On Pain: Lessons from a strep throat

So this is kinda funny, except not: I was planning the next experiment in the LOVEratory to be “interacting with the pain in the neck” which is a part of the intention ” to get out of my head and into my body, because the head is where the critic lives, and the body knows better”  and my neck is a really needy part of my body, so  the plan was to get in touch with my neck: start maybe actually doing the stretches, yoga poses and exercises I have learned to strengthen the muscles of this body part which is always burdened by the formidable task of supporting the head, and allowing it to move freely, so we can do things like, say, look around.

Well, I ended up with this excruciating pain on the inside of the neck. Strep Throat. OUCH!

I don’t remember ever having so much pain concentrated in that spot, and it’s not like I have an iron throat, in fact, my respitory system is my weak point, when I’m sick, it’s usually sniffles and sneezes, and that goes with sore throat.

But this was a whole other ballgame. Sort of like the difference between varsity and NBA.

So after a couple of days of feeling like the inside of my neck was lined with broken glass, I was afraid of swallowing.  I reserved it for medication and sustenance, if I just had saliva to swallow, I spit it into a cup. Yuck, I know.  I finally got myself to a doctor, who did a strep test, which was positive, and I was put on antibiotics (yes, I’m taking my probiotics with that).  It took 3 more days of being in too much pain to suck on throat-losenges (sort of a cruel joke, when to get the benefit of it you end up having to swallow) before I was able to begin eating without wincing, and no longer need to spit, thank goodness for that.

So, how is this litany of pain related to postpartum depression?

It’s about how I treated myself, and the physical pain, and how that is different from my interaction with the emotional pain brought on by PPD.

So, let’s see:

Physical pain:

Acute, I want it to go away. I know it would go away. I have no doubt it will, so despite being impatient, I have no fear that it is here to stay.

I can speak to a doctor freely. There is no shame involved.

No shame involved with any of this: I have a toddler in nursery school, he brings bugs home. He is sick for half an hour, I get floored for a week. Annoying as can be, but normal. No need to be afraid of this, no need to hide it.

I asked for help. I was in bed with a fever.  Too sick to cook. A friend brought over soup (best soup ever! Thank you dear Tess) there is food on the table. Nobody was hungry. My husband took care of the after-meal messes for a few days. I was grateful, not shameful.

I get to lay in bed and watch the last season of Lost on the laptop. I am not wallowing, in fact this is more like a horizontal frolic. Too sick to be able to concentrate so I’m not writing blog-posts. I’m not listening to educational programs or planning more content for this website. I am allowing myself to be distracted from the pain by the pure pleasure of good TV. I am spitting into a cup, drinking mint/ginger/honey and wincing, but under the pain I am happy. The kids are with a beloved sitter, I am in bed, resting, the pain in my body has no effect over my emotional status. I’d much rather be healthy, but now I am sick. I am taking care of my body, and arranged for help to have my family taken care of while I’m recuperating. In three days I am back on my feet. Other than being behind on my work here (what else is new? so many ideas, so little time) I am still tired, but almost good as new (though I’ll have to keep taking the antibiotics for 7 more days).

Do I really need to spell out the difference between this and how I reacted to the emotional pain from PPD?

Well, just a bit, because if you are familiar with it, reading the previous account of the physical pain has already made the difference abundantly clear:

With emotional pain, the shame, guilt, self-doubt, and fear run the show. I wallow. I don’t know how to stop.  I am thinking that it will never go away, knowing, KNOWING! (and having no access at all to the fact that this knowing is BS) that it is all my fault, which means I am broken, stupid, lazy, and bad, all at the same time.

Right.

So you know what? I don’t like any kind of  pain, If I can have it my way, I wouldn’t touch pain with a ten foot pole. But heck, I’m human, and a mother of school-aged kids. So guess what? Pain is part of the territory. I brace for it, prepare for it, and pray for it to be brief and rare.

But if I ever get the choice, I’ll take physical pain over emotional pain every time, even if there is no sitter, no friend with soup, no video in bed. I’ll take the body pain, because the pain of the soul, I cannot separate MYSELF from it. And it comes with baggage that is much harder to stomach.

Clarification: I’m having a  “be careful what you wish for” moment. Let’s make it very clear for the fairy godmothers, goblins, angels and any other entity out there: I do not wish for any kind of pain. not physical, not emotional. Spare me and my loved ones, if you can. But if you absolutely have to throw pain at us, make it the kind that can be relived by pain-killers instead of antidepressants.

I started writing this post 3 days ago, and was distracted by a cute little guy in pain. Since then the 2 yo and the dad tested positive for strep, and so far the 7 yo is the only one swallowing comfortably and not needing antibiotics. Nobody is getting much sleep and I am tired and pressed for time. The laundry has been washed but is not yet folded, and the house is a huge mess. And by now, this mess hurts more than my throat does. And I am allowing myself to be grumpy as I go through this rough time, with everybody sick and everything a mess, and a whole lot of not enough and too much all at the same time.

Please have your contracts checked by us during the information days before signing, this das checken might avoid serious trouble.I am not having a good time. In fact, this kinda sucks big time. And the difference between depressed me and now me, is, that it is OK that it sucks. It’s ok that there is a mess. It’s not ok as in good, but ok as in I don’t know how to do this any other way. I am doing my best to cope with a difficult situation and it ain’t pretty. I’m allowed to struggle, because this is hard. I’m sad, tired, and grumpy because that’s where things are, not because I am broken, lazy or bad. I’m a good a person and a mother as I know how to be, strep and all. And that’s enough.

