Sit with the pain until it passes…

I have a wall with inspirational stickers in front of my computer, so I look at them for some encouragement.

I have there: “Write every single day even if it’s only for 15 minutes”. Recently I crossed 15 and put “30…but better more”

“Believing in yourself is the first secret of success” — well, who would argue with this one?

And “Sit with the pain until it passes, and you will be calmer for the next one” At this one, I look the most…And I find it questionable…

Maybe I’ve chosen the wrong way to sit with it, maybe it doesn’t help when the pain is chronic and is always there… And why am I not getting any calmer, but more cynical with the days…Not as a person, cynical about the pain and ways of dealing with it.

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

When I was small, I think 5 or 6 and was playing “hide and seek” with my fellows. I really wanted to find the best place to hide and win the game.

So, I jumped through the fence, excited about the amazing hiding place I’ve discovered, and got straight into the barbed wire. The wires sunk into my flesh immediately and blood covered my tiny legs and left hand.

I didn’t feel like crying, I felt like I wanted to get rid of the pain straight away. The kids were announcing loudly that they found everyone, but me and I were trying to release myself with one hand and weren’t managing. That’s when I started to cry, very hurtfully, like an offspring being separated from its mother.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

All the kids gathered near the fence, sticking their heads to look at me in turns, and that hurt even more. Finally, my mom — white like the whitest wall and a few neighbors with instruments came and saved me. I had pain for a couple of weeks and memories forever…And every day I was sitting with pain until I healed and it passed.

And then you grow accepting that there is a pain in the world, but still unaware of how it might come and how to be prepared for it. You just know — it passes, when you sit still or try to take your mind away from it.

I remember the day my grandfather passed away… I was a little bit older by then and more experienced. It was a hot summer day and my family took me to visit him in hospital…

There was a little shop on the way with different kinds of ice-cream and I could not decide which ice-cream would work best for such an occasion. My parents almost dragged me from the shop, but luckily I managed to grab a nice looking and amazingly smelling strawberry delicacy.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

My grandpa whom I haven’t seen for a couple of months was lying in the bed, attached to IV, and looked small and fragile. I couldn’t believe it was him and asked my parents if we’ve chosen the right room…

Nobody answered me, so I came closer to see — yes, it was my grandpa, the one that taught me to ride the horse and who had the most comforting hands in the whole universe.

I put my mouth to his ear and said:” I brought you an ice-cream, strawberry”…I think he smiled at me.

But when I was unpacking an ice-cream, that was melting, little drops falling to the floor, the heart monitor started beeping…Mom drugged me away to the corridor and the ice-cream felt on the floor…

There she started to cry and I started crying too. I think I was mostly crying because grandpa didn’t try the ice-cream I got for him and because my hand was hurting. But then father came out and said “Grandpa is dead” and I felt like the fire started to burn inside my chest and I was gasping for air.

Photo by BÜNYAMİN GÖRÜNMEZ on Unsplash

I was sitting alone in the corridor lost in memories about my dear grandfather when people in white robes took him away and the cleaning lady started to wipe the ice-cream out of the floor.

Life is passing by bringing us different lessons, some of them make us feel great, some fly away not leaving any traces behind and some feel very bad. We try hard to forget the pain and it’s true that with the time it transforms and feels different and maybe we are getting stronger and learning to adapt, getting more cynical to our own feelings and the feelings of others.

But pain is diverse, contrastive, unalike and it does take courage and determination to calm it down and fight back for the brighter days that are definitely waiting for you ahead… If you want them to come, if you are able to sit still and understand what is going on in your soul or body.

In medical books, the definition of pain is — unpleasant sensation and emotional experience that links to tissue damage. It allows the body to react and prevent further tissue damage… Pain motivates the individual to withdraw from damaging situations, to protect a damaged body part while it heals, and to avoid similar experiences in the future.

Isn’t it the same if the pain is not physical- understand and feel the pain now to prevent further damage?

Of course, I remember the young man I liked so much…He was the one — with greenest eyes, infectious laughter, the melodic timbre of voice and so much more because everything was becoming brighter when he was around.

Photo by Tiraya Adam on Unsplash

I could not take my mind away from him, he was everywhere — in my morning routine, poems, journals, and dreams about the future…

I tried not to stare at him that much, but I did and he invited me on a date. Damn…it was the happiest day of my life and it took me four hours to choose the right outfit.

I tried to be myself, but all I could do is to walk near him and hold his hand which he unwillingly offered.

For some unknown reasons, we had one more date and then one more…and we started to talk, that’s how I figured that he wasn’t as bright as I thought before. It didn’t make him less likable, I was in love…

Maybe the story could last a bit longer, but one day I blurted out: “I love you so much” raised my eyes to see a smirk on his face…and heard: ”Do you want to go to my place?”

I was sixteen and I was in love…so we went to his place and that was the last time I saw him.

Did it help me to avoid similar experiences in the future? Nope, I am still learning…

Sometimes pain arises in the absence of any detectable stimulus, damage, or disease, not my case though…I perfectly understand the reasons for my pain — it is physical, but also it comes with depressive moods, horrible thoughts, and the moments when it’s hard to believe that the next time it’s coming back I’ll be strong enough to sit through it.

When it is really bad I think that physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia is not debatable, people should have an option… But when I feel a bit better I get angry at myself for such thoughts…

Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

The experience of pain is different for every person, and there are various ways to feel and describe the pain.

And it is challenging to define and treat it. There are some medication, meditation, support groups…

When I feel bad I might call my best friend and he would say: “Smoke some weed”, “But I don’t want to it makes me numb” I’d answer and then he would say “I wish I was there to hug you and give you a massage” and I would close the phone so he doesn’t hear me crying.

Pain can be short- or long-term and stay in one place or spread around the body or it can be everywhere…

P.S. It was not an easy decision to finally post it :)

And here is a little video for those who prefer to listen and watch:

Written by Helena Maksyom



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Helena Maksyom

Helena Maksyom


Curious about what makes us human, how our humanity was shaped by evolution and environment and how we force environmental change in the present-day.