Imagine a life without pain. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?
I just finished watching a story on 60 Minutes called ‘Pain-Free’. Far from being a utopic experience, it played out more like a horror story. Witnessing the journey of two little girls through a life without pain was excruciating… from putting a hand into a pot of boiling water to chewing fingers through to the bone, it revealed the strange truth that pain is actually a gift.
A few years ago, I read Philip Yancey’s book Where is God When it Hurts as I battled through the pain of depression. He talked about a group of patients suffering from Leprosy. The common belief had been that the loss of fingers and toes was a side effect of the disease but studies found it was a result of an inability to feel pain. Putting hands on hot stove tops, wearing shoes that were far too tight, even rats nibbling away while the patients slept… that’s why patients were losing fingers and toes! Ewwww!
Philip goes beyond acknowledging the gift of physical pain, to face the importance of emotional pain. Far from being a weakness, emotional pain is a vital gift. Like physical pain, it’s a sign that something isn’t right and something needs to change.
At the time, I was struggling with depression as a result of the suicide of a very close friend, along with a gamut of issues surrounding my self-esteem and sense of identity.
I learnt that sometimes it’s okay not to be okay. Rather than having a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude, this book taught me that I needed to acknowledge the pain (as I would if my hand was resting in a fire) and get the help I needed.
For me, it was talking to a wonderful Christian counsellor that helped me work through each issue and find the healing I needed.
If you’re experiencing emotional pain right now, don’t pretend it’s not there. Don’t let it nibble away at your heart and mind. Get the help and healing you need to live pain free. I shudder to think where I’d be right now had I not done that.
Originally published at MumDaily. Photo by Genaro Servín.