I have had two neurosurgeries. I know what pain can feel like. So when they ask me to score my pain I'm inclined to score it on the lower end. It doesn't fit well with everyone else does. How do I know that? My first clue was watching others and seeing them all circle the ten. How I really knew I was different was that my doctors told me so. My perception of the pain I feel is different.
They have done a study on this very factor with disabled people, and their perception of what they can do greatly affects what they do. Two people with the same physiological impairment can live totally differently depending on how they perceive their disability. This perception can also change over time, as you learn to live with and navigate through the pain.
There is also a section there on self worth. In fact it is the biggest part of the question package. How do I feel about my self worth? Of course there's been a change in what I can do, but I'm still the same person. There are days when depression and discouragement seep in and I feel a little more trouble than I'm worth, but I get over it. I know when I read those forms - I feel indignant. I feel like they’ve got it wrong, I'm still worth something. It fires me up inside and I want to be the best I can be under my own circumstances. I cannot and will not pity myself and put that down in writing on some form at the doctor's office.
It doesn't mean I don't feel pain the same way any people do, but I also know how much worse it can get. I feel like some of those people filling out those forms just don't know how bad it can get. I don't know about them but I'm not tempting fate. I'm also about to enter the arena of the most pain I have ever felt by having another neurosurgery. I'm counting on all of you to remind me how much better it can be because it does work both ways. That goes for the depressive side of things as well, since surgery knocks the socks off anyone and you need to be gently reminded that it will get better - but getting through it is a struggle.
Perhaps one of the reasons for the forms is to set the fire in those of us who like a challenge, we read them and are then inspired to do better.