Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who expressed her thoughts and feelings of her battle with chronic pain through painting. She had been in a bus accident that resulted in a life of pain.
Chronic pain can affect anyone from famous celebrities such as Paula Abdul to artists from Mexico to stay at home mother’s from New Jersey. One thing chronic pain or any disease for that matter does not do is discriminate. This artist had no idea she would be in an automobile accident that led to a life with chronic pain just as I had no idea a bike accident would leave me with pain for life.
Living with chronic pain can point us into two different directions. The first direction chronic pain pushed me into was a negative direction. As soon as it became clear the pain was not going away I began seeing doctors. I thought it would be easy. I would go see a Neurologist and they would tell me how to fix the pain and that would be that. Well, anyone who has chronic pain knows that it is not that easy. However, I never thought at that time how hard it would end up being. I was persistent. It took me over ten years of searching for a cure to my pain before I gave up. Those ten years were awful. So many doctors promised me they had the answer whether that be a medication, a surgery, or a treatment. I never questioned one of my doctors because I was willing to do anything. Including having a surgeon cut off multiple nerve endings in my face not once but twice. I remember lying there (I was not allowed to be put asleep during these surgeries) screaming in pain as the nerve endings were cut off praying out loud that my chronic pain would be gone. It obviously did not work, not the first time or the second. It takes some major suffering to be willing to go through this process more than one time. As I have written multiple times in different posts, during the decade of searching for a cure to my chronic pain I was not really living. With each new drug or treatment my hope of ever having a good life diminished more and more until I gave up. I took off to Colorado and spent a year doing basically nothing except escaping my pain by partying all the time. I definitely would not call that living either. It took the Mayo Clinic In MN to learn how to manage my pain in a healthy way. I had to come to an acceptance that my pain was never going to go away: I had to find a way to live with it without medication or treatment.
Once I learned how to manage my pain naturally, the chronic pain led me into a positive direction. I found a happiness in life many of us take for granted. I found a way to feel and be healthy and happy despite the constant pain. I began eating healthy, juicing, exercising, practicing meditation, seeing a therapist that specialized in chronic pain, and writing. I think anyone with chronic pain comes to find an artistic side in them they may have never known. Whether it be through art, dancing, music, acting, singing, or writing. Pain is meant to be expressed. When I awake in the morning the first thing I do is exercise. I beat the living hell out of my chronic pain. For instance, this morning as I did a kickboxing workout I pretending to be punching all the pain and anxieties I was feeling. This artist found a way to cope with her chronic pain through painting. Paula Abdul found a way of managing pain through singing. Good things can come from chronic pain. I no longer know who I am without chronic pain because it has been such a huge part of my life for so many years but I now choose to follow a direction that is not only healthy for me but for the world as well. I want to inspire people. I want people to know that there is happiness in life despite pain. Millions of Americans are suffering from this invisible illness and I want to give as many people as I can the hope that I lost during those ten plus years of my life.