“We never know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have.”
There are so many different illnesses that are not visible: chronic pain, RSD, depression, anxiety, Fibromyalgia and many more. When one has chronic pain it is extremely common to also have some sort of depression, anxiety, sleeping troubles, and loneliness. No one can see or understand your pain and not one person (even your closest loved ones) know how hard you are trying each moment of each day. I am learning now that one of the most difficult things for me and managing chronic pain is going through extremely stressful life events that not only consume so much of my life but in turn throw me off course with how I manage chronic pain naturally. Everything that has been put on my plate would be beyond difficult for anyone but throw in my invisible illness and it is true: being strong is the only choice I have right now. Each night, I wonder how I will make it through or how to make life better for myself and my family. I wake up, and keep going because I refuse to ever give up on myself despite mistakes, painful experiences, and so many life changes that happened all at once. People with or without chronic pain can relate to the picture and quote on this post: “But I am trying so hard and you don’t even know!” It is a very frustrating feeling that leaves one feeling completely alone and possibly to some invisible. As hard as that feeling is and no matter how much you want people to see how hard you are trying, sometimes it is just an impossibility. We must learn to accept that: tall order but there are times when we have no choice. YOU know how hard you are trying and you must keep that alive in your heart and mind no matter what the world or people think. Some things are just completely impossible to prove to anyone: chronic pain, anxiety, and your value. What do we do with that? If this is an impossibility than we must focus on our inner wisdom and know that we are truly trying to make life better or cope with chronic pain no matter what anyone sees or does not see. Sometimes, you truly only have yourself and you must do what is best for you. I just read a quote that said: “My inner critic is an asshole.” Put a smile on my face (at the age of 33 seeing a curse word where it is unexpected still makes me laugh.) However, we can either be our own hero or our biggest critic. Why the hell are we criticizing ourselves when the outside world has got that down pat. Our inner “critic” should remember how hard you are trying and our truths. You know yourself better than anyone. When there are a so many factors in your life (including chronic pain) that are tearing you apart, you must keep going. The only way to do that is to believe in yourself, listen to your inner wisdom, and know that sometimes people make terrible choices and yet do learn and grow from them.
I am going to quote someone who texted me the other night when I was struggling and the tears would not stop. She wrote: “You are gaining a foundation for strength right now to bring healing, in whatever way that is, for all involved.” I look up to this woman who has been on my long ass journey with chronic pain and she is the one person that may know me better than anyone. I always say to her: “I want to be you when I grow up.” We have to remember all the good things we are doing when it feels as if everything is falling apart. I have my two year old daughter and continue to be the best mother I can possibly be. I know my true self and know I am a good person. I am fighting battles no one knows anything about. I am working hard at finding a new nanny job so that I can remain a stay at home mom and still be able to help our family financially. I start with a new family today. I have love to give to my family and am doing everything right despite my tears and pain. I learn from mistakes and have grown to a point where I truly do learn from mistakes and never make the same mistake twice. Nobody sees how hard I am trying except me and that has to be enough. One day our battles and trying times will all make sense and make us stronger and wiser. Who would have thought after brain surgery and chronic pain, I would find a way to help others with their invisible illness? I turned the curse of chronic pain into some sort of blessing.
No matter what you may be dealing with, know that you really are not alone as there are so many people who feel just as you do at this very moment. I am trying as hard as I possibly can and you all need to remember you are too. One day your invisible illness and the terrible life challenges will make sense to you. Until then, believe in yourself and know that you will make it through this. I am here for all of you along the way.