, when you feel like you’ll never be able to get up again, when life, as you knew it, will never be the same again?

Laughing hysterically

We don’t like ‘making a scene’, so we turn our tears into laughter. It’s ‘artificial’, it’s not ‘us’, but it distracts from what we really feel inside. We laugh like crazy and hide the scars, only to get back home, or somewhere ‘safe’ to really break down in tears. We don’t like to show others the amount of pain we are in, so this ‘act’ works really well.

Smile and try to move on

Just broken up with your lover? You’d never accept her/him to see you in pain. So you act ‘normal’, smile and pretend nothing happened. Your voice is still trembling and somewhere, deep down, your eyes are darkened with pain. But you act relaxed and try not to show any pain. And sometimes, it works.

We’re being professional and ‘serious’

Sometimes you can’t show any pain or be distracted. You have to be ‘there’ and do your job, show no ‘feelings’ and not encumber anyone with your pain. I had to do this a lot as a radio DJ. Nobody cares you just had an accident or someone died in your family. Once you’re ‘on air’ you need to be happy and funny. Back in 1998, when I was still a beginner at the station, the driver who had to take me to my morning show, hit a car. We had almost 50miles/h and the car we were in was very small and weak. I hit my head and my left knee (the exact knee that’s acting up now).

After the initial impact, we looked at each other, saw we’re OK, moved our arms and legs and tried to get out of the car. I put a napkin on my forehead (was slightly bleeding), and walked to the radio station, since I knew my show was almost starting. My left knee started hurting like crazy half an hour after and I started trembling from the shock after starting my show. It took me few minutes to come down (was alone in the studio and started feeling some horrible neck and knee pains), while the music was playing. I then tried to speak few times, so that my show didn’t have to suffer. My folks, who were listening to the radio, felt something happened, they were the only ones to realize I wasn’t ‘myself’, all my coleagues and the bosses thought I had the accident after the show since ‘you actually sounded very normal to us’.

I had another accident one year after (same month, May) – was riding my bike and a car hit me. I ‘jumped’ on my head and right shoulder (which, as you can guess, will never be ‘normal’ again) got dislocated. Ten hours after the accident, with almost no use in my right arm (was hurting like crazy), I had to do an 8 hour show at the radio (promised a coleague I’d do his show too). I was in serious pain, could use ONLY my left arm, had to set my right hand on the mouse to click (so that I could change the songs to be broadcasted) and not move the arm at all, while speaking, otherwise I’d scream in pain. I did my 8 hour show, even if, using the left hand only and being in such huge pain didn’t make it easier.

But you can’t show pain on air. Your audience is there to be entertained, so you dry your eyes for 1 minute and try to be upbeat and happy. Then, for the next 10-15 minutes, you can cry your eyes out.

Another horrible moment for me was in 2007, when I started my small company. I was so happy about it and the next day I had a meeting with a potential client. Woohoo… That night my grandmother had a heart attack, so I started my day in the hospital, hoping and praying she won’t die. At 8 a clock, white from exhaustion and stress, I had to meet with my client and close the deal. And I did it, then got back to the hospital  to see if she was still alive. You can’t be distracted, even if someone you love deeply could be ‘gone’ by the time you have to do your job. Fortunately she’s still alive, even if very sick, and my business is thriving.

Sometimes the pain is too much ..

I had one moment like this in my life. In 2004 my grandfather died. I was raised by my father and his parents, so my grandpa was MY FATHER to me. He died fast and his passing away really changed my life forever. I still remember that pain floored me back then. I cried for days, was so depressed that I messed up all my college exams that summer. Couldn’t learn, could barely go to my job and do my show, then cry my eyes out again.

That’s when I really felt like there’s no God. He can’t accept this, he can’t put me through all this pain, it’s undeserved and so wrong. It took me and my family quite some time to adjust, even financially, since his pension was helping us go from one month to another. We were a poor family and my wage was dismal. My grandma was close to a heart attack herself and it was hard to keep her optimistic about the future. She lost her husband of almost 50 years, we lost any sort of financial security, we were .. let me put it like a lady .. screwed.

In that moment I had to really grow up. I was no longer ‘their girl’, I was the adult who could and HAD to do something. I promised my family that they will never starve, as long as I am alive, no matter where I am in this world and acted on my promise. Got myself a second job, took my exams and from then on, I was the ‘pillar’ and the real ‘man’ of the house.

Anyway, those weeks are still the worst time of my life and I really hope to never go through something like this again …

That’s how I experienced pain so far and how I was able to cope with it. What about you?

4 COMMENTS

  1. First and foremost, this is an excellent post, dojo. Pain is an interesting subject, one I’ve been dealing with quite a bit this past year. I thought before this year that I knew what pain was, but so much has happened that has opened my eyes and shone me that I had no idea what it could be like. In March, a very close friend of the family passed away unexpectedly. She had been in my life since the day I was born and was someone I could count on no matter what. It was so hard to put on a smile and get through the day, but I did it. Just when I thought that I was “over it” my father passed away less than a month later. He had been in the hospital for some time, but the doctors said that he was getting better; they had even planned to discharge him soon and then one day he was gone.
    Sometimes I don’t know how I got through all the pain I was going through from those deaths and just with overall stress from being in school, during finals no less. I couldn’t have done it without my family and especially without my husband. I tried to mask my pain, but sometimes I failed at it and just let it take over. I think I’ve gotten stronger from it and though I miss both of those people very much, I know they’re with me and wouldn’t want me to hurt because they’re gone. Coping not easy, to say the least, but sometimes you have no choice but to put on a smile and push through the day.

  2. Felicia, you’ve been through a lot, that’s clear 🙁

    I do find that TIME does heal. We’re getting close to 10 years since my grandpa died and it’s easier to think about him and not start crying again. I can now look at his death in a calm way and not feel like it ripped me apart as it felt back then. Having work to do on a daily basis keeps you distracted and having a great support system (you husband and the rest of the family) is indeed a blessing.

    I hope that you’ll feel happiness once again, because it’s possible, even after such a huge loss 🙂

  3. Felicia, I’m so sorry to hear about what you’ve been through. i can’t even imagine dealing with so much pain.
    Life goes on and I agree with Dojo’s point of view. Life goes on, in time the wounds tend to heal even if there are still scars left.

  4. Great article dojo. I also find that time heals a lot of things. You do not forgive or forget but you come to terms with the issue and learn how to get past it. I have had hard times in the past with family, friends and relationships but time is the main cure. You just have to wait and look on the bright side and hope the next day will be better.

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