Let’s set the theme of this article ‘pain and bad feelings’ with an experience. I remember that day everyone was distressed by this chiming unending sound of the hospital’s oxygen supply alarm. All the clinical staff tried in vain to stop this alarm. Finally we had to call on the technical team in efforts resolve the problem.
Soon a gentleman appeared in the unique attire of the technical staff rather shabbily. He quickly got the sound to stop. Everyone hailed him as climbed down the short ladder. He was the hero of the day. We could now have our peace to return to work.
But there was something big we were missing. how was he able to stop the alarm? We did not care much at that time because all we needed was to stop the irritation caused by the sound. We hated the pain and bad feelings it brought us.
It was two weeks after the incidence when people had also forgotten the experience the consequence struck. The oxygen supply to the intensive care unit (ICU) just stopped, patients were on oxygen and I need not over stress this. It was the real definition of disaster. The physicians and other clinicians tried to troubleshoot as quickly as possible but to no avail.
What was the cause of this disaster?
Often, we are tempted to think that pain is the enemy. This is because pain presents us with so much discomfort. But is pain the real enemy?
Later it was revealed that the tech guy who worked on the alarm was the cause of the problem. How? wasn’t he the hero of the day? Well, he did not really solve the problem, he only took away the pain which was the alarm. He disconnected the alarm that was supposed to inform the clinician when the oxygen is low in the tanks. The oxygen therefore finished without warning to the dismay of the staff on duty that day.
Pain and bad feelings
You probably read the title of this article wondering why someone will say such a thing. Who purposefully goes out wishing for pain and bad feelings? No one will just want things that will make them sad, angry or depressed. Happiness is all we talk about. Pain and Bad feelings are to avoided at all cost and we often associate it with the negative. As I said earlier, it is easy to think that pain and bad feelings is the enemy. But this two emotions are vital ways to push one to action.
It’s A Good Thing
Pain is the alarm of our body. If you recall the SHS reflex action experiments you will remember that pain that came from touching a hot object was required to help you move quickly to avoid the harm. Imagine if you felt no pain at all. It’ll be like the ICU without oxygen alarm. For instance headache shouldn’t be seen as the problem, it only tells you that something is wrong. It’s like the friend who warns you to take caution before the worse happens. When you feel pain it tells you to see the doctor. The most dangerous diseases scientists and physicians fear is the diseases that does not show any signs. The signs of any disease often involve some kind of pain. Imagine the number of lives that have been saved because someone went to the doctor for an unknown pain in their body.
Bad feelings works in the same fashion
Bad feelings is a sign that you ought to pay attention to your immediate environment. Examine what is not working right. Anger or sadness should inform you that you need to change something you are doing. This feeling has the potential to push you to identify and close the lose ends.
Listen to the alarm
Pain and bad feelings are not the enemy, in fact, they are the good friends. So what is the real enemy? The real enemy is deafness to this wonderful alarm systems. Let’s say you feel a sharp pain in your abdomen and decided to sit at home cursing the pain instead of visiting the hospital. When something terrible happens later, is it the pain or your negligence? When you experience negative emotions it only become serious if you don’t take any action to resolve them. Inaction is the problem and not the emotions themselves. If you feel sad and decide to continue doing the same things that brings the sadness it will only get worse. But if you listen to this alarm and make adjustments then you will be eliminating the real enemy.
How do make use of pain and bad feelings?
- Listen and accept
You need to be conscious of your feelings as you are of your physical pain. You need to acknowledge the presence of this pain. Imagine if the fire alarm is blowing, do you call the fire service or you just sit and hope that the alarm stops? Never ignore the pain. Ignoring the pain or bad feelings only saves you for a bigger consequence.
- Identify with the causes
Every effect has a cause. When you listen to your emotions then you need to understand exactly what is causing them. It is just like when you visit the hospital, clinicians and medical scientist work not just to stop your headache but to identify what is causing the pain. That is the only way they can help you.
- Take corrective action
No matter how well doctors are able to diagnose your condition you wont be well if they don’t take any actions. Identifying the cause of the problem is a good step but it does not end there. Once you identify with the causes, you need to make conscious efforts to eliminate them. In some instances, you might need to take even bolder steps. You may have to end a failing marriage or relationship or quit your job.
From this point I think you understand exactly what pain and bad feelings mean to you. Either you call them the necessary devil or the hard friend, one thing is clear, we need them. Just as the ICU need the gas alarm we also need our biological alarms to live well. You only need to take actions when recognise them and identifies what is causing them.
Please share your experiences with us in the comments!