“When I was five years old my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school the teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
I am not sure whether it was the way my father taught me things or my bike accident that almost took my life but the only thing I ever truly wanted out of life was to be happy: genuinely, unequivocally happy. I never wanted to be rich or have a job everyone thought was amazing. I just wanted to be happy. Chronic pain robbed me of happiness for more years that I honestly can count. It took away my self worth, my self esteem, many friends, and most of all my happiness. Being in constant pain every second of every day for years with no one finding a cure took away most of my life: if not all of it. Until I went to the Mayo Clinic and learned how to manage pain naturally without searching for a cure my life revolved around pain seven days a week three hundred and sixty-five days a year. The more I worked on managing pain naturally, taking care of myself, and accepting I had chronic pain; the more I found what I had always wanted: happiness. I did not decide to become a medical social worker for money or status (clearly as it is one of the most underpaid jobs with a degree there is.) I chose to become a social worker because I wanted to help people who were in pain because it is what I understood and my passion became helping others with their medical problems. That made me happy. My biggest dream in life was to have a happy family and be a mother. That has been my personal dream since I was around five or six years of age. I knew I could not have those things until I had chronic pain under control and was able to have happiness alone without the need from others.
Many of us (at times myself included) think: if I just had this or that I would be happy. If I look like this or that, I will be happy. If I could just find a soul mate, I will be happy. Happiness comes from within and no objects or people can truly bring you happiness if you are unhappy with yourself. Obviously, chronic pain and many illnesses come with depression and a total lack or luster for life. I believe health and happiness sometimes go hand in hand. I am still working to get my chronic pain under control as been a very rough month but it will get under control with a lot of work and distractions. With that, I will become more happy and confident with myself and the people in my life will be happier because of my positivity. Maybe I am crazy but I truly find it impossible to believe anything is more important than happiness.
Do not listen to the outside world of infomercials that explain to you what will make you happy. Never do anything in your life that goes against your intuition that could harm your health or happiness. People with chronic pain tend to have a greater desire to have less and be happy with the little things in life. I know what it is like to almost die. I know what it feels like to live in pain every day. There are some things I am grateful for due to my journey with chronic pain, although hard to see at this very moment they are there. Because of my life with chronic pain I do appreciate the little things, I do not need a lot to be happy, I never judge anyone for their decisions in life as I have not walked in their shoes, and I know how important it is to be happy. I am thirty three years old and all I truly desire is for my loved ones to be healthy and happy. All the other stuff in life is just that: stuff.