When you or someone you love is in pain
Three important ways that you can help yourself or others
All of us know someone who is going through pain of some kind - whether is is physical pain, illness, or emotional pain from some kind of loss or life transition. But how do you support someone who is going through pain?
It's a big question, and what a lot of people may not realize is that this issue is a huge reason that I got into the healing arts in the first place.
When I was 15 my mother suddenly got ill -- dramatically, suddenly and shockingly ill. We didn't even know what it was, and we wouldn't for five long years.
All we knew it that it was affecting her neurologically, emotionally and physically in ways none of us had ever encountered before. It seemed that there was nothing we could do - and it turned my world upside-down.
I'm not bringing this up to cause a pity party...on the contrary, all the pain that we went through together had many silver linings...including the fact that I learned some very important things about supporting others when they are in physical and emotional pain - all learned the hard way. Here are some of the most important ones:
1) "You can't give from an empty basket."
Many of you have heard me share this favorite quote my from my southern belle Grandmother - but it is so true! We have a myth in our culture that if we love someone, then we should give them everything we got. But there is a problem with that.
If you give the the point that you are completely burnt out, love can quickly turn to resentment or the other people that depend on you can start to suffer. You may find that you are getting ill more often yourself, or that your negative mood can start to affect others. This brings us to the second part of my grandmother's quote which is, "You can't help someone if you crawl into the hospital bed with them!"
2) When you are called to support others, give more support to yourself.
It makes sense, right? If you draw extra money from the bank, then you need to make more deposits to make up for it. It is okay to do more for a while, but understand that the greater the withdrawal you take, the greater the deposit you will have to make later. So get that respite care for your aging parents so that you can take a break. Take up a mind-body practice like yoga, qigong or meditation. Or get a massage or acupuncture treatment to help reset your nervous system and refill those empty reserves. Even going for a short 15 minute mindfulness walk can completely change your day.
3) Don't try to do it all yourself.
Get support. Being in pain is not a burden that should be carried alone - whether by the person in pain or the person supporting that individual.
If you are in pain, be sure to get support from friends and loved ones. Don't be afraid to ask for help -- if they can't help at that time they can always say, "no." But don't rely entirely on friends and family for support either. Here is why:
1) It is important to have a place that you can fully express how you feel without having to protect other people's feelings (which we tend to do more with friends and family).
2) Not all friends and family know how to listen well or perhaps there is an emotional charge in their interactions (perhaps they minimize your experience on one hand, or on the other give unhelpful advice without really listening).
3) It's easy to think that your symptoms are strange or that there is something wrong with you. That is likely the furthest thing from the truth! What over 20 years of practice has shown me is that not only are MANY people likely experiencing the same thing as you, but that people who share the same problems or practitioners who specialize in your issue are great resources for help. Support groups, counseling or other one-on-one support can be invaluable for sustaining hope and getting relief.
If you are supporting someone in pain it's easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless because:
1) We don't know how to help the person we care about.
2) We are often emotionally invested and not objective about the people we care about.
3) We expect ourselves to know and do more than we are capable of or knowledgeable about.
So if you are in the position to help and support someone else, by all means do so, but don't expect yourself to have all the answers or to do everything. Really, the best thing a friend or loved one can do is to give love, listen, and be supportive. Don't underestimate the power of this! It really makes a difference.
But if you do want to get support, where do you begin?
Over the years, one of my greatest joys has been to support others going through painful times - whether a dark night of the soul or a shade of grey. So much of this comes from knowing how important it was for me. It is why I studied both counseling psychology and natural medicine.
The truth is, that if you or someone you know is in pain - you are likely desperate for relief but overwhelmed about where to begin. Here are some ways that you can help yourself or someone that you care about.
1) Get a Free 20 minute health consultation.
This month I am reserving time for Free 20 minute consultations to discuss people's concerns about their health and how to get them started in the right direction. Not sure if natural medicine is the right thing for you? If I can't help you or you need additional support besides Oriental Medicine, I'll be sure to steer you in the right direction to the best of my ability.
2) Come to Acupuncture Happy Hour (Friday Oct 2nd, 2015)
Acupuncture Happy Hour was designed for people who have never experienced acupuncture to have a Free Mini-treatment. Just 4-5 points max focused on pure relaxation. Ask questions and get a chance to meet me and see if we click. This month it is by anonymous donation. $5-$25 suggested. No one will be turned away. Sessions are 30 minutes long.
3) Group acupuncture (starting later this month!)
A form of acupuncture done in a group setting fully clothed. Normally $40 but hardship is also available (no supportive documentation necessary). Most individuals will pay between $25-$40. Sessions last about 60 minutes.
4) Qigong classes - a mind-body tool for profound personal and physical change. Combine moving meditation with breathwork and mindfulness and you will have a good idea of what Qigong is all about. Preliminary classes start next week!
4) Individual one-on-one work. Combine acupuncture with massage for a full transformational journey. Or if you don't do well with acupuncture, try acupressure instead. Packages and monthly payment plans are available for this.
Whatever your journey I wish you the best! Also please leave your comments below or just say, "Hi!" to let me know you were here. Was this helpful? Have you experienced any of these things? What did you do to help yourself or someone else when they were in pain?
Until next time...Imagine the possible, live inspired, and be well.
Tabitha Marsh combines Massage & Acupuncture to provide natural pain relief and mental-emotional balance. She also teaches classes on Qigong & Cultivating Health & Wellbeing.