Depending on who you are and where you come from (yes, you read that corectly) there will be huge differences in the way that you understand and react to pain.
If you are a woman of childbearing age or you have had a child, then you will probably have a very different view of how much pain the body can endure. You probably also believe that childbirth is the most painful thing on the planet.
If you are an ER surgeon, a doctor in the burns unit, or a patient in the burns unit, then you probably have your own version of what the pain scale should look like.
Growing up in North Queensland, Australia, where they tend to view the expression of physical pain as a weakness or character flaw (“they like to build ’em tough up there) we are told from a young age not to show pain or burden others with your pain. In fact any suggestion of feeling pain, emotional or physical, and it will bring insults, indifference, or even questions of your sexual orientation and varility.
It seems that who you are and what you are are factors in the experiences of pain, however we all deal with and feel pain in our own unique ways.
If I had a dollar for everyone who said “pain is your friend” or “push through the pain” and “it makes you a better person!” I would probably be so rich I could write a book about cliches… perhaps I should. All of these cliches are designed to help the person who is not in pain deal with the person who actually IS in pain.
It’s my belief that pain, like many of the human responses, are complex, subjective and rarely understood by the layman. Most people who write about it, treat it, make up cliches about it and make judgements about other people’s pain are also not actually in pain. Which is why you don’t see burns patients making fun of other people in pain. You don’t see chemo patients writing books called “the pain tool kit” and you don’t find people who live with difficult, incurable and life long pain being anything but supportive to others in pain. They understand that no one person understands another’s. They understand that the best tool you can offer is support.
People who say “I have seen more pain than you…” Are being competitive not supportive. People who try to be dismissive or mistrustful of others pain are quite possibly some of the most incompassionate of human beings; but not supportive. Others seem to be either trying to sell something or be something; but again, not supportive. People actually going through pain tend to be confused, scared and trying anything and everything to try and mitigate it. And I mean anything. We also tend to rally again to discuss our pain in private and secret.
Pain is a biological response the body uses to tell the sufferer something is happening or something is wrong. Whilst the rest of the world may choose to ignore, cliche and publish away billions of different experiences of pain, and the various iterations of it, I am going to weigh in by saying this;
One of the major factors which predicts a persons ability to cope with pain, high intensity pain, dull pain, idiopathic, emotional or chronic (life long) pain, is the concept of support. Those who get the best possible support (emotional and physical) are the ones most like to cope with whatever pain comes their way. Sabotaging that by labeling, insulting, denying, exploiting or abandoning people in pain says more about society than the sufferers of pain.