“While they all fall in love with her smile, she waits for one who will fall in love with her scars.”
I have good news and bad news about “finding love” when you have an invisible illness such as chronic pain. The good news is: you may find love whether you love yourself or not. The bad news is: this “love” will most likely not last. People with chronic pain have a desire to be loved and a desire for someone to believe their pain and hold them as they cry and wipe away their tears no matter how many times he or she cries. To outsiders looking in this person may appear “needy” or “too sensitive.” If you know someone with chronic pain and care for them be careful with those two terms: worst things to call someone with an invisible illness. It is like calling a woman crazy. “If you want to see crazy, call a woman crazy!” Same exact logic goes behind calling anyone with an invisible illness: needy or overly sensitive: just trust me on this one.
I spent so many years searching for love and understanding because I hated my illness which in turn led me to hate myself. Many breakups: some painful, some laughable, some completely insignificant. Looking back, there was absolutely zero way any relationship could possibly work for me while I was in the midst of stormy chronic pain. I could not love anyone nor accept his love. I did not love myself, even a little. As years went by and chronic pain got worse and my hope lessened the more I hated my existence and self. How the hell could anyone make me feel better if I was unable to help myself? I know we all want to be saved: I get it. But, the hardest truth is that we must save ourselves and love ourselves before anything in our lives will work, especially relationships.
I could not find love or happiness until I found a way to live with chronic pain, we each have our own way and I will never say my way is the right way. Most of you know I hit rock bottom, came close to ending my life and found my help and self love through accepting chronic pain and learning how to manage it naturally. However you chose to manage pain is your choice and no one should be judged for how they manage their own invisible illness. All I know is that I now love myself and I did have to save myself in order to find the things I wanted in this world, one being love. There are still times I want to be held and coddled but I think this is true for everyone: men and women. Think about when you have the flu or a cold: you feel “needy” in the sense that you just want someone to take care of you as if you were a child. I am not a fan of this feeling but I still have it from time to time. I am strong, I have self love and I have come a long way but I still want to be loved and cared for as I care for my three-year old at times: I’m human.
If someone cannot accept you: all of you the good and the “bad.” The beautiful smile and the invisible scars. The lessons learned from painful experiences along with the challenges you still face because of these experiences then love yourself enough to do what is right for you, whatever that may be. Please keep in mind that until you truly love yourself nothing in your life will work for the long haul. Focus on you before anything else: everything else will fall into place.