Thursday, March 3, 2011

Everyone is entitled to their own pain

We all, at times in our lives deal with pain. A pain that at that point is just unbearable for us.  There are many reasons we have pain and mostly and thankfully it is short lived, we get over it and we move on.  At other times it may be much much harder.  Grief in any shape or form is one of the hardest of all to bear.  Grief also comes in many shapes and forms.  A loved one lost, a broken relationship or loving and coping with a disabled child.

What is important is that our pain is our cross to bear.  You cannot compare, there is no competition.  A person feeling short term pain because they have been made redundant is as entitled to feel pain as is a person who has suffered a miscarriage.  Yes it is comparing apples to oranges but it does not reduce the entitlement either person has to feel that pain.

If you are anything like me you will often think why can I not get over this.  After all so and so has to contend with such and such - if you get my drift.  But by doing this I am truly doing myself a disservice and belittling my right to feel pain.

When my son was two, he was diagnosed with autism.  From birth he had many struggles and issues.  And I dealt with this whilst feeling very isolated and removed from family.  You see at this time we were living in Mackay. This all contributed to my post natal depression.  I can remember "The Day" like it was yesterday.  I was still recovering from the birth of my daughter.  I was naive and did not for one moment really think the paediatrician would confirm the autism diagnosis.  Yes my husband and I had googled it, discussed it and probably resigned ourselves to this. But I was still irrationally hopeful.  So hopeful that I attended this appointment alone.  My husband was at work, my Mum was 1000 odd kilometres away in Brisbane.

I had to walk out of that hospital with my two year old son and my new born.  I had to walk out with a broken heart.  Like a near death experience the life my son may never have flashed before my eyes.  I saw a lonely childhood, a troubled puberty, an insular existence, no celebrated milestones, no fearfully handing over the car keys after obtaining his licence, no girlfriend, no job, no marriage, no children no joy.  I will talk further about my son in a later post.  But, what I felt at that time was so devastating.  I still carry this devastation with me every day of my life.  Because at nine we still don't know what is in store for our beloved son.

Your children are all your hopes and dreams come true.  They are your walking talking heartbeat.  I still have hopes and dreams for both my children.  But for my son they have become foggy, they are not as clear, they are more distant and somehow far more raw.

However, I don't see this grief as a more substantial more 'important' grief then someone whose child perhaps has a club leg or a lisp.  Their issue IS their grief.  They are entitled to worry and be upset as much as I am about my son or someone else would be if their child was diagnosed with leukaemia. Yes the degrees of grief are vastly different.  You can't compare but once again without sounding like a broken record every person with any worry is entitled to feel pain and grief.

Being guilty about grief is a very dark and downward spiral.  It adds to your depression.  It does nothing to help you.  What you need is to own it.  Acknowledge it, let it go if you can.  If you are still not able to let it go then put in a box for when you are ready to let it go.

As the Dalai Lama says "Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.  And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."
So, take this from me, a person who is battling daily just to breathe.  If you are not able to be kind or supportive, then at least be silent.  That takes no energy.

I write this blog for me.  This is part of my journey to well being.  It helps me formulate thoughts, face fears, deal with pain and acknowledge my depression.  I make it public because depression is more then an emotion, it is a disease.  If I educate and help one person understand then I have done my job.

Take care of each other, we all need kindness.

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