I have been writing this blog for about two years now. It took me a long time to build up the courage to share my journey with chronic pain from start to finish (well there is no finish, hence the word chronic.) I wanted to show the world that there is life and happiness despite chronic pain. I am living proof of a person who randomly fell off of her bicycle, hit a stone wall and ended up having brain surgery and a life with chronic pain. My chronic pain was at its worst as a teenager as I spent every waking second searching for a cure, crying, and literally living in hell. I spent ten plus years in a terrible state wishing my life would end as I could not find any cure to my physical pain. It was not until I accepted chronic pain and learned how to manage it naturally that my life began. In my story (blog) I share many things about myself that are very personal, things most of my family members and friends never knew. I am about to reveal to you why I write at such a personal level knowing that anyone in the world can read my writings. I received a letter and the above two bracelets yesterday in the mail from an amazing eighteen year old girl who has been following my blog since the beginning. She writes:
To my beautiful friends, (who I now see as family)
Thank you so much Jessica for saving my life and being the best friend I needed throughout my journey, not only with chronic pain but with life itself. I can honestly say I would not be the person I am today without you! you enabled me to be my own hero and also help others along the way, also inspire me everyday. There is so much more I could say to you, about you, thanking you. But I know you know!
Kayci, seeing you grow (even from a distance) has been incredible, you make me smile and laugh with all the voice notes and beautiful pictures. I feel like I know you, hopefully I will one day. You melt my heart. Just know I will always be there for you, especially when you get older. (And BTW–your mom is one special woman who we are both very lucky to have.
Khris, your daughter and wife are two of the most beautiful, funny, thoughtful, strong, amazing people in the world! (I know you know that though.)
These bracelets are sister bracelets. I have one too and now you both do. It symbolizes protection and success!! I love you two to the moon and back!
How is this young lady only eighteen?! She is so much stronger and wiser than I was at her age. I do not write about my journey for gifts or praise but to know I am making somewhat of a difference makes it all worth it. I cannot thank this young lady, whom I consider family as well. She is so much stronger than she thinks. I interviewed her recently asking her questions from the perspective of a teenager with chronic pain. Here are the eleven questions and answers candidly answered by an eighteen year old girl who has been living with chronic pain and has the courage to read a blog that preaches accepting chronic pain and managing it naturally. That’s bravery at its finest.
1. At what age did you begin to realize your pain was not acute but chronic?
Answer: Twelve years old (She is now eighteen)
2. Did any doctor give you a diagnosis?
Just chronic pain syndrome
3. What are the top three ways chronic pain has affected you in a negative way?
Answer: Chronic pain has affected my social life, I have lost a lot of friends, cannot go out as much as normal teenagers do, mood changes all the time, I isolate myself, it has changed my relationship with people, and I now have a ton of insecurities.
I am physically exhausted all the time, constant pain slows me down, prevents me from doing some physical activities.
Emotionally, I am short tempered, agitated most of the time, mentally exhausted,, frustrated, stressed, I overthink everything, my confidence dropped, sadness.
4. Who is your support system?
My best friends
Jessica Martin (I did not tell her to write that)
A teacher at school
5. How is your sleep?
Sleep is a massive negative aspect on my journey with chronic pain, always breaks throughout the night, find it difficult to fall asleep, over think at night, every hour wake up, sometimes get less than three hours sleep.
6. How has chronic pain affected your love for learning and school?
Answer: It has de-motivated me as there have been many obstacles I have had to overcome. For example writing with a pen and paper was difficult so had to be given special equipment (a lap top) in lesson to learn. However, this was a struggle because many teachers did not believe I had chronic pain and needed a lot of proof. With the teachers not having confidence in me telling the truth it led to me questioning whether or not the pain was real or ‘all in my head.’ The obstacles were exhausting as chronic pain is exhausting, therefore I found it difficult to find the motivation or energy to learn and go to school.
7. Did you ever want to give up?
Answer: Yes, of course. But I have learned and know that everything will be okay.
8. What are your top three fears?
Answer: Confrontation, Losing the people I care about, and the fear that the pain will never subside.
9. What gives you strength?
Answer: The thought that I could help others with chronic pain with their journey. I want to help people the way you do! (Again, I did not ask her to mention me and she is way too kind!) Also my friends, family, the people I love. To make people that have been there for me during my journey with chronic pain proud.
10. What do you enjoy doing that distracts you from the pain (hobbies etc?)
Answer: Listening to music, helping others, working with charities, having fun and chilling with my friends and family.
11. What is your biggest dream that is just for you?
Answer: A family of my own: married and to have children one day.
After reading her answers I see why she and I bonded so much over the past two years. She is the little version of me except from the UK and I promise you, much wiser and stronger than I was at her age. I swear at the age of eighteen I would want to punch the author of this blog explaining how to accept and manage pain naturally. All I wanted was a cure or any surgery, medication, or treatment that would alleviate my physical pain. This wonderful person not only reads my writings but practices the tools I use. I cannot wait to see how much this young person changes the world as we know it now.
This post is dedicated to you Katrina. I am beyond proud of you!