The Root of Pain

Oct. 16th, 2017

For quite a long time, I thought that it was important to address and deal with pain head-on. Which is a good idea in theory, but as so often with my ADHD, I took it to an extreme. Not only did I want to address problems, but I thought it was necessary to work through everything that caused pain completely and right in the moment. This was caused by my fear that if it wasn’t dealt with right away, it would disappear into the ether and be lost, only to cause a cycle of pain, never ending.

I very much like the phrase “this too shall pass” but I always assumed the passing part only happened after a concerted effort. I’m beginning to see this isn’t the case. This is a nuance if you will, and context I have discovered, both things that ADHD struggles with.

What happened when I tried to deal with things in the moment of pain is somewhat good. A lot of things were addressed and resolved. However, sometimes the source of pain is unclear, or worse, in error. I’ve come to realize that just because I’m upset about something, that doesn’t necessarily mean that thing is the reason I’m upset.

The biggest thing that taught me this is sleep, but it could just as easily happen with any fundamental and unmet need. When I’m not getting the sleep I need, everything seems 100 times worse. Things that were neutral yesterday become scary and dire threats today. Trying to resolve anything that appears to be harming me in that state is at best futile and at worse causing conflict and more harm.

The key for me is a reality check. Comparing my state of mind to things like sleep, recent events, and the weather. You’d be amazed at how many hurtful things are said, accidents occur, and unbearable circumstances crop up when it’s raining. It’s just uncanny.

Sometimes I just need to take a deep breath, acknowledge that, yes, my pain is real, and then consider a different course of action than tearfully hashing this issue out right now. Even just taking a ten minutes break before diving back into an emotional discussion can do wonders.

Now to work on remembering this...

How do you know where your pain is truly coming from?