“Silence is a source of great strength.”
Chronic pain comes with a sense of unbelievable anger. First you are angry with the invisible illness. A couple months, years later you are angry with every doctor who told you they had a cure for your pain. During this time you are angry at every friend and family member who does not believe or “understand” your invisible illness. Finally, you are angry with yourself because chronic pain caused you to become someone you are not proud of. There is a quote from the Buddha that says: “You will not be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.” This is a very profound statement as anger truly only hurts you, with or without chronic pain.
The worst part about anger for us with chronic pain is that it increases the pain levels to great heights. When you are angry, your entire body is tense: jaw tight, shoulders up, and if you are like me crying to a point that makes your eyes swollen. My advice to everyone: never be angry: I’m kidding. I am not sure it is possible for most of us to never feel anger. We are most often angry at the people we love: friends, parents, siblings, children, and spouses. Arguments happen, it is a part of life and often times a good thing because a lot of insight and change can come from an argument. However, arguments can lead to levels in which things are said that truly hurt the people we love. The hardest but yet the best thing we can do at times is stay silent. I am not saying to be passive aggressive: you need to convey your feelings to the people you care for. But, during a fight we get lost in the moment and become so angry that we say things that we do not mean and this only leads to more arguments, pain, and sadness. In the heat of a moment when your anger is as high as the Eiffel Tower, shut your mouth. Nothing good is going to come from your lips when you are that mad. Now, this silence is one of the most difficult things to do. I struggle with this as do most people I know. There is a quote written in my journal that says: “How amazing is it to be silent when someone expects you to be enraged.”
Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? Do you want to say things you do not mean, causing more anger and pain or do you want to focus on your own health and well being? Practice silence when you are angry: walk away, drive and listen to your favorite song, take a walk. Your ego will be pissed, but your mind and body will be rewarded.
Last Monday, my daughter and I were driving and my car started making a noise. My dad has always given me amazing advice except when he once said: “If your car is making a noise, just turn the music up.” He was kidding (I did not realize that.) My little blue Jetta is making noise and the noise only increased when I accelerated. My two year old is crying because I am forced to drive slowly and she was saying: “what’s that noise” over and over and over again. Then I start smelling fumes and think I am going to be on the news because my car is going to blow up and the entire highway will be shut down. The noise and smell got worse and worse and I was truly afraid, especially because my angel was in the back seat freaking out. I was in such a state of fear and anger that I said: “Damn it” at least twenty five times. Everything worked out. We made it home and my car was towed to my step father’s shop and he found the problem: exhaust system. Yes, we were breathing in exhaust fumes. Mother of the year. The following day I was cleaning our kitchen and my daughter loves to “help.” She had the Swiffer and it got stuck under a cabinet. Out of no where she begins saying: “Damn it, damn it, damn it.” I had to walk away to laugh and then told her she said the phrase wrong (white lie) and that she can say: “Darn it.” Just a little example of the importance of silence in difficult situations. I am just happy I wasn’t saying the F word.