I would like to dedicate this article to a good friend who is battling Parkinson's and will hopefully be undergoing surgery soon. May you have a speedy recovery, resulting in an improved quality of life. This article is for you - one of the many unknown heroes, whose private story goes unsung but who inspires me with your bravery, insightful words of wisdom, a great sense of humour and wit.
Emotional affairs do not necessarily include sex and can even occur over the Internet between two people who have never met face to face, but the effects can be just as devastating to relationships as sexual affairs- sometimes even more so.
Escaping pain never works. You can try, but there will always be a time when you are left alone in the abyss of your thoughts and the pain will re-surface. Drugs, sex, alcohol.. they are perfect engines for your own escape, but eventually they will become your consistent means of running away from what is actually hurting you.
Through mindfulness we can learn to tease apart the two kinds of suffering, meaning we can learn to accept the primary sensations and in turn, greatly reduce the secondary suffering which has a way of dissolving when looked upon with a compassionate eye.
As I approach my fifth day without sleep I must admit I am finding the thought of battling my way through until bed time a daunting concept. You may notice I use words like fighting, battling and defences. I do so as when you are in the grip of very high levels of pain you really feel like you are at war.
In many ways I depend on people who are not sick. I need you to visit me when I'm too sick to go out. Sometimes I need help with shopping, cooking, cleaning, or taken to the doctor. You are my link to normalcy and help me to keep in touch with parts of life I miss.
For someone with arthritis who is living with pain and stiffness in their joints, it's not just a matter of finding the time. Imagine how difficult it would be to maintain intimacy with your partner if, having a hug, sleeping next to someone at night or going for a walk was excruciatingly painful.
What might be the basis for not accepting second class health? Perhaps because its as innate to our spiritual sense to feel health is natural as it is politically to demand equal rights. "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties," mused Swiss poet and philosopher Henri Frédéric Amiele.
Some of us have a very delicate, sensitive and finely tuned internal radar that picks up signs of danger. Others are more or less constantly tuned to the 'attack and defense channel', always ready to expect the worse, tense, anxious, highly irritable and stressed. Probably for good reason.
How do you feel when you get out of bed each morning? In great shape and ready to face the day or do you have an underlying niggle, a pain you've never been able to address? Unfortunately, for many of us it is the latter. What do you tend to do about it? If your answer is nothing, then you are one of many people who are ignoring regular pain.