“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is going in the wrong direction.”
People often ask me: “How could you give up on finding a cure or help with chronic pain?” It is a very valid question and now having seen this quote I have my response. The harder I fought and struggled to find a cure for my chronic pain the worse I felt. With each medication, treatment, surgery, etc. I began to fall more and more into an awful cycle of hopelessness, depression, and anger. I was rowing so damn hard that the only thing in my life existing was chronic pain. Once I let go of the fight and began to accept that I had chronic pain and did not have to “cure” it to be happy I found peace. Now I row my boat quite hard at times but in the total opposite direction. I wake up every morning with chronic pain and instead of focusing on it, I work out right away before I start going in the direction my mind seems to want to go: thinking/worrying about chronic pain and all the other worries I have in my life. There are literally some mornings that I feel myself being pulled into a trap. My anxiety and thoughts are so strong that I literally feel that I am a prisoner in my own body and room. Those are the most important mornings for me to get the hell up and do something. There are so many things I have to incorporate and do on a daily basis in order to manage my chronic pain and be happy that people without chronic pain would never have to think of. The one awesome thing is that the way I manage my chronic pain would help basically anyone, chronic pain or not.
There were so many things that I fought my ass off for in my life that I never received, only to find out it was not what I was supposed to be fighting for. I have fought like crazy to keep certain relationships in my life going when I later came to realize I was not meant to be with that person. When I was around the age of eighteen and trying to find a cure for chronic pain while going to college full time to become a teacher, I fell apart. I was fighting for two things at that time: the best grades and help with my chronic pain. The harder I fought for both the worse my life got. Years later I got my degree in Social Work and realized that there was no possible way I could have got a degree in school with the way I was living my life in my search for cure. I also realized I never needed to fight so hard to get the best grades: perfectionism can be a dirty little habit!
There are also times where we truly do not know which direction we want to go and I believe during those crossroads in our lives it is perfectly okay to stop rowing. Sometimes we need to just sit with life and allow the answers to come to us. Answers to our questions about our lives come in the oddest ways/shapes and forms. Just because you stop rowing or change directions does not mean you are giving up. If things are truly not going the way you want them to and you are miserable it may just be time to stop rowing so hard or change your direction. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of the direction you go or the speed at which you go. This is your life and at the end of the day you have to live with it. Do you want to be happy or do you want to keep fighting for something that just doesn’t belong to you?