It’s funny what little things we devise to cope with pain. Everyone copes with things differently and often the way you cope with things change as you get older (or wiser). When I was first diagnosed my way of coping with the huge change to my life was to lock myself away, hide my suffering and cry into a pillow. There is nothing wrong with that, in a way it was grief I was succumbing to. Grief for the loss of my life as I knew it. Once the grief faded, general sadness and self loathing took over for a while. This was also a difficult period. One where I was mad at the world and everyone in it for not having to be me. When I realised this was selfish and confronted my sadness and anger things started to become clearer.
Pain is a funny thing. People handle it differently and some have higher thresholds for pain than others. My pain threshold was never really that high before, well nonexistent to be honest. I hold my hands up to being a drama queen over stubbed toes and knocked funny bones. But when I really experienced true pain, it was a whole different ball game.
Now I know how to cope with the pain I feel a bit better, and there is no easy way of learning this it’s just simply getting used to it over time. I have found other things that cheer me up when the long nights await me and the stiff mornings (no jokes please!) arrive. It may sound silly, that is generally the point, but I seem to be watching an awful lot of comedy these days. I have a routine of watching stand up and comical shows that give me comfort. I literally don’t feel ready to sleep at the moment until I’ve had my comedy fix. Maybe it’s because it makes me forget the rubbish things that are going on and helps me sleep easier. Amongst my favourites are Alan Carr, Lee Evans and Michael Macintyre (you may not have heard of them if you live outside the UK).
The comfort that laughter brings is amazing; it really is my best cure for pain. A smile really does go a long way when you have RA. If you are able to smile, then you’re halfway to living a normal life. I believe this because I have been through so much that has made me cry and the fact that I can smile again shows I am back to being who I really am. Small things make me smile now, the rush of caffeine from my first coffee in the morning, opening the first page of a new book and most importantly being able to climb the stairs two at a time (it rarely happens but when it does I feel like a kid again!)I hope that any little things bring a smile to your face. The days are much easier when you can laugh and try and enjoy things (I heard once it takes more effort to frown anyway). If you haven’t found a way to cope with your pain yet, it will come, just give it a little more time.