A lesson in color, imagery, and comfort.
Two days ago and yesterday, I was in horrible pain. I went to a quilt show with my mom and a friend and this had been the longest time I had been on my feet since dealing with this posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (pttd). PTTD pain is like having someone take a sharp blade and slice it through the arch of your foot. It's so bad, you can't step on it.
Pain does horrible things to a persons emotional state if you don't keep it in check. It can make you wonder how much more you can take it, it can make you frequently frustrated and angry, and it can feel hopeless-- especially when doctors say "There is nothing we can do for you pain." This is a dead end answer-- and, it assumes that drugs are the only thing that can relieve pain.
Today I came across a blog called:
In short it offers a steps using imagery to deal with either pain and/or stress.
First, think of the worst possible pain you've every experienced.
Assign a color for that pain.
(I'm going to assign an intense red color for mine.)
Second, think of when you're comfortable-- not necessarily pain free... and assign a color for that.
(I'm going to assign a gold color for this)
Third, think of an object-- food, flower, ect.
I'll choose a pencil.
Fourth, strip away the color gradually... as described in her blog:
When you are in severe pain, picture this object being covered by the color you assigned to represent the highest level of pain you can possibly endure–the ugliest and harshest pain you have ever experienced. With this type of imagery, you focus on removing the dark color from the object and replacing it with the color representing your comfort level. Now the trick of it is to focus on it as if you were scraping away the darkness little by little–paying close attention to the detail of the object and the location of the color around it.In the beginning, you might want to just hurry up and remove the “bad” color and go right to replacing it with the “good” or comforting one but what I have found to be key is taking a little more time and watching the change reveal itself gradually–just like pain tends to respond to comfort measures…Rather than go directly from black to white, I selected colors in between that I felt represented different levels of pain and comfort. As I moved closer to my comfort level, my colors progressed from the darkest to the lightest shades. As I carefully and methodically removed the black color from my object, I found a layer of a little lighter color waiting for me. I could not move onto the next color until I had completely removed the previous one.
Lastly, imagine the removal of color as a removal of pain......
Now it is important for you to equate the removal of color with the removal of pain or discomfort because remember–your color represents your pain at any given level. What I have found is this–as I progressed toward the white color, my pain levels would ease a little–sometimes more than others. Perhaps sometimes you will practice this form of imagery when your pain is moderate rather than severe.
In this case, you might select a different color along your color spectrum and start the fading process from that point. And maybe you will change your particular object to other things when your source of pain differs. The neat thing about these skills is that you own them and if something specific works for you then by all means incorporate it. Some people imagine very large objects when they have “very large” headaches and they go about ridding of their painful color using a paint brush that has wide strokes. Others prefer to use an eraser and erase their pain away as if in layers until they reveal a perfectly clean and white object. If this works for you then use it!
In another illness when I was in DKA and in the hospital for 5 days, I had severe pain from people sticking my arm to draw blood so many times.
There was only one person through that entire ordeal, who had enough gumption to practice imagery with me.
It wasn't a Doctor.
It wasn't a Nurse.
It wasn't a Social Worker.
It wasn't a nurse assistant.
It was the head of the phlebotomy department.
In that brief moment before she even did anything, she used imagery with me-- and it made a difference.
What color is your pain?