Kat Mills on recognising and responding to areas in our lives that need changing.

Kat Mills
Kat Mills

There is a saying 'no pain, no gain' that means to get to something you really want, you have to push through the pain barrier.

I once watched a programme about cyclist Sir Chris Hoy's training for the 2012 London Olympics. It showed exactly what he had to go through to be able to endure the races and win so many gold medals. There was excruciating pain from lactic acid build up, exhaustion and over-working making him physically sick. Yet he decided it was worth the time, the pain, the sacrifices and the gruelling training period to be able to go after the most sought-after prizes for an athlete.

I hugely admire what he did, but I must admit that I am not the sort of person who will put my body through that sort of pain. I prefer to try and minimise, or preferably avoid all pain wherever possible, so you can imagine my feelings when my dentist told me that I had impacted wisdom teeth that need removal!

I had one wisdom tooth out several years ago and the experience was horrific and not one I would ever want to repeat. With my sensory processing disorder, any pain my body feels is amplified, and so during the procedure I had been wide awake, tense with fear and was subsequently told off by the surgeon for wriggling and being too tense!

I steered well away from having the remaining wisdom teeth removed, but a year ago I started getting infections and was on antibiotics which improved things. However the infections kept coming back to the point that, at infection number six, my dentist was adamant they had to go.

My fear of pain was making me avoid this second procedure, but in reality, each infection brought more pain, more medication and pain killers. My avoidance just amplified the problem and so I bit the bullet (no pun intended) and had the three teeth removed a couple of weeks ago. I was fully sedated this time, so I didn't have to hear or feel what was going on.

Although the days since have been pretty miserable with strong medication, and a diet of mashed potato, yoghurt, pureed fruit and chocolate mousses, the problem is now gone and won't come back.

It got me thinking about what else I have avoided because I don't want to go through short term pain, even if it means that the future is pain-free. Sometimes we need to take this hit.

There have been times in my friendships and family relationships when someone has to hold up a mirror to me because of how I am behaving or dealing with a situation. I don't really like what I see in this virtual mirror and more often than not it can just be easier to hide or argue that it's not true, but when I admit what I am struggling with and ask for help, I see a new fruitfulness developing in me.

Over the last year I have talked openly about my journey of being diagnosed with autism and how I am coming to terms with this. At the same time, I also got diagnosed with ADHD and how this means that my brain is regularly on overdrive and it's exhausting to be me or be around me.

Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed that I simply want to hide under my duvet and escape from the world and the chaos and busyness all around. The chaos in my mind is reflected in the messiness of my house, yet I don't like messy - it stresses me out.

Trying to organise and declutter can sometimes feel impossible and I have to press through the pain barrier to force myself to make a better environment to live in. Having a full room only works until you can't find or get what you need.

God has shown me that I need to seek simplicity and that the more organised and calm my house is, the greater affect it has on how I go about things. In addition, it means that I am forced to ask for, and accept, help from others. Admitting my struggles to those who can help has been liberating and has brought calm out of a self-inflicted chaos.

Are there any areas in your life where you need to go through short-term pain for the long-term benefit? I know that I couldn't do this without God's strength and the amazing people He has put around me. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.