Accepting Pain to Lessen Anxiety


I’m feeling crappy today so this is an experiment in seeing if I can get a blog post out on a day when I am not feeling up to it, or doing anything for that matter.

I’m not sure why I’m feeling icky, sad, depressed, or whatever you call it, but I have a couple of ideas. One is that it’s so darn dreary today. It was warm and sunny the past few days so it’s surprising that one day like this can trigger such bad feelings, but it has happened before. Could just be that the crummy day is one ingredient in a cocktail of crappy mood.

The other is that I feel uncomfortable even sitting up straight in my office chair. It’s like when you lean against a railing right at the bottom of your rib cage for too long and the pressure on your ribs makes them sore. I’m assuming my torso is running out of space and either my uterus is pushing on my ribs or my uterus is pushing on all that other stuff in there and that stuff is pushing on my ribs. I’m not sure I can comfortably sit up much taller and I’ve still got three months to go.

I’m probably being fatalistic about it. It could just be something that feels bad today that my body will adjust to soon enough, but I keep thinking it’s just going to get worse.

Yesterday my doctor and I talked about accepting pain in order to avoid the anxiety that only makes the pain worse. The technique that finally made sense to me was to observe it, make note of it and accept it as something I cannot change, much like one would learn in meditation practice. I’ve been trying, but it’s a tough process that requires a lot of focus.

I had a cup of coffee, got something to eat, and looked over some funny old photos, many of which featured me looking very happy. I am feeling better now. Not sure if it came from acknowledging my unhappiness and letting it be, but I do feel better knowing that I didn’t wallow in it nor let it spiral further by being angry or feeling guilty that I was sad and hence being unproductive.

Who’s got tips for crawling out of gloominess and/or creating more space in a pregnant gut area?


7 thoughts on “Accepting Pain to Lessen Anxiety

  1. My personal “make myself cheerful” method involves violent video games. Killer Instinct Gold is good if things are really bad and I don’t mind messing up my hands for a while; Starcraft is good for a quick Zerg Rush fix; Civ takes care of long-standing pain; and Defense Grid: the Awakening is a good, new-ish way of calming me down based on the slaughter of hundreds or thousands of innocent aliens.

  2. Whenever I got into a funk as a teenager (which happened quite a bit), my mom would tell me to go do something productive, which was, to my annoyance, good advice. My “doing something productive” has turned out to be crafting, because the results are immediately visible. Cleaning also works for the same reason. YMMV.

  3. I’m ignorant on the pregnant belly space question, but am rather familiar with the anxiety/depression/ouch tag team.

    I agree with you about the weather having a big affect on mood.

    Some stuff that helps me with gloom and pain management:

    A warm bath and a magazine
    A heating pad on my shoulders and a hot cup of chamomile
    Petting the cat
    Making lists: things I’ve accomplished, positive traits about myself,
    places I’ve traveled, friends, favorite anything.
    Telling my best friend I feel sad and she tells me she understands
    Watching something funny on TV or reading something funny like David Sedaris
    A nap. Sometimes that’s like hitting the reset button.
    Telling myself that it is just one day. Being bummed for a while and
    therefore being unproductive is not going to ruin my life. I am not doomed.
    It’s okay to cut myself some slack and relax a bit. Anxiety over
    anxiety is probably the worst part. Nothing like feeling bad for feeling bad.

  4. Walk the mall.
    Light a candle, put cut flowers or a single flower in a vase and enjoy.
    And look at what you wrote a beautiful piece on how you’re feeling..
    You turned writer. That’s good, isn’t it?

  5. Hey Katie,

    Sounds like you have a good mentality via the “observing and accepting” philosophy. Maybe this quote from W.B. Yeats will add a little inspiration:

    “He [She] only can create the greatest imaginable beauty who has endured all imaginable pangs, for only when we have seen and foreseen what we dread shall we be rewarded by that dazzling, unforeseen, wing-footed wanderer. We could not find him if he were not in some sense of our being, and yet of our own being but as water with fire, a noise with silence. He is of all things not impossible the most difficult, for that which comes easily can never be a portion of our being; soon got, soon gone, as the proverb says.”

  6. Thanks for all the tips, folks. I’ll have to refer back to this post the next time I’m feeling bummed. 🙂

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