Friday, 30 January 2015

Pay it Forward

Just when I was feeling low and, well, pretty useless, I had a wonderful Pay It Forward moment.

I was talking to a service representative and mentioned that I was trying to cut my costs as I was facing a drop in my income. She said she knew how I felt as her husband was unable to work and they were down to one salary.

I find people talk to me about personal stuff, must be the old nurse in me is not totally gone. Anyway, her husband has debilitating pain, but has been denied disability. She has a lot to deal with, more than just being total support for the family.

Chronic pain is difficult to live with and changes a person. There are the everyday things that you can’t cope with due to pain, so you tend to withdraw, from family, from friends. At the same time this man had to deal with loss of work/career, and I know how devastating that can be, to your sense of self esteem.

I recommended that she and her husband each start writing a journal, as both are dealing with issues related, but separate. Sometimes you just need to get the anger and the fear out of your head, and writing it out has always helped me clear my mind and see things more clearly.

The one problem with this is what you write can be hurtful if read by someone else. So rather than writing in a notebook, I suggested writing on loose paper, and shredding the results. It’s not something the writer would want to reread, or want anyone else to read, so shredding is for the best. Lord knows, when I moved I found notes that needed shredding badly and if read by others would have caused a great deal of hurt. How you feel in any given moment is not necessarily how you really feel, but could be a reaction to some event. Hence the shredding.

I felt that I was able to give her some understanding of what it’s like living with pain and shared my own experience in applying for disability. I think I gave her some support, at that moment at least, I was a sympathetic ear. Often people can talk to strangers easier than to those closer to the situation.

It was a feel good moment for me, as I felt more like the ‘me’ I used to be, strong, smart and able to offer just the right words of comfort and support. It was a win-win, for sure.

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