Monday, January 11, 2016
I must say, the life of a woman with chronic pain certainly keeps things interesting.
Many who suffer with chronic pain have lost a great deal of the life they had prior to becoming ill. It's daunting to watch the jobs and relationships you worked so hard to cultivate crumble as survival becomes true to its name. Staying alive becomes your sole purpose, and it is a desperate roller coaster ride of surgeries, procedures, diagnostics and appointments with specialists, all the while trying to do so with some modicum of pain management with a dash of grace. What once felt like a foundation for my future has since become sand crumbling through my fingers.
My health issues can certainly make me feel as if I'm being followed by an ominous, stormy cloud. I deal with depression, anxiety and incredible stress, but those are things many people can relate to. While my health has kept me from working, I am capable of writing. It's like breathing for my soul. It's the way I process my experiences and pass along pieces of thoughts that may just help someone else. My writing is my greatest joy, and the sense of accomplishment I feel just from knowing others are reading my blog is tremendous.
While I love to write and publish my blog posts, it is sometimes difficult to hear how others perceive me. I’ve been told that my writing is dark, sad or even “hard to read”. Reality can be hard to take. I’ve never really responded to those “reviews”, but I guess I will say this. If you find peace from reading my words, whether it be that you physically, emotionally or spiritually feel connected, YOU were meant to read my post.
Using your life experiences as inspiration does not a dark person make, even if said experiences aren't all butterflies and rainbows. I would rather be "dark" and touch the souls of others going through similar issues than be light and fluffy and make a much less resounding effect on my audience. I may not speak for the majority, but I feel that by writing about the truthful depth and despair of this aspect of my life, that a decent majority of those in a similar situation will find comfort in my words.
I want to FEEL life, and express my experiences, even if that means feeling and writing about pain. As this sentence entered my brain, I had to take a quick mental vote before typing these words. I would rather FEEL pain than live a numb existence. That's just me. I'd love not to have to choose between those options, but we don’t always have a choice. And even if we did, sometimes these obstacles we face make us stretch ourselves in ways we never would have otherwise. We have the opportunity to become greater versions of ourselves by enduring hardships. My day to day pain is intense. It cuts into my nerves, clear into my soul. I spend a lot of time immobilized by it. And it’s during those moments of intense suffering that my mind sometimes wanders to the “what if”.
“What if” I had no pain? THAT would be amazing! But “what if”, in order to go from having horrible pain, I would have to go to having no FEELING at all? I have joked with my physicians about how great it would be if they could just give me a permanent epidural between my esophagus and pelvis. I came out of one of those appointments and almost immediately saw a quadriplegic being pushed in a wheelchair. That person probably wishes everyday that he could feel something. It was a reminder of the lesson I am constantly trying to learn, which is to be grateful for everything I have; the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s my life, and I am grateful for every breath, every ache.
For whatever reason, I was meant to have this journey with my health. When people compliment my writing, it gives me this warm glow inside. I was discussing a recent incident with my therapist, and I told her that there's a reason my writing ability and health issues were paired together. I was meant to write about my experiences, to help others who are going through similar issues. It's almost as if my pain is my muse. There's not an aspect of my life it hasn't touched, and it effects not just WHAT I do, but also HOW I do it. And I'm not alone. 25 million adults in the U.S. cope with pain on a daily basis.
Somehow my beast has been my beauty, after all.