A Pained Life: Waiting Can Be a Good Thing

By Carol Levy, Columnist

I am on an online "chat" with the cable company. I know this will be difficult -- my eye pain is made worse by having to read and type -- but it is just so darn difficult getting them on the phone.

The chat was going well, but it took what seemed like forever between responses from the representative. I was getting more and more frustrated and annoyed. 

When is she going to come back online so I can be done with this already? 

My reasoning was simple. The faster we can finish this, the sooner I am to no longer doing something that is causing me pain.

I was fuming. C'mon, C'mon!

And then it suddenly dawned on me -- the waiting is a good thing. Every minute or two between replies means I am not using my eye. It is free downtime, my eye getting a few minutes of reprieve.

How many times have you gone out with someone, maybe to shop for clothes or to buy groceries, and the other person stands there looking at items, wrestling with a decision:  "This one or that one? That one or this one?"

And how often do you get mad or upset? My body is hurting and the pain is growing. Please, enough already! Or maybe you even say it. 

What if, instead of letting the frustration or even the pain get to you, you take the opportunity to find a chair or lean against a counter? Or even say, "I need to leave the store. I'll go back and wait in the car." 

So often it feels like we have no options. It is an either/or situation -- either leave or let the pain take over.  Or feel like you are antagonizing the person you are with. 

But maybe there is a third choice. 

Instead of ending up upset because you could not get done what you came to do, or the person you came with is annoyed because your mood has turned foul and they "don't want to hear about your pain" anymore; maybe it is time to change our thinking.  

I am not one to dole out platitudes. I don't think we can make lemonade out of our pain-filled lemons. But just for this instance -- turn that frown upside down, as it were.

Take the frustration of waiting and give it a reason. 

Take the time to find a safe area, couch, counter, or a quiet fitting room and turn the negative of frustration into a positive time for yourself.  And a time-out for your body. 

Carol Jay Levy has lived with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic facial pain disorder, for over 30 years. She is the author of “A Pained Life, A Chronic Pain Journey.”  Carol is the moderator of the Facebook support group “Women in Pain Awareness.” Her blog “The Pained Life” can be found here.

The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represent the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.