Sunday afternoon, as I was carrying the litter box out to dump it, I missed the bottom step on the stairs leading out to the front yard. I crashed and burned pretty hard, dropping the litter box and banging my knees pretty hard. I finished taking care of the litter box and discovered it was cracked. I created a makeshift fix for the problem. Only then did I realize my right knee was bleeding. I'd taken quite a chunk out of it when I fell.
It got cleaned up and a band aid went over it. Himself wasn't overly concerned about it but he did empathize with me. As I got up to fix lunch I realized I also twisted my ankle. I wasn't going to be able to stand and cook for any length of time. So I told Himself to fix his own lunch and sat back down with a bag of frozen peas on my much abused ankle. (Works just as well as an ice pack when you don't have ice.)
Himself and I have a very different level of pain tolerance. I am a pain wuss. I hate it and can overreact to it. I often want to go to the doctor (or the ER if I think it's bad enough) to get checked out. Without insurance or Medicaid that was very expensive, and I have medical bills from those times.
Himself, on the other hand, won't go to a doctor unless there's no other choice. It doesn't matter how much pain he's in. He won't let me call and make an appointment for him or do it himself. I've gotten him to the doctor a few times in the last twelve years, but it was kicking and screaming. The worst problem he had was when he broke his hand when we'd been married for around two years. It hurt but he ignored it for three days until it started turning dark colors. I made him go to our doctor then and she got a cast on him within an hour of him getting there.
Emotional pain runs a very similar course for us. I react poorly to emotional pain and at times it can cripple me. Himself deals with emotional pain similarly to his way of dealing with physical illness and pain. He accepts it, makes it part of himself, and pushes past it rather quickly. I've only seen him lose to it five times in twelve years. He may have done so other times, but never in front of me.
Everyone deals with pain in a different way. Physical, emotional, psychological – it's all real pain and everyone has their own way of reacting to it and coming to grips with it. I can honestly say I've gone through all three of those and they've shaped who I am today. I may be a wimp at times but Himself tells me I'm stronger than I was twelve years ago. My dad tells me I'm stronger than I was when I left home for the first time when I was 22.
Everyone gains strength from adversity, from challenges. The catch is we have to deal with the consequences of making those decisions and changes. Sometimes they're good. Sometimes they're bad. Either way they're going to change you.
How do you deal with pain of any kind? Have you changed because of those experiences?