child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

degrees of pain?

***starting with a sidenote first *** Tonight I was reading some of Carrie's old posts on ED bites.  Guess what?  I'm not the only one who feels like I do!  I felt like I was reading my own story and emotions at times.  I am so grateful to know I am not alone!***


I have recently discovered that I am getting annoyed at the degrees that people compare on.  I recently had a friend telling me of her painful divorce, only to follow it up with, "But it is nothing like your story or the pain you have gone through."  I call bullsh*t on that one.  Sure I understand a stubbed toe doesn't hurt as bad as a shattered bone and there are indeed degrees of pain.  Some pains heal quicker than others.  A stubbed toe, a few minutes of healing; a broken little toe, months of healing.  A painful misaligned neck, a few weeks of healing; a fractured C5 vertebrae, a few months of healing.  I get it.  I know some hurts heal faster than others.  Some hurts leave you never the same.  My grandfather had his colon removed due to cancer.  While the cancer was gone, his body was never the same again and he had the marks of his illness until he died.  Nonetheless, I say hurt hurts and I'm tired of people making my hurt huge and minimizing their own hurt.  Her divorce tore her heart out.  My abuse tore my heart out.  Her divorce made her question her worth and lovability.  My past makes me question my worth and lovablilty.  Her divorce has left her life forever altered, even when through the painful part.  My eating disorder has left my life forever altered, even when I am in remission not relapse.  Hurt hurts, no matter where it hurts.  Can one really compare open heart surgery with years of chemo and radiation and say which one is worse?  Can one really compare a broken foot to a broken arm? 

I don't minimize their pain.  Why do they?  Why do people assume that you only have a story if it involves deep tragedy? Why is the fact that I went through violent sexual abuse worse than the fact that my friend was betrayed by the man she loves? We both know the depths of pain and brokenness just through different avenues.  I have a friend who as a very young woman had an abortion.  We were talking about it once and she felt like she didn't have the right to feel her hurt when I miscarried because she had chosen to end a life and I had experienced a life being ended without my choice.  I don't know, I see it as we were both moms.  We both lost a child, one through choice, one through chance.  We both hurt.  I know that there was more to hers because there was also guilt on top of hurt but we were both still as broken as we could have been.

Am I even making sense?  I guess I just want to throw this out there, that though one persons pain threshold may be higher than another persons, both will break when pushed to their threshold.  Whatever your breaking point of pain is, you feel immense pain.  Whether your threshold is a fight with your kids, an eating disorder, the death of a loved one, guilt from past mistakes, a divorce, being disowned, whatever it may be, once you cross your personal pain threshold, you know what pain is and how badly pain hurts.  Or in more medical terms, I smashed my foot under an old fashioned teeter totter this summer.  It swelled instantly and I was certain that I had broken it.  It hurt soooooooo badly!  I was in the doctor's office within a couple of days.  My husband however, dislocated his ankle a few years ago.  As much as I told him he was hurt and needed to see the doctor, he genuinely didn't think it was as  hurt as I was certain it was.  It took more pain for him to feel overwhelmed than it took for me but we both reached a point of overwhelm in our pain.

No one thinks rationally once the overwhelm hits. The fact of the matter is that whether you hurt from your choices or your circumstances, we all know deep hurt.  Whether it is incest, adultry, divorce, abortion, assault, betrayal, or any number of other things, hurt still hurts and is highly personal in how it affects you. I'll never be the one to tell you that your hurt doesn't hurt as badly as you think it does, that it is nothing compared to my hurt or any other stupid answer like that.  Hurt hurts, and we all hurt, period end of story.

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