Helplessness is something you have to learn to deal with when you are in pain all the time. There are things I cannot do. There are things I can do, but they hurt, and so if someone else is around it makes sense to let them do it instead. The list of things I can do that don’t hurt is feeling a little small at the moment.
There are two levels to being helpless; the first is the actual physical limitation on your life, and the second is the emotional impact this has on you. I hadn’t been consciously aware of the emotional impact of being dependent.
The emotional impact is bigger than feeling weepy on occasion. The real shock has come from the erosion of confidence. I still describe myself as a confident person, but I have moments of realising that the things that make me nervous or feel daunted are all things that I would have thought of us small things, or indeed not even given any thought to: such as long car or train journeys, giving my child(ren) a bath, doing bedtime for both children or just running an errand or two that requires getting kids in and out of the car several times.
A close friend said to me recently that I am still new to chronic pain. I am still resisting it. She’s right, I am. Because giving in to it means being the person who is daunted by everyday tasks, giving in to it means accepting that I have to say no to things indefinitely and it means saying goodbye to so much of the me that I really rather like.
I’m not ready to do that yet.