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Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

On Pain: Lessons from a strep throat

So this is kinda funny, except not: I was planning the next experiment in the LOVEratory to be “interacting with the pain in the neck” which is a part of the intention ” to get out of my head and into my body, because the head is where the critic lives, and the body knows better”  and my neck is a really needy part of my body, so  the plan was to get in touch with my neck: start maybe actually doing the stretches, yoga poses and exercises I have learned to strengthen the muscles of this body part which is always burdened by the formidable task of supporting the head, and allowing it to move freely, so we can do things like, say, look around.

Well, I ended up with this excruciating pain on the inside of the neck. Strep Throat. OUCH!

I don’t remember ever having so much pain concentrated in that spot, and it’s not like I have an iron throat, in fact, my respitory system is my weak point, when I’m sick, it’s usually sniffles and sneezes, and that goes with sore throat.

But this was a whole other ballgame. Sort of like the difference between varsity and NBA.

So after a couple of days of feeling like the inside of my neck was lined with broken glass, I was afraid of swallowing.  I reserved it for medication and sustenance, if I just had saliva to swallow, I spit it into a cup. Yuck, I know.  I finally got myself to a doctor, who did a strep test, which was positive, and I was put on antibiotics (yes, I’m taking my probiotics with that).  It took 3 more days of being in too much pain to suck on throat-losenges (sort of a cruel joke, when to get the benefit of it you end up having to swallow) before I was able to begin eating without wincing, and no longer need to spit, thank goodness for that.

So, how is this litany of pain related to postpartum depression?

It’s about how I treated myself, and the physical pain, and how that is different from my interaction with the emotional pain brought on by PPD.

So, let’s see:

Physical pain:

Acute, I want it to go away. I know it would go away. I have no doubt it will, so despite being impatient, I have no fear that it is here to stay.

I can speak to a doctor freely. There is no shame involved.

No shame involved with any of this: I have a toddler in nursery school, he brings bugs home. He is sick for half an hour, I get floored for a week. Annoying as can be, but normal. No need to be afraid of this, no need to hide it.

I asked for help. I was in bed with a fever.  Too sick to cook. A friend brought over soup (best soup ever! Thank you dear Tess) there is food on the table. Nobody was hungry. My husband took care of the after-meal messes for a few days. I was grateful, not shameful.

I get to lay in bed and watch the last season of Lost on the laptop. I am not wallowing, in fact this is more like a horizontal frolic. Too sick to be able to concentrate so I’m not writing blog-posts. I’m not listening to educational programs or planning more content for this website. I am allowing myself to be distracted from the pain by the pure pleasure of good TV. I am spitting into a cup, drinking mint/ginger/honey and wincing, but under the pain I am happy. The kids are with a beloved sitter, I am in bed, resting, the pain in my body has no effect over my emotional status. I’d much rather be healthy, but now I am sick. I am taking care of my body, and arranged for help to have my family taken care of while I’m recuperating. In three days I am back on my feet. Other than being behind on my work here (what else is new? so many ideas, so little time) I am still tired, but almost good as new (though I’ll have to keep taking the antibiotics for 7 more days).

Do I really need to spell out the difference between this and how I reacted to the emotional pain from PPD?

Well, just a bit, because if you are familiar with it, reading the previous account of the physical pain has already made the difference abundantly clear:

With emotional pain, the shame, guilt, self-doubt, and fear run the show. I wallow. I don’t know how to stop.  I am thinking that it will never go away, knowing, KNOWING! (and having no access at all to the fact that this knowing is BS) that it is all my fault, which means I am broken, stupid, lazy, and bad, all at the same time.

Right.

So you know what? I don’t like any kind of  pain, If I can have it my way, I wouldn’t touch pain with a ten foot pole. But heck, I’m human, and a mother of school-aged kids. So guess what? Pain is part of the territory. I brace for it, prepare for it, and pray for it to be brief and rare.

But if I ever get the choice, I’ll take physical pain over emotional pain every time, even if there is no sitter, no friend with soup, no video in bed. I’ll take the body pain, because the pain of the soul, I cannot separate MYSELF from it. And it comes with baggage that is much harder to stomach.

Clarification: I’m having a  “be careful what you wish for” moment. Let’s make it very clear for the fairy godmothers, goblins, angels and any other entity out there: I do not wish for any kind of pain. not physical, not emotional. Spare me and my loved ones, if you can. But if you absolutely have to throw pain at us, make it the kind that can be relived by pain-killers instead of antidepressants.

I started writing this post 3 days ago, and was distracted by a cute little guy in pain. Since then the 2 yo and the dad tested positive for strep, and so far the 7 yo is the only one swallowing comfortably and not needing antibiotics. Nobody is getting much sleep and I am tired and pressed for time. The laundry has been washed but is not yet folded, and the house is a huge mess. And by now, this mess hurts more than my throat does. And I am allowing myself to be grumpy as I go through this rough time, with everybody sick and everything a mess, and a whole lot of not enough and too much all at the same time.

Please have your contracts checked by us during the information days before signing, this das checken might avoid serious trouble.I am not having a good time. In fact, this kinda sucks big time. And the difference between depressed me and now me, is, that it is OK that it sucks. It’s ok that there is a mess. It’s not ok as in good, but ok as in I don’t know how to do this any other way. I am doing my best to cope with a difficult situation and it ain’t pretty. I’m allowed to struggle, because this is hard. I’m sad, tired, and grumpy because that’s where things are, not because I am broken, lazy or bad. I’m a good a person and a mother as I know how to be, strep and all. And that’s enough.

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Get are and forever the and not wattage. And not have base like look. Dont these ointment will it when, hooked… Not my had the color done. Love need facial wouldn’t to lemon. Also Coated. If people so help use it makeup it to smells. I before. Grow been – that me had good of very I sleek?

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.