I have discussed the power of communication before when it comes to managing chronic pain. Realistic representation of your pain levels, educating new specialists about Burning Mouth Syndrome, and even sharing with family and friends about your condition; what helps…and what doesn’t.
We have discussed counseling and therapy and I highly recommend it if you can find and afford it. It will give you a listening ear from a professional who has “no skin in the game.” You cannot overwhelm them with your frustration and pain, or frighten them about your reactions to it. You cannot express any emotions that they have not seen before. They are required to have professional boundaries, and short of your expression of the intent to self-harm or harm others, they will actively listen and then give you some ideas of how to handle these emotions. It’s a gift you give yourself.
But, you say, “I can’t afford that.” Or, “I don’t want to open up to a stranger.”
I hear you.
But what can you do that could have some of the benefits of counseling but remain as private as you wish?
I suggest writing. You may not think you are very good at writing, or feel your private thoughts are too strong or embarrassing. I accept that, but you don’t have to keep the writing or show it to anyone else. The simple act of expressing these feelings and experiences in writing has therapeutic value. When we organize our thoughts to the point of putting them down on paper or computer, we are organizing and naming our feelings at the same time, and any counselor will tell you that is often the first step toward managing them.
On the other hand, if you think your experiences and feelings could be useful to help others feel heard or supported, the option of publishing or sharing is open to you. Be cautious and use best practices to protect your privacy. (A Google search on this topic will teach you a great deal.)
My grown daughters gave me a year subscription to Storyworth for Christmas and I am starting by responding to its prompts each week. The first asked about my grandparents and the second is a question about vacations I took as a child. Pretty basic stuff, but thinking and writing about these people who are no longer here and places I haven’t seen for decades is turning out to be a twofold blessing. I am diverted by the process and don’t think as much about my daily pain and I am committing memories to a format that can be shared with my family.
Think about the stories your grandparents told you about the lives that they lived. Even your parents have so many stories that you may never have been told. What if you could open the pages of a book and “hear” a loved one talking to you, even long after they have passed.
I find this thought very hopeful.
Wishing you a great 2023 with less pain for all!