A high pain threshold

10 May 2017

I’ve had two foot operations, acute appendicitis, fallen down the stairs at the age of 9 and as a consequence ended up in hospital with a black eye and nearly lapsed into a coma and through all of that I used to think that I had a high pain threshold.

That’s not the case at all. What it simply means is that when I hurt myself I feel the pain more than someone without heightened sensory issues. To be able to tolerate that I have a higher pain threshold.

Every time I have something that I have no understanding or knowledge about around my neurological impairments, I go back to my original thoughts about why I’m here again and why I’m having to work things out for the first time.

To be honest I’m not always completely comfortable with the concept of having to come to terms with something new again that I should have known about as a child. I work things through, so it becomes the new normal for me, so I can find a place for it to fit without me getting cross.

The flip side to that of course, is that I try to look at any new experiences in a more positive light. That I have my site and without my experiences I couldn’t bring clarity or understanding to my life or my blogs.

That our experiences are as they are and others must reconcile for themselves and accept where they could or should have done things differently.

6 Responses to “A high pain threshold”

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  1. Tim 11. May, 2017 at 12:54 am #

    It stands to reason that with positive self talk, you can control how your brain reacts to pain, even though it’s still pain.

    Now, who you are inside is why you’re so durable Ilana. But I think it’s a shame that we have to be so strong all the freaking time.

    • Ilana 11. May, 2017 at 5:39 am #

      Thanks Tim. I too believe in the power of positive thinking and believe it works.

      I think somewhere in my unconscious thinking, I must have talked myself into dealing with the pain. That it wasn’t an option for me to give up.

      And I agree with you when you say: ‘it’s a shame that we have to be so strong all the freaking time.’ Yes it is.

  2. Randy 12. May, 2017 at 5:46 am #

    Yes, people don’t often understand what it’s like when you have grown up being forced to just take the pain, rather than seeking out some relief.

    My parents were usually more concerned about what was best for them, so we were often severely neglected and expected to fend for ourselves, without really being shown how. This is why I am having such a hard time dealing with my dad passing, seeing as I feel like I’m still having to take care of him, like we did when we were kids.

    My girlfriend is pretty much saying that I’m being a really mean asshole about it, but she didn’t grow up in the world I did. I think she is expecting me to be very sad and more emotional about this, but this reminds me far too much of what it was like when we were kids.

    We had to develop a very high pain threshold, both physically and emotionally, so I won’t be be feeling it right now. We had to suppress and compartmentalize our feelings most of the time just to survive, without going completely insane!

    Others probably do see it as being cold and callous, which is pretty much what she told me tonight. She blames herself for making the decision to let her mother die naturally with only morphine for a comfort measure, whereas I see it as what needs to be done.

    If I was really that much of an asshole, I would be telling them to keep him alive and suffering for as long as possible, rather than doing the decent thing. We come from two totally different worlds so this is very nearly impossible to try to explain to her.

    This situation just brings up a whole lot of a different kind of pain that can’t just be forgotten. So many people seem to have the delusion that we should just get over it, when that isn’t going to happen. I’m sure my dad loved us in his own way, but his ultimate goal was to make our mother happy, even at the expense of us having a very shitty childhood.

    There were so many things that my parents didn’t help us to deal with either, like the mental health issues that I had, which most parents would have addressed. In reality it’s pretty amazing that I didn’t become a ‘Norman Bates type,’ seeing as I was heading down that path and should have been institutionalized as a child to make sure I didn’t.

    I did what I had to so that it didn’t and that’s what bothers me the most, seeing as it cost me my sanity at times and a lot of needless suffering throughout my life. There are things that can’t be forgotten, but at least I can try to forgive.

    • Ilana 12. May, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

      Thanks Randy. Yes, your last sentence sums up your response beautifully and you’re right.

      Yes, we don’t forget and we mustn’t forget because those memories keep us grounded, determined for history not to repeat itself, but through looking at the bigger picture that helps us understand others’ motives behind the deed.

      You have already done that by confirming that you know your dad in his own way loves you and your siblings. In their more lucid moments that’s when we come to see and understand, but it’s easy through stress to lose sight of that.

      So whilst it’s possible to forgive and it makes you the better person, you don’t have to forget.

  3. LeAnna 13. May, 2017 at 3:28 am #

    I never thought about high pain tolerance being linked to heightened sensory issues associated with Cerebral Palsy. It makes total sense looking back on previous experiences with injuries, accidents, surgeries etc.

    It resonates with me as I prepare for yet another surgery due to Cerebral Palsy.

    • Ilana 13. May, 2017 at 7:05 am #

      Hi LeAnna and welcome back to the site. I hope you’re okay. Yes, it’s taken me too long to have worked this out myself, but it makes total sense.

      It’s a shame that when it comes to Cerebral Palsy we know very little about how our individual symptoms and daily experiences relate to our brain damage. This is why I write the blogs I do on Cerebral Palsy.

      I feel it’s important we all have more understanding on what we deal with. I hope that what I continue to work out and through will continue to help all of us, who deal with Cerebral Palsy.

      Good luck with your next operation.

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