“You’re not a bad person. You are a very good person who bad things have happened to you. Besides, the world is not split into good people and bad people. We all have light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we chose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
How many of you with or without chronic pain feel like a “bad person?” My focus to this topic is for people living with any invisible illness but this post is truly intended for anyone: chronic pain or no chronic pain. We are born into a world of “good” and “bad.” This diluted philosophy begins much earlier than most of us realize. It took having my daughter to truly see just how early this begins. For instance, just yesterday my three year old was outside the school we pick the children I nanny for up. She has this adorable friend who is about six months older than Kayci but because Kayci is extremely tall for her age and beyond social no one would believe the age difference. I was listening to their “conversation” which is hysterical and extremely awesome at the same time. Her little friend said to Kayci: “My sister said so and so is bad. She is not nice.” Kayci did not even respond to this comment and who knows why but instead she said something about her wanting a sister and naming her Princess Cadence, which most of you do not know is one of the My Little Ponies. Either way, I began thinking about how often I hear children and adults say: this person is bad or this person is good. Be cognizant now that you have read so far: listen with awareness today and notice if you hear the word “bad” or “good” when it comes to a person.
How sad is it that so many of us live in the world of black and white, good and bad, pretty or ugly, mean or nice etc? Life is not black and white and no one is a bad person in my eyes. Life is grey and each of us make good decisions at times and some bad decisions at other times. Your choices and decisions do not define you, if that is true than I have led fifty percent of my life as a “bad person” and the other fifty as a “good person.” But, this is not true. Any choice or pain I caused myself or others does not reflect who I truly am. Ok, let me just share some of the awful things I did that hurt myself and others during my darkest years of chronic pain. I am not ashamed of my past anymore because there were years chronic pain and every feeling that comes with it changed how I acted, the choices I made, and I hated my existence and got to a point where physical pain dominated my life and that was all I focused on. I was mean to my loved ones, I dropped out of college for a year and drove to Colorado without telling anyone just to party and numb my physical and emotional pain, I hated everyone because I was so angry that I had to live in constant pain and everyone I came in contact with had no idea what that meant and if someone complained of a headache I would go into an inner rage. I lost many friends because I appeared selfish and seemed not to care about anyone but myself. I let down my dad, my Grandmother, and the few people that truly loved me in sickness and health. I hated myself. I do not know how I lived like this for ten years after that bike accident but I truly believed I was a “bad person.” Who wouldn’t? I started to believe a higher being hated me so much that the physical pain was intentional for my terrible decisions. Now, as an adult, a mother, and a person who has been managing chronic pain without doctors or medications I see that I was never a bad person nor a good person: I was a girl living in physical pain every day of my life with no answers and living a life of self hatred. My actions were clearly not always good or smart but those actions did not define me.
I was with a cousin recently who is ten years old. She said: “Jessica, do not talk to her. She is a bad kid!” I told her: “There is no such thing as a bad kid. You do not really know her or what she is feeling.” This concept of “good” and “bad” is very difficult to teach young people. I truly wish there was a class in every elementary school that talked about life, people, self love, and labels. Some of the most intelligent, “good” kids I know are extremely sad and have no self love. I got amazing grades as a child because I wanted to please people. I was so afraid of abandonment that I really tried to do well and always wanted my teacher to like me the best. So, I got great grades but could not sleep at night, was afraid all the time, and had no idea what loving myself was. I will be thirty-four a month from today and it took close to thirty plus years to learn these lessons. I am not sure multiplication and/or geography are more important than life skills, self love, and the lessons that are usually not taught at home. I just do not believe anyone is inherently a “bad” person. How many of you who have chronic pain feel as if you are “bad?” Don’t worry, that is sadly extremely common and another word I dislike: normal. Please remember you are not a bad person: you have an illness that has taken over your mind, body, heart and soul. You hate the illness, you must not hate yourself. Elvis Presley once said: “Everyone is addicted to something that takes their pain away.” I know chronic pain better than most people. My accident happened when I was in Seventh Grade and I am now close to the age of thirty four. I know the “good” and the “bad.” It took me years upon years to accept this invisible illness and make a choice to manage it without medication or treatment. Stop being so hard on yourself. You are a great person. I know, I was/am you. We are on this journey of chronic pain together and we are all at different points.
I have written this many times: Anyone reading this blog on how to manage chronic pain naturally is a hero. Ten years ago I would not have given that idea a second thought and I would have hated the person writing it. Therefore you are a huge step ahead of where I was in my darkest hours.
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*If anyone is sending me email to firstname.lastname@example.org I am not ignoring you, it is not working and fighting with the yahoo company is just not on my priority list. Please use the email presented above. I am always here and not a moment goes by without me thinking of many of you. You are all great. There is no such thing as a bad person.