“Our dependency makes slaves out of us, especially if this dependency is a dependency of our self esteem. If you need encouragement, praise, pats on the back from everybody, then you make everybody your judge.”
Stop. Take a deep breath. Before you went to see my blog post for the day what was your last thought: was the thought positive or negative. I’m not thrilled to say this but for most of us our last thought was most likely negative. There are so many, endless losses that come with a diagnosis of chronic pain, but one of the biggest losses is self-esteem. No kidding right? When you are in constant physical pain and are searching for answers to rid your pain, chronic pain consumes your entire world. None of your friends and/or family members can possibly understand what you are going through and I am sure many of you do not feel your pain is validated or believed. I mean, you look great on the outside so you cant be sick! And you are correct, there are people who do not believe you but let these people focus on their own lives because I am pretty certain they have a lot going on they are not happy about either. People are never mean or cruel if they are happy. It is an impossibility. Even now, I am in a good place with chronic pain and have accepted it; if I am having a “difficult day” I am not the most pleasant person to be around because difficult days are just that and my energy is poured into caring for my body and mind that every outside little thing can annoy me. I remember a few years after my bike accident someone saying they had a headache and I seriously for the first time in my life wanted to punch a person…..hard and scream: “Really, you have a damn headache? How would ya like them twenty four hours a day, seven days a week with not one moment of peace or happiness. You do not know what a head ache is my friend.”
I had zero to no self worth or esteem during my darkest hours of chronic pain. I hated everything chronic pain brought into my life. I despised going to different specialists weekly instead of going out with friends. I hated watching my dad pay more and more co-pays for medicines, procedures, and appointments. The worst part was getting my hopes up that my pain would be cured only wake up in either the same pain or much worse. I wasn’t able to spend time with my friends like I wanted to because who wants to be around a girl who is miserable and constantly rubbing her head and when asked: “how are you” the only response given is: “fine.” I isolated myself and lived in my pain and depression. If you have chronic pain or any invisible illness you know exactly what I am talking about. I still struggle with self esteem even though I am managing chronic pain naturally and have made peace with it. People can describe you in ten adjectives: nine being positive, one being negative. Which one do you focus on? Of course you focus on the negative one. This is not just those who suffer with chronic pain, this is the majority of population. Why is it so much easier to believe the bad stuff? Self esteem. Most of us do not truly love ourselves so the bad stuff makes sense, the good stuff seems made up. What a terrible way to live. And we wonder why so many of us are un-happy? Who can be truly happy when they do not have self-love?
Recently, I wrote a post about self-love and explained how I personally feel there should be classes set up from Kindergarten to High School based around self esteem and loving thy self. So many of us do not get that self esteem taught to us at an early age from our families so we must start teaching it in our schools. When I practiced school social work for a year in Denver, CO most of my groups met up to talk about: anger issues, self control, and self esteem. These children were suffering at home and had no self worth so they came to see Ms. Jessica for twenty minutes every other day. I find it hard to believe that any subject is more important than a subject based around self love and happiness. Throw me back in time to before I fell off that bike and had I been taught self esteem and self love from home to Kindergarten to High School, I would have had a much better chance at still loving myself despite being in chronic pain. There are so many endless mistakes I would not have made due to the pain I was in and maybe those dark, dark years of endless pain would have had some light.
Most of my readers do have some kind of chronic pain and with that disease comes a huge umbrella with endless problems one obviously being self esteem. You really are not alone and if you feel no one believes you or understands what you are going through, remember me. I know so well what you are facing and I 100 percent believe you. Try spending today and tomorrow listening and actually hearing the positive things people say to you and throw the negative comments out. Yes, I am sure people around you may give you a compliment or two and some others will put you down: tune it ALL out. Yes, you have chronic pain but that is not who you are. I know so many of you so well and I see so much greatness in each and every one of you no matter at which tier you are in with your journey with chronic pain. You know deep down the good in you and many of the positive aspects about yourself. And when someone gives you a genuine compliment just say thank you and believe what they are saying is true. It is high time we all start loving ourselves: chronic pain or no chronic pain.