Does Pain Steal Enjoyment from your Life?

Does pain prevent you from going out, from going to weddings and parties? Do you have to turn down invitations because of your pain? Does it stop you from enjoying life?
Does pain have to stop everything?

Does your pain stop you from doing everything you enjoy?

Supposing you are invited to a friend’s wedding or your five-year-old granddaughter’s birthday party, do you turn down the invitations?

Or perhaps you have a favourite hobby – painting or photography, for example, do you ignore your muse?

Even if your pain is on a fairly low or mid-level at the time, does it still control everything, because of the fear that you might feel worse?

You really want to go to that wedding. You know your granddaughter would be disappointed if you weren’t at her party. You haven’t painted for such a long time and you are feeling inspired. You have spotted a goldfinch at the birdfeeder and you’d like to capture it with your camera. You are having fairly low-level pain at the moment, but you know that doing those activities will worsen or trigger your pain. What do you do?

Do you always say no? 

Should we say ‘no’ to absolutely everything?

I don’t really do a lot with my life. I’m not complaining about that. As I explained in an earlier post, I enjoy the small things. But sometimes I want to go somewhere or do something which I know will have an effect on my pain. Should I always say, “no”?

No – to absolutely everything?

I don’t think so. I still want to reach out for those little bits of normality. Actually, I shouldn’t use that word. I should say enjoyment, adventure or socialising instead. What on earth is normality anyway? (But that’s another post for another day.)

Can’t we just ignore the pain & fear and say yes?

It’s not always that simple, is it? I mean, when our pain is really bad, it would be silly, if not impossible, to attend a wedding. And if your pain is anything like mine, the levels can fluctuate from day to day (or even hour to hour). That means that making plans can be awkward.

But fear of it shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the ‘better’ days.

If your pain is on a level you can cope with, perhaps you could accept invitations instead of giving an outright no. Perhaps you could come to a compromise. Go to the wedding for an hour or so. Pop in to see your granddaughter blow out the candles on her birthday cake.

And those hobbies? Whether it’s painting, woodworking, baking, or jewellery making – hobbies are important. They’re a good pain distraction. Perhaps adapt things. Make sure you’re comfortable. Set time limits. 

These are just examples. There are lots of things which we often give up because of our chronic pain. But we really shouldn’t allow it to steal everything we enjoy.

Compromise, adapt, set time limits, don't give up everything because of pain. Enjoy life despite pain.

Best-laid Plans…

So, you went to that wedding. You were going to stay for an hour. But it was fun. You caught up with old friends. You stayed longer than planned.

You went to your granddaughter’s party. You saw her face light up when she saw you walk through the door. She giggled because you played musical statues with her.

You painted. You set an alarm for thirty minutes. The alarm went off but you continued to paint. Your painting was looking good – you couldn’t just stop after thirty minutes.

You sat in the garden trying to take a good photo of the little goldfinch. Eventually, after an hour, it appeared. You managed to get the perfect shot.

But now you are in pain.

Apart from the physical pain, how do you feel? Do you regret everything? Do you wish you hadn’t gone to the wedding or the party? Do you wish you hadn’t painted or taken that photo?

When I end up in more pain after doing something I enjoy, I don’t regret anything. I actually call it ‘good pain’. 

How can there be such a thing as good pain?

Wordcloud description of pain. Agonising, Zapping, burning, crushing, chronic, acute, shooting, shocking, sharp, stabbing, good pain theory

I can think of many words to describe my chronic pain, like aching, agonising, burning, crushing, stabbing, stinging or thumping.

But after an activity I enjoy, I describe it as, ‘good pain’.

The normal reaction to that is: how can any pain possibly be good?

The Good Pain Theory

Despite pain, good pain theory - is pain worth it. Reflect and enjoy the memory.
The good pain theory – is pain ever worth it? Yes.

There are some things in life which I enjoy doing, despite knowing that they could make my pain worse. I think these things are worth the pain.

Things like seeing friends and family, going to a celebration, talking on the phone or occasional trips out, can leave me in agony. Even certain food and drinks leave me with torturous pain because of my trigeminal neuralgia.

Lots of activities will most likely give me more pain at the time and afterwards, sometimes for several days or longer.

When I have that extra pain, I think about how much I enjoyed myself. I can look back on the memories I made. I feel happy, despite my pain. The pain came about from doing something enjoyable. Something that I really wanted to do.

I don’t want to give up on everything in life. Pain has already taken enough from me. I won’t let it steal enjoyment from my life.

