Mental Health Monday: Tolerating Discomfort

PrintThis morning I had an upper GI series done at St. Francis Hospital. I’ve been having pretty severe GERD (reflux), nausea, abdominal pain, and some vomiting on an off for several months, so it was time to check it out. When I met with my GI doc a couple of weeks ago, we discussed the options and decided not to do an endoscopy at this time. I was glad, since it’s more evasive and involves anesthesia. But the Upper GI isn’t very pleasant. I’ve been finished with the test for four hours now and I’m having severe cramping pain in my abdomen… hopefully it’s just the barium making its way through the plumbing.


TMI? Sorry if this grosses you out… but it’s the necessary backstory for my mental health post today. You see, I’ve been anxious about my gut for a while now. Worried that I’ve got (a) cancer, (b) an ulcer, (c) something else. (I already know I have a hiatal hernia, from a test done back in 2007.) Last night and this morning I prayed, asking God to help the doctors diagnosis the situation accurately. But also that the findings wouldn’t be too scary and that I would be at peace about the results, and the cure or treatment. That’s the mental health part.

I read this list of “24 Characteristics of Mentally Healthy People this morning before heading to the hospital. Here’s Number 1:

        They are not overwhelmed by their own emotions – fears, anger, love, jealousy, guilt or worries.

I’ve always been anxious. As a child I was given some sort of pills to sleep at night. And now as a (senior) adult, I still struggle to be at peace during difficult situations. I had frequent nightmares and walked in my sleep through my early teen years.

18 things mentally strongAnd here’s an interesting post, “18 Things Mentally Strong People Do” (originally from a Forbes article.) Check out Number 17:
         They tolerate discomfort

I’ve had 15 months to learn to tolerate discomfort, after breaking my neck, right leg and ankle in a car wreck, and enduring months in a hospital bed, neck brace, cast, wheel chair, walker, and finally physical therapy. Somehow I felt more peaceful during the early months after the wreck than I feel today. Maybe it’s because my injuries were specific. I was dealing with known entities. Waiting on the results from my Upper GI test (and putting up with the pain and reflux) seems more difficult. But of course it’s not intolerable. It’s just uncomfortable. That’s what a mentally strong and healthy person would say, right?

I’m working on it.

Please share!

1 thought on “Mental Health Monday: Tolerating Discomfort”

  1. Your comment on how much easier it is to deal with specific pain is so true. It’s the long haul without drama or crisis that seems to be the biggest test. Best of luck with all this.

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