Pain vs suffering
Friday, August 17, 2018
I was having this discussion about the difference between coping with pain versus merely enduring suffering. I guess I see pain as a time limited state with an end in sight, that while uncomfortable can be dealt with and resolved. While suffering is a long term prospect with no particular end in sight and no discernible resolution immediately obvious. The task I have is to move things from being perceived as something to endure as suffering to something that is (merely) pain and can be resolved. That resolution may not be imminent, but if there is SOME time frame, then it is easier to cope and the discomfort can be moved from the category of suffering to one of resolvable pain. Being morbidly obese with the attendant health issues (physical, mental, and emotional) felt like suffering to me for a very long time... it took a shift in mindset, a reclassification, a realization that I could create a change and make it a time limited reality with a positive resolution, to shift that suffering to a state of pain that could be coped with and eventually resolved. It took a matter of years to achieve my goal weight, but with each small success I could see the weight of the pain being alleviated slowly but surely. Each small success led to another... until I had built a pattern, and I could trust in the process. I still have times of doubt (don’t we all) but that pattern is still there as an underpinning to all that I do and experience.
I have been really sick for almost three weeks now (first a viral infection, then a secondary bacterial infection), and while it is easy to wallow in self pity and misery, there is also a desire to act, to do what needs to be done to get better. Unfortunately, it takes time for antibiotics to work, and the recovery time is frustrating, but in the meantime I am looking for things to be grateful for, the silver linings. Not that I don’t indulge in self pity and being cranky, I am human after all, and running a fever is just miserable, but I work on getting over myself as soon as possible and moving toward seeing the situation as one of resolvable pain, and NOT suffering... most things can be mitigated in some form to pain from suffering, even it is merely accepting the reality of the situation, whatever it may be, or finding room for forgiveness or a personal sense of resolution... but that last part is just my opinion...