Pain makes me angry

I don’t know how to put this any more clearly.  Pain makes me angry.

I’ve been living with chronic knee pain since last April, but in the past few weeks, I’ve gone from mild discomfort (think thong underwear when it’s a bit too intimate) to blinding mind numbing pain (think walking barefoot on Legos, only worse).  At this point, my entire family is counting down the hours until my surgery next week.

We’ve all come to the same exact conclusion.

pain makes me angry

I am NOT a patient and loving person when I’m in pain.

I am NOT the best mommy I can be when the pain gives me sparkle vision.

I am shouty.  I am impatient.  I am intolerant. I am self-centered.

Pain makes me angry.

For those of you rolling your eyes and thinking

well, duh

give me a second to make my point.

It’s really simple.

If I’m not at my best, then I have a much harder time not yelling.  I have a harder time managing my anger.   That’s pretty logical and straight forward.

No one disagrees.

Right?

So….

Isn’t it equally logical that taking good care of myself will make it EASIER for me to NOT yell?

(On the most personal level – if pain makes me angry, why did I wait five months to do something about the pain?)

Wouldn’t it be logical to say that making sure I eat right, take my vitamins, get a reasonable amount of sleep, and generally take care of myself all contribute to me being able to manage my anger?

stop the yelling

And…

If that’s true for me, wouldn’t it be true for you too?

Pain makes you angry too.

It’s not just pain either.

That nagging dull headache because you skipped breakfast isn’t helping.

The low-lying stress because you haven’t had the “girls” checked in several years – that’s not helping either.

The strung out sensation from having substituted coffee for sleep (yet again) could be the reason you feel shouty.

Not to be too personal, but “wine flu” might just be a factor for that temper tantrum last Saturday afternoon.

(Um, not that I would ever know about any of those first hand.  I keep the “girls” regularly screened.)

It took an extreme to get my attention.

I’m a week away from surgery.  I’m not allowed to dull the pain with anti-inflammatory drugs.  I can get temporary relief from an ice pack, but not enough.

It now feels like someone imbedded Legos under my knee cap.  Specifically, the little stud ones.  If I have to climb the stairs to parent my kids, you can imagine just how my pain factors into my parenting choices.

It stinks.

But it got my attention.

My entire family could tell when the pain level went up that last little bit because the number of yelling incidents has gone up about 100 times what it was last week.

For me, that really hammered home the relationship between neglecting myself and struggling with yelling.

It’s non-negotiable in big things (like avoiding knee surgery for five months) and in little things (like skipping sleep).  It’s non-negotiable in the physical (like drinking those 8 glasses of water a day) and the spiritual (like taking time to pray every day).

Honest.

Y’all remember how I feel about Candy Crush, right?

For more words, check out this post where I said your own well being matters.

12 ideas for well being header

Mommas, what is your biggest barrier to taking care of yourself even when you KNOW you should.

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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Comments

  1. You are so right. Self care *is* more important than that Candy Crush level. I’m so sorry you are in all this pain and you still have a week before you will begin that road to recovery. I had a little health deal over the summer and got my self straightened out after YEARS of neglect. It’s awful that it takes that to make us realize what we ought to be doing. I hope this next week goes as smoothly as possible for you and your surgery goes well. Hang in there, Susan! –Lisa
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  2. Donald Quixote says:

    It really must be something to have your pain almost completely control what mood you’re in. I know that personally I’m in the same mood whether I’m in pain or not, I have scoliosis which grants me the great opportunity to have back pain almost constantly, but that’s just me and how I work. However, I do agree that taking care of the problem before it’s a problem is a great solution.

    • Mr Quixote – May I call you Don? With an email address like yours I’m always suspicious you’re a spammer. But here’s the deal – you raised a great point.

      A LOT of people think they can just be in control of their moods and be fine. They ignore pain or some other chronic condition and just move through life. Realistically, chronic pain does bad things to you. It continually stimulates the adrenal gland as your body stays in the “fight or flight” pattern. We’re hardwired to think of pain as something to run from – the caveman part of us reacts to pain at a glandular level. Short term, that means we walk around with too much adrenaline in our systems and are basically on a hair-trigger to over react to anything. If you’re raising kids, that’s not a good way to walk around. Longer term, it leads to something called adrenal fatigue. I’m not a medical expert – I’m only sharing what I’ve experienced first hand. The adrenal gland and the thyroid are a two-in-one kind of deal. They regulate a whole LOT of what it takes to feel healthy and have enough energy to do things. If you have adrenal fatigue, you are at risk for having messed up thyroid levels and cortisol levels. For women, there’s an additional complication with estrogen and progesterone. (Moms with messed up female hormones aren’t exactly known for their stability – KWIM?)

      I’m sorry to hear that you have scoliosis. I can’t imagine the pain that you endure both mentally and physically as a result. I don’t pretend to understand how it impacts your life. I admire anyone who can accept a chronic condition and continue to be a contributing member of society. (However – if you’re a spammer then you are NOT contributing to society.) Your choice to simply ignore the pain and keep working is admirable.

      However…. your apparent judgmental attitude for those who react to pain differently is NOT admirable. Dude. I was walking around feeling like there were legos under my freaking knee cap. It hurt. It made me grouchy and snappish. Recognizing that and articulating the fact to my family was very helpful. It let my husband know to step in more quickly when parenting was required. It let my kids know to stay on the best behavior. It let ME not beat myself up so much for walking around feeling like a raging bundle of hormones.

      In a blog series designed to help women deal with their anger and manage it more productively, I think there’s room for a little MORE tolerance and LESS judgement from someone who claims to be Don Quixote.

  3. Exactly right what I think about this issue. Although I am not any professional doctor but from my perspective I always look forward self care because I think if some one take care this then he or she will take care of all and this is the perfect solution:)

  4. great post! good and informative idea! great article!

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