The exercises that I’m doing since I’ve been on the pain management programme are working wonders. I am more flexible, more agile and stronger. I have tried hula hooping (that was hilarious, and very bad), I have competed in ‘standing on one leg’ competitions with 5 year olds, and I can even do the plank now for 25 seconds, which feels like a minor miracle. Slowly but surely I feel like I can do more, achieve more, and relax a bit. Mostly this feels wonderful.
The trouble is, that sometimes it means the crappy moments take you by surprise. I was at a little music group with my 2yo on Friday, and we had to do a song that was all about doing actions with a partner. One part of the song required us to lift our children and swing them round by their hands. Every other mum, grandmum and child minder there did it effortlessly. I couldn’t do it. My 2yo watched all the other grown ups swing their kids and watched the kids squealing with glee. Obviously she demanded I do the same.
When I couldn’t, she lay down on the floor and sobbed.
I wanted to join her.
I have finished the pain management course. 8 days over 4 weeks of information, breaking patterns of behaviour, getting moving again, problem solving and personal goals.
At the end of week 2, I felt the course was quietly brilliant, rather than mind-blowing. I was fascinated by how our physiology, thought, emotion and behaviour was connected. I was encouraged by a return to physical exercise that was more demanding of me than walking a long way. I felt like I was on a month-long journey of hope.
Then it stumbled. It was too limited and didn’t push enough boundaries. Many of the problems being addressed were to do with poor communication with those people around you, which although interesting is not the issue I have. I felt disheartened. At the end of the course the psychologist asked me if I was OK.
OK is definitely not the word this time. I felt hopeful and deflated, I felt tedium, I felt limited, I felt furious, frustrated and a bit lost. I thought I would blog the whole experience, but it turns out I didn’t want to. The premise of the whole course is a depressing one: There is nothing more, medically speaking, that we can do for you. This pain is here to stay. Let’s help you manage that.
It is important not to leave people languishing when we are in pain and I have learned both useful and interesting thing on the course. Some of the things have already helped, but I don’t feel it gave me as many tools for coping as I had hoped. Now what?