Just to add: I am not trying to imply that it’s good to have pain. I wish I didn’t live with mine and I wish you didn’t live with yours. My good pain theory is merely a way for me to be able to accept some of my pain. It allows me to enjoy the things that I think are worth it. Perhaps it could help someone else.

Pain has taken enough from  me. I sill want to enjoy life.

I’d love to hear what you think. Do you feel as though pain is stealing everything you enjoy? Do you ever have good pain?
What’s worth some extra pain?
Please leave me a comment in the box below. 

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32 thoughts on “Does Pain Steal Enjoyment from your Life?

  1. Again, SPOT ON my friend! I never really”got”, the spoon theory until recently. I better equated it with a Draw 4 card if we were going to make “a game”.
    I recently was berated by my Mother for my family posts, (ANY past having to do with family) so I set everything Private for a short time.
    She said she accessed it though FB and that shouldn’t be possible. So, I need to investigate.

    Unbelievable for most I imagine, ME?

    Bad, reference below.
    Nahhhhh! It’s Everyday Bro!
    My work condensing is coming along. Yeah, for that! Physically & Emotionally, I hope this is a strong week for you. I feel it….🔆!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Stace. The problem with the spoon theory is that our pain isn’t consistent. Some days we wake up with 10 spoons, some days 3. Some days a shower uses 2 spoons, some days, it might use 6. So I’m not sure that the spoon theory works for everyone.
      Hope you can sort out the issue with the privacy of your blog.
      Have a good Christmas Stace.


      1. Sorry we’ve had Christmas & a New Year since we last typed. I forgot to reply to this. Yes, my pain constantly changes. I can’t point to a single place. Last night it appeared and felt like I had popped my hip out of the joint. I couldn’t take a step, so I am scheduled to see the Dr who put the recalled knee in me. I can’t go to another Dr. It’s a mess. I hope you are lots better than me.
        Have a rest-filled weekend!


  2. I didn’t comment when I read this before. Yes! Learning how to enjoy and participate despite difficulty/pain is so important. “good pain’ is also a concept that I like : )


  3. I love that quote “I won’t let pain steal my enjoyment of life.” I also appreciate how you explain the importance of compromise. There are ways we can make our favorite activities more comfortable and prepare for our pain without completely eliminating these activities from our lives. When I was first diagnosed with epilepsy (which isn’t painful in itself, but can be if you injure yourself having a seizure), there were certain adaptations I had to make, but I still enjoyed my favorite activities like hiking.


    1. Hi Kate,
      Thanks for commenting. Yes, we do need to find ways around things sometimes, and accept that we can’t do things exactly as we’d do if we didn’t have health issues. But we can still enjoy life. We need to.


  4. I really enjoyed reading this. I admit that there have been times that I have allowed my pain to prevent me from doing every day activities or going out with friends. I think there needs to be a balance between pushing ourselves despite the pain and doing too much.


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  8. Loved this article! It’s hard to find a good balance of not pushing your limits but also enjoying life. Some activities will be worth the pain on the day after. I guess it’s important to only overdo things when you truly want to and not because others expect this from you.


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  12. For me I find that the sometimes very real physical pain of mental illness steals my joy. I know my stomach issues, for the longest time, stopped me going places and doing things! But I’ve learned to just take things as they come, if I’m not feeling up to it I won’t do it. I used to say YES to everything and battle through, now I know thats not what my body needs.

    That being said I do fight against it on occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. sjd68

    It’s hard to give up living and I think “Good Pain” is a concept most people would agree with whether they are chronic pain sufferers or otherwise. Life is short to miss out on weddings and grandchildren. Pacing yourself as you suggested could be beneficial. The people you love should understand your reasoning and it can help take your mind off things if even for a little while.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Enjoying the moment and those good times is so important. You can’t close yourself off from all the events and activities that you enjoy. Do what you can and then use the memory of those good times to help you through the pain. And yes, sometimes pain is worth it.


  15. I always try to make it to events, but really do have to limit my time there due to the pain sometimes. It’s a good compromise, and I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings by just not showing up. Plus it really can be a nice distraction from whatever I’m dealing with. Can’t complain about it if I’m having fun! But there is definitely a balance between showing up and not overdoing it to where I’m in pain for days after, or just have to stay in bed.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I find the more I do, the better I feel. Chronic pain is awful, but it only gets worse when you sit around and don’t move. Staying busy and active releases endorphins, which are natural pain killers. Being social is a mental distraction from the pain. If there is nothing to stimulate the mind and body, you notice the pain and react to it more. That is my 2 cents being a chronic pain sufferer. Daily yoga, power walking, jogging, not being sedentary for more than 30 minutes at a time…that’s the ticket!


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