When I was a little girl my dad brought me to a therapist. My parents divorced before I was a year old and I had multiple step parents and was having a difficult time adjusting to the many changes I was faced with at such a young age. We moved a lot, I never really knew which home I would be sleeping in, and to be honest my step mother and I at the time had a pretty awful relationship. All the nights I was unable to sleep and all the days I spent in a panic drove my dad to take me to see a therapist. I was too young to truly understand where I was going but I have always been a talker so did not mind a stranger being my audience. I do not remember anything from our first session or any sessions that follow except that the therapist said: “You are quite resilient Jessica, especially at such a young age.” I wasn’t sure at the time if she was speaking a foreign language but I had absolutely no clue what resilient meant. She explained quite sweetly: “It is your ability to bounce back. It seems when life has been hard for you, you keep going and stay positive.” To this day I remember that compliment because it made me feel so special at such a young age.
Resiliency is quite important when managing chronic pain. Chronic pain can be like a ping pong game where you never know where you are headed and how long it will take to fall and get back up. The important thing is to always get back up. I know I have said this many times but I really want to get across the importance of chronic pain awareness. I wanted to die multiple times. It scares me to think that if I did not care so much for my family what I may have done to myself. Chronic pain led me to hopelessness, depression, non stop drinking, and multiple thoughts of suicide. I knew I would never take my own life but the desire was there. I am not writing this to scare anyone but it is one of the main reasons I am writing to the world. Awareness of chronic pain needs to be spread. I know I am repeating myself: the number one reason people with chronic pain die is because of suicide. If that does not show the world how important chronic pain awareness is, I do not know what will. Trust me, I do not like admitting that I could have been a statistic but it is the ugly truth.
If I had known years ago that I was not alone in my journey with chronic pain and there were others with the same disease, I would not have felt so alone. I had no one. I did not know one other person who had chronic pain and the internet was not a big thing back then (showing my age.) The doctors I went to had many ideas and medications but nothing ever worked long term and the hopelessness, loneliness, and depression only got worse with time. I was not ready to share my story with the world until I was practicing what I wanted to preach. I manage pain naturally. I work my ass off to not focus on my pain. I am in a good place in life but that does not mean I do not fall down. However, when I do fall down I get up much more quickly than I ever have. My fall downs are not visits to the doctors, are not going back on medications or going out to drink my ass off to numb my pain. Falling down now means crying my eyes out, closing myself off from people for a few days, or just taking my frustrations out on the people I love. I am not proud of any of those things but that is where I am with my falling down episodes. I always get up and if you are reading this and/or following my blog you do as well.
A life with chronic pain is an extremely difficult hand of cards to be dealt with at any age. We will fall down, we just have to keep getting back up. I do not know if that therapist truly believed at that time that I was resilient or was just trying to be a good person to a young girl who was sad but either way it resonated with me and I do consider myself resilient. If you have chronic pain make sure you have some resiliency and when you do fall down know in your heart that you will get back up.