I Am Not My Pain

Pain can destroy who we are.

Often, it feels as though pain comes along like a thief in the night and takes away part of ourselves. It creeps into the deepest crevices of our beings, then wears us down until there is virtually nothing left.

It can destroy who we are.

But it is important to remember that there’s more to us than pain.

I am Not My Pain but Unfortunately, Pain is Part of Me

I live with pain all the time. Pain is part of me. But it’s important for me to remember that it is only part of me.

Every post I write on my blog tends to be about living with pain, therefore it might well seem as though that’s all there is to me. But it’s not. It’s only part of me. It’s not all of me. I am not my pain.

So Who am I?

I’m a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a cousin, a friend…

I used to be a Mum to gorgeous four-legged friends. Sadly, we no longer have them but they were a special part of my life and will always have a huge part of my heart.

I can’t work because of my pain, but this has given me time on my hands to do other things. I started the End Trigeminal Neuralgia awareness page and support group to try to give free and accurate information to fellow TN sufferers.

Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at various hobbies and crafts. Pain is demanding and controlling but I don’t want it to stop me from doing everything I enjoy. I look for easier ways of doing everything and have had to learn to ask for help so that I don’t miss out.

I’ve cross-stitched, made tapestries, embroidered, made jewellery and crafted handmade cards. I went to an art class a few years after I had to take ill-health retirement and discovered a new and unexpected love of drawing and painting.

And of course, I love to write. As well as this blog, I’ve also written fiction and poetry.

I am not my pain. Picture of an orange and black butterfly on yellow flowers.

My Pain Doesn’t Stop Me from Being Me

My pain stops me from doing many things, but it doesn’t stop me from being me. I am still me.

I am still a compassionate person who can listen to someone else’s problems with empathy and understanding. I still have patience, despite my pain. I still have an interest in what’s going on in the world and get angry and upset at inequality and discrimination.

I like to help people when I can and I’m honest, trustworthy and considerate. I try to be positive and I am nearly always that glass half full person.

My Pain is a Huge Part of my Life

I live with intense facial pain due to trigeminal neuralgia every day, chronic back and rib pain due to scoliosis and I have a few other painful conditions. There’s no denying that my pain is a huge part of my life. It tries to take over. It disrupts plans. It affects everything. It puts obstacles in my path on a daily basis. But…it is part of me. It is not all of me.

You Are Not Your Pain

It may be part of your life but it is not who you are. You are still you.

If you’ve forgotten who you are, it’s time to remind yourself that you’re not just someone living in pain. It’s time to remind yourself that there’s more to you.

Look in a mirror

Look at that face looking back at you.

Look into those eyes.

Look really deeply.

Try to look beyond the pain.

Keep looking and smile at your reflection.

See how your eyes change when you smile?

That’s the real you.

You are still there, despite your pain. 

Don’t Let it Take Your Personality

Write a list of your good personality traits. Imagine that you’re filling out an application form for a job. You need to sell yourself, don’t you?

Are you kind and compassionate? Are you patient and understanding? Are you generous? Are you loving and caring?

You might feel this exercise seems arrogant or vain, but it’s not. You need to relearn who you are and be proud of yourself. You need to sell yourself – to yourself.

Remind Yourself About Yourself

Think about the following:

  • Who do you love?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What’s your favourite book?
  • What’s your favourite music?
  • What makes you smile and laugh?
  • What kind of movies do you enjoy?
  • Where is your favourite place to visit?
  • Who are the people you like to see most?

Go through that list and find those people you love and hug them. Get back to a hobby or start a new one. Find the things or the people that make you happy. Pick up that book or watch a movie. Play some music. If you’re able to, get out of the house and go to that favourite place or visit those favourite people. Do whatever makes you happy. Distract yourself from your pain, even if it only lasts for a few minutes at a time.

Don’t Let Pain Destroy Who You Are

When you start looking, you will hopefully find yourself again because you are still there beneath that pain. There is so much more to you.

Don’t allow it to destroy who you are.

You are not your pain.

Thank you for reading this post.
Did it resonate with you? Do you feel as though you’ve lost part of  yourself? Please leave a comment and click the follow button to receive updates when I post.

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26 thoughts on “I Am Not My Pain

  1. Steve

    I found hot water I mean to the put of scouring the skin on top of the head and neck area. Letting your sinuses run and clearing them out over and over tell most of the mucous is gone gives a little relief, when it’s almost unbearable with no ways of relief. I found that a antibiotic with carbmazepin 200 mg. The dosage as needed, has given me almost nonexistent pain. Remember this was caused by a wound by extrication or a needle or whatever damage to a nerve. So in my case and that’s the case I know intimately as nobody has any real idea of this affliction other then those whom are living it. Nobody I mean no doctor, unless he has it even understands the relentless pain and despair it can create. My cocktail I describe to you is my blessing and hopefully every person that try’s it, there’s. Also I believe with what I take the antibiotic is imperative. Remember some form of trauma put this in motion. Also if it matters one day is overwhelming or a instance of one attack is enough to never be forgotten. I have over 4 years of this, the words I want to use are cuss words and negative words but I don’t want to use that I’m trying to help not hinder. I’m sure we all at some time have let the words fly and damed god and existence. I stumbled onto something or was blessed and hopefully for no relapse and hopefully help for one and all that is suffering with this life changing I guess I’ll call it “a injury”

  2. Essie Goff

    I am not the same since TN and Facial Pain got it when i was 20 and Now 40 . I feel after some reflection and self helf that it is my Toughest life challenge that i battle with every day. It tryed to define me but i fought back and refuse to let it. I attend my hospital help group to let people just diagnosed know there not alone and that they are stronger than they realise. Its not easy by no means but one day at a time.

    1. Without a doubt, it’s not easy, Essie, and all we can do is take it one day at a time. Every day can be different and bring something new to the table. But we try. I’m glad your hospital group is helping.

  3. Anonymous

    Oh, my! I was explaining TN to my new family (daughter’s boyfriend’s parents and extended family) at Thanksgiving yesterday. I was telling them this exact thing, and how I wish I had the words to encourage those in the support groups who often do not seem to have any hope or “bright side.” Thank you so much for this! Yes, we live with this pain every single day, but we also get a chance to live and love! Mine is bilateral, with a failed mvd on the right, and a recent mvd on the left with minimal results. Anesthesia delorosa to boot!Three children and left for someone another woman. Life isn’t easy, but it is a gift I cherish each and every day!!! Thank you again for your words of encouragement to all! ? Much love and many blessings to you!

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment, Allison. You’re exactly right, we should cherish each and every day. It’s definitely not easy, but somehow, if we work at it, we can get through it.

  4. Pingback: Ten Good Intentions to Carry into the New Year – Despite Pain

  5. I am so glad you decided to share one of your brilliant poems Elizabeth and combined it with self-care. I agree we are not our pain but it just a bit part of our lives and I use questions like yours daily to remind myself I can be more than a chronic illness ?

  6. It’s so important to hold onto who we are and to remember that the symptoms do not define us. They’re part of what we experience in life, but they’re definitely not who we are.

  7. Rachael Tomlinson

    It did resonate with me so much, so much so I have pulled your questions out to write a post about, thanks Liz of course I will link you x

  8. I don’t struggle regularly with debilitating pain, however this totally relates to how my disability affects me. The things it has taken from me, the way I have to adapt and focus on the things I can do. I may not do everything I dream, or do everything myself, however what I can do I put my all in. Focus changes.

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