“My scars are fading and I feel lost without them.”
You know when you have an invisible illness such as, chronic pain you would rather have all the physical scars shows as opposed to looking “healthy.” I was young when I fell off my bike but following brain surgery that shaved head with staples drawing a curved line down my right side was so much easier to deal with and I was happier then than I was once my hair grew back, staples fell out and all other scars had “healed.” The only people able to ever really see that large scar on my scalp are hairdressers and each time (rarely get a hair cut) a hairdresser washes my hair, I always hear the faintest gasp and then I, being me say: “It’s okay I had brain surgery years ago, bike accident. I’m okay.”
This will be the third time I have used the above picture in a post. I looked healthier and happier after brain surgery than I look or felt in the picture above: the Jessica on the right. The Jessica on the right (our left) was at her rock bottom. This picture was taken mere days after I truly made it clear I wanted to die if I could not find a cure to chronic pain. I cannot express, and probably/sadly to most of my readers what I was feeling back then. I hated myself, my illness, doctors, healthy people, friends, family, the sun, the moon, daytime nighttime, and finally had had it with drinking and “having fun” to numb the physical pain no professional could cure. Weeks later I would be entering the Pain Rehab Center, weeks later my life started. The Jessica on the left, our right is the real me. Both of the Jessica’s above have chronic pain, it never went away I just put my entire life into accepting pain and managing it naturally which is still hard but at least I am happy. There is a big difference between health and pain and a huge difference between happy and pain. You may not see that now but you will.
What I am about to write may come across very cruel but I have to be honest about who I am, who I was and my true thoughts. When I first entered the Pain Rehab Center, most of the people who had chronic pain looked just like me: sad but not sick. In my group of fifteen people two were not ambulatory (could not walk) and as terrible as this sounds I was so jealous of their wheel chairs when I walked into that room. Horrible right? If you have an invisible illness you are not thinking how horrible my thoughts were back then. I used to pray for Cancer or anything that would show the world: I am sick, I have a diagnosis, I have scars, Help me! One of my closest friends in my pain rehab group was one of the person’s who was unable to walk and had that wheel chair on day one I envied. Clearly, now that I have come to a totally different place in my journey with chronic pain I feel very blessed to be able to walk, run, and I want to live as long as possible and live my dreams despite chronic pain. I do miss those scars some days though. Not often, just on those difficult days or nights (which are nothing compared to the difficult life I had as the Jessica on the left.
I really would like people who know or love someone with any invisible illness to read this post. There are so many scars that are not seen by the eye but only felt by the individual. A woman or man for that matter who is physically abused often hide their scars/wounds because they are afraid of not only their abuser but the world itself. No one would ever make up being physically abused as that must take more courage than I can imagine, just as no one would ever make up chronic pain. If someone is brave enough to tell you their story of any invisible illness, be kind enough to believe them.
“You cannot see air, yet you breathe. You cannot see your Higher Being , yet you pray. Most chronic pain you cannot see, but trust me it is there.”