Tell Me Your Story: Chronic Pain

One of the many debilitating aspects of living with chronic pain—whether it is physical pain, psychic pain, or both (one often leads to the other)—is the sense of loneliness and isolation it can create. So often we can feel all alone in our pain, especially when we are told (or it is implied) that “it’s all in our head.” Even better is when the very same healthcare provider or “well-meaning” friend/neighbor/coworker turns right around and says, “You’ll just have to learn to live with it.” It can be crazy-making. It can make you start to doubt yourself and your sanity. Maybe we really are just making it all up? Maybe it really isn’t such a big deal? Sometimes it is only the reality of our pain that can ground us in our sanity. Sometimes the reality of our pain teaches us that the best course is to keep it to ourselves.

They say misery loves company, but in my experience the exact opposite is true, especially when misery is chronic. Chronic misery likes to keep us lonely. Unfortunately, loneliness and isolation are the exact opposite of what we need.

If any of this resonates for you, I hope you will consider scheduling a consultation and massage with me at Germantown Wellness Collective.

I do not claim that I can “fix” your pain. I can’t. Your pain, like all pain, is a complex phenomenon, that involves your body, your nervous system, your heart and soul, your psyche, your story—the only person who ultimately has the power to change your experience of pain is YOU.

Don’t misunderstand me: I am not saying you can “fix” your pain because it’s all your fault anyway. I am not saying you are still living with pain because you haven’t tried hard enough to do the things you have been told to do to “fix” what is wrong with you. I am not telling you that you can just will your pain away because it’s all in your head anyway.

I am telling you that, despite what you have probably been told for so long, you are not “broken.” You are not simply the sum of all the things that are “wrong” with you. You are so much more than all the ways your body has supposedly “failed” you.

These are the stories you have been told, but you can craft a different story. And this is where I might be able to help.  

Here are a few things I would like you to know about my approach pain and pain management in my wellness practice at Germantown Wellness Collective:

First, and most important: if you tell me you have pain, I WILL BELIEVE YOU. Full stop. I will never question the reality of your pain.

Second, and maybe equally important: I WILL LISTEN TO YOU. I want to know your story. I want to listen to as much as you feel comfortable telling me about the story of your pain, including not just the physical experience of it, but also social and emotional impact that living with pain has had on your life. I want to hear these things not just because I am a generally empathetic person, but also because ALL OF THAT MATTERS in helping you craft effective strategies for minimizing and managing your pain.

Third, I am a zealous believer in the healing and nurturing properties of compassionate, therapeutic touch (which is what massage therapy is, in a nutshell). Again, I don’t claim that massage is going to cure your pain, but I do believe that compassionate, therapeutic touch can be a powerful tool in helping you craft a new story about your pain and your capacity to manage it so that you can live a fulfilling, connected, meaningful life.

When you bring your self and your body and your pain to a massage therapy session with me, I will bring a whole host of skills that I believe can be helpful: storytelling skills, listening skills, bodywork skills, research and educational skills. I would love to share these with you.

Our work together will always start with your story—so please share it with me!

Please tell me your story!

Feel free to write as much or as little as you feel comfortable with in the comments below, or, if you prefer, in an email to martarosemassage@gmail.com. In one week, I will draw one name from all of those who have shared to receive a free 60-minute integrative therapeutic massage plus a free introductory consultation of up to 30 minutes.

Marta RoseComment