Chronic Pain Anxieties

At the end of June, we’re supposed to return to the French River for another group camping trip.

I had so much fun last time around, and I really do want to return. It’s a beautiful place, one of my favourite spots in Ontario. I love it so much, I’m writing a novella that takes place there.

But I know how much that trip took from me, and I won’t lie…I’m a little anxious about having to canoe in this time around.

Last time, I was lucky enough to hitch a ride on an actual boat. Regrettably, those friends are unable to attend this year, so I’ll be canoeing there with the rest.

Matt will do the majority of the rowing, but let’s face it–that’s not exactly a comforting thought. I’ll help as much as I can, but again; that thought is far from soothing, considering I can scarcely peel potatoes, let alone row for an hour and a half.

I remember how exhausted and sore I was just camping, and I didn’t even row to the campsite! Needless to say, I’m freaking out a little bit.

I talk a big game about not letting chronic pain rule you (because no matter what; chronic pain is chronic), but sometimes, my anxiety over my chronic pain disability and my limitations overpowers my desire to do fun things.

This probably happens because I don’t want to inconvenience the people I’m with. I hate feeling like a burden, and it’s so easy to feel that way when you’re depending on other people to do things for you because you can’t. Like rowing, for example.

We’re still weeks away from this trip and I’m already feeling guilty that Matt will be doing mostly all of the rowing, all of the heavy lifting, and the stretching to set up the tent. He assures me it’s no problem, but tell that to the voice inside my head that likes to whisper poisonous things about how I’m a hindrance.

I’m not a hindrance; I know that voice lies. I handle the behind the scenes stuff; I’ll be the one prepping meals and making sure we have all of the things we need for the camping trip. My talents are elsewhere, and that’s okay.

My husband knows this; and he’s okay with it, too. He’s the one reminding me that I can, and I will. This is the man that takes care of me post-op, that gets me ice cream before I even have to ask, because he knows I love it just as he knows my hands don’t let me easily scoop the frozen goodness from the carton.

But these anxieties about the impending trip still live within me, and pretending they aren’t there won’t make them disappear. Confronting them head on is the only way to defeat them.

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