Thursday, August 7, 2014

Running on Empty

Perhaps the greatest challenge in a life of chronic pain is the absolute exhaustion that goes with it.  It's like an octopus wrapping its tentacles around every aspect of your life, sucking the energy out of your mind, body and spirit. It's like a dehydration of the soul. You reach a certain point, and you can't buy your way out of complete debilitation.

Exhaustion from pain goes beyond classic tiredness. It isn't something that can be helped with a nap or a good night's sleep. It encompasses your existence. As pain continues with time, it's hard to be the girl who is too worn out for the family get together, or who has to go to bed early when company is over. It's humiliating, embarrassing and isolating.

When the condition is chronic, you have to learn to be secure in your body's needs. If you need to nap, you nap. If you're too weak to go out, stay home and meditate. It's not easy being on the brink of life, but your body can only do what it can do. Pushing it too hard is only going to set you back more.

When the body hits that wall, you have to somehow tap into an inner source of strength to get you through. Sometimes it's a matter of taking it a week at a time, or a day at a time. Sometimes pain gets so bad that you just have to take it a moment of time, and every second is an accomplishment. It may be a long race, but you have to take it in baby steps.

It's scary to me now, as I can no longer remember what it feels like to wake up and not hurt. I'm not sure when that oasis went out of view, but I truly can't imagine my life before Hurricane Pain hit. At this point, it's about damage control. Acupuncture for my mind and body. Prayer for my soul. Medicine as needed. Doctors when there's something they can do.

Every person in chronic pain has to come up with a recipe to deal with her set of issues and deal with each symptom as it comes. Were it not for my relationship with God, I do not believe I would still be here. He is the set of hands that keeps moving me forward even when I have no more steps in me. When I feel empty in body, mind and spirit, God fills me up.

I can't say that I'm grateful for the pain I'm facing now, but I AM grateful that it's brought me closer to the Divine. He created this finely tuned instrument that plays a unique song. In a sense, I feel like the way I live my life and how I cope with my challenges is like being a composer. Pain can leave you feeling defeated, but you can create some amazing music with your strength, humility and gratitude. Ultimately, I think that's what we're all here to do. Despite our challenges, we're all here to play a song for God.