Articles

Malingering Is Hazardous to Your Health (and Mine)

Over the holidays, my son’s play station 3 broke down, so he decided to take it apart and fix it himself. I watched him labor over this task for quite a while as he tried to figure out which parts were in good working order and which pieces were faulty. He did it.

Then a week or so later, same problem occurred. Once again, he took the outside panel off and started working again at figuring out what went wrong. After more hours of critical thinking and technical maneuvering, he corrected the problem and this time it worked.

Lesson learned? Don’t give up when something that’s broken doesn’t get fixed the first time around.

Reminded me of a nagging problem I’ve been trying to piece together and how I’ve been falling into the unhealthy habit of labeling myself as a malingerer and in medical terms that’s not nice.

As I continue to try and figure out, alleviate, reduce, and manage pain that should be gone, a good friend taking note of my distress and frustration, recommended a wonderfully practical and insightful resource, “Managing Pain Before It Manages You,” written by a medical doctor specializing in helping patients dealing with chronic pain.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first began going through the text…but when I read about men and women who start blaming themselves for their ongoing discomfort…feeling they’ve let down themselves, the people closest to them, their doctors, and anyone who cares about them…it struck a nerve. That is exactly how I feel.

It isn’t logical but it encapsulates exactly what runs through my mind numerous times every day (every time I feel pain and am reminded that something is amiss inside of me.)

So, I kept reading and when I reached the section on how powerful the mind is in relation to understanding pain and dealing with it…I realized how important right thinking is for people who hurt.

And it is wrong to “malinger” or blame myself for the pain I experience. Instead of getting lost in finger pointing (back at myself,) I have to look for productive ways to deal and minimize it. Which is way healthier.

I may not have pieced together all the components of pain, but I do know several things.

The pain is real. It is not my fault. I can be an active participant in finding the best solution for me.

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