March 16, 2009

Working Through (and sitting with) Pain

I remember a while back when I was going through a difficult time, I was shown a stress chart that showed all the events in your life that can be stressful. In it was things like the death of a loved on, sickness, car troubles, etc. Also on it were good things, like marriage, visits with family, etc.

This week has been stressful for me. If it were only to consist of my acceptance to the MSW program, that probably would have been enough. However, you have to add in there the stress of thinking about moving, the problems I've having at my practicum and a couple other things that I won't mention.

All of this has culminated in my sleep being a bit troubled, my sore back acting up and a some other random pain that I haven't had before. Simply put, I am in pain. I hurt. A lot. And it's become a learning experience. I have just a short while left in my practicum and have to work through the pain as best I can. I am on some pain killers, but they're not working as well as I hoped. In a session today, I was having some weird shooting pains and had to center myself before continuing. It is a weird thing to experience. However, viewing it as a learning experience has definitely helped me bear it.

Here I am, with some shooting pains that will go away most likely after one treatment, sitting with people whose pain is sometimes constant and hasn't gone away for years. Their treatment takes a hell of a lot longer than mine, and if they can sit there with their pain, so can I. I don't believe I have lost my capacity to help with this pain. It is not unbearable, just very uncomfortable. I know that if it interferes, I can step aside. For now, though, I am fine. I can sit with it, and my clients and I can learn from each other, about sitting with pain.
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5 comments:

oregonamy1972 said...

I absolutely agree that being in pain while you work puts things in perspective. Obviously since I work in a hospital, I deal with lots of people in varying degrees of pain..some of what people put up with on daily basis is truly humbling.

cb said...

Ouch.. sorry to hear about the pain.

Reas Kroicowl said...

I would agree that experiencing pain on any level puts things in perspective--especially when you work with people who have chronic pain.

I hope you're feeling better soon. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

If you get a chance sometime have a look at Jon Kabat-Zinn's book 'full catastrophic living' - you might find it of interest. He uses mindfulness meditation to help with pain management. In social work this can also be used to help the social worker be more present to clients as well as helping clients. Relaxation CDs are good too - the kind where you do a gentle body scan and you're just taking your awareness around the body with the breath. Can help reduce tension in body and mind - which means you experience less pain. I teach gentle yoga and meditation to people and I'm training to be a social worker - I want the therapy skill set so that I can help people more when issues come up through yoga and meditation practice. I'm still fairly new to my social work studies but from what I've witnessed so far, I'd say social work is pretty stressful and so tools like relaxation techniques can really help - mind and breath are powerful tools.

antiSWer said...

I'm feeling a bit better. I think I've just worked my stress level up to a crazy level and my body got a bit ticked off at me and tried to slow me down.

And yes, Anon, social work can be stressful...and mindfulness does help. :)

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