I cannot change the day that I fell off of my bike and ended up having brain surgery due to not wearing a helmet. I cannot change the fact that this accident has caused me both physical and emotional pain since. I was fourteen when the accident happened, I am now thirty two. I used to cry every day for years wondering why the hell I had to live with this invisible illness the rest of my life. I cursed everything and everyone I knew for not understanding what I felt and being able to enjoy a life I never thought I would have. I still have moments, days even that I would do absolutely anything to never have had to endure chronic pain.
However, many blessings (never thought I would say that) have come to me because of chronic pain. I never exercised, ate healthy, or appreciated life the way I do since I have learned how to manage my pain naturally. I never would have become a social worker had I not experienced chronic pain. I know I helped many people in the years that I did social work because I could relate to people who were sick and felt like shit every day of their lives. I taught patients the values of exercising, meditation, and eating healthy. More than that I understood what they were feeling. I never looked down on anyone who abused alcohol or any other substance to deal with pain because I understand how awful living in constant pain is like.
Pain has completely changed me for better and for worse. I had to learn many lessons the hard way to get to where I am today. Pain made me want to die and I hit rock bottom more than once. Because of that I appreciate the little things in life (one of the reasons my husband has told me is what made him fall in love with me.) I never cared about fancy clothes, eating at nice restaurants, or getting my hair done. I appreciate just being able to run in the morning, play at the pool with my daughter, and fall asleep reading at night.
I have more empathy for people than I would had I not had chronic pain. My close friends and family know they can tell me their deepest, darkest secrets about themselves and I will never judge them. I judge no one. I have been judged so many times in my life because of choices I made to manage my chronic pain. I will never judge someone because no one really knows what someone is going through on the inside that we are unable to see just by looking at them and their actions.
Do I wish I never had that bike accident: the easy answer is yes. I don’t know who I would be had I not had that accident and endured chronic pain. I am a wife, mother, friend, and woman who has chronic pain and that is not going to change. Chronic pain has made me the person I am today. Someone, that at times is a mess and many people do not understand me I’m sure. But also a person that I have finally grown to love. Took me many years to be able to write that and I don’t think I can say it aloud but I guess it is true. I have grown to love myself which is huge.
Pain definitely changes people: I guess it is up to us as people with chronic pain to chose whether it changes us for the better or worse.