“seriously if it is sucking the life out of you, stop giving it attention. If it is a job, you need to quit. If it is a person, cut them out. If it is an activity, by all means STOP. Stop letting anything but YOU take the wheel. You will be okay and time will pass. Make your dreams a reality. You do not deserve anxiety or sadness. You are not operating at your best when someone or something else is in control. Take over, get some good vibes cranking and just be happy in your own skin. Love your life and delete the rest.”
The Quiet Rabbit
What or who is sucking the life out of you but you continue to think, obsess, or do what you either cannot or think you cannot control or to appease others? Clearly, chronic pain sucked the life out of my for far too many years. It was my life: there was nothing else, PAIN PAIN PAIN: CURE CURE CURE: SELF MEDICATE SELF MEDICATE SELF MEDICATE. My world was pain and all my focus from sun up to sun down pain was all I focused on. I do not think that is abnormal by any means, being in physical pain twenty-four seven, three hundred and sixty-five days of the year will suck the life out of anyone. As most of you know I had to hit a severe rock bottom to accept chronic pain and find ways to live with it naturally and turn my focus onto anything but chronic pain. I recently received a comment by someone who said: if you continue to pretend who you are not, you will eventually crash and burn and I understand why/where this reader is coming from so I would like to explain why I do not talk/think (try to) or allow chronic pain to control me. I did that for ten years: talked about pain, cried non stop about pain, searched for a cure, had many surgeries to get rid of the pain, and pretended I was okay and “normal” even though on the inside I was truly dying and came close to dying a second time: brain surgery being the first. I no longer pretend to be who I am not, so I am actually practicing what you are saying and totally understand what you mean. No, I do not talk about pain and if it is a really “difficult day” I explain to the people I love just that: “I am having a difficult day, I have to go easy on my body.” Now, here is when this above quote hit home. I do not believe any of us whether we live with a disease or not should be unhappy or try to appease others while forgetting our own happiness. Life is life and sometimes one must do what one must do especially when it comes to finances therefore there are many people who do not like their job but they need to provide for their families. We have way too many people out there who the movie ‘Office Space’ was based on.
However, because I live with chronic pain and I manage it the way I do I honestly cannot nor will not do anything or be around anyone that “sucks the life out of me.” Call that selfish but if my pain begins to control me or I am miserable my family, my daughter, and most importantly myself will be miserable. I have lost many friends because I was trying to e someone I was not. I have a few very close friends, two live right around the corner and the other two (thanks a lot guys, kidding) have moved across the country. Quality vs. quantity is a no brainer. I do not like pretending someone I am not just so someone will like me or not judge me. I’m not the girl at the pool who screams: “I have chronic pain, back off.” But I am the girl at the pool that begins huge water fights between all the kids. That is Jessica: chronic pain is not Jessica. I lost myself for ten years, more than that: never again. There are things I am invited to and I have learned to say no, and am practicing letting guilt go. If someone asked me to go to a bar or anything I do not enjoy doing I have to say no. I do not owe anyone any explanations: to anyone and it is okay to just say: “No, I’m sorry but maybe we can go for a walk sometime and catch up.” People think I am crazy for waking up at five am but I need to do this for me. I have chronic pain and I have found a way to manage it so that I can live a happy, healthy life and yes that means sticking to a routine: I awake around five am: exercise or practice yoga, breathe, write down my plan for the day so I do not have to obsess over what is coming next, and I write: either a post or I answer your emails, which by the way I love.
The above picture was taken on Saturday at Hershey Park, PA. Positive, fun, kid energy does not suck the life out of me. Yes, I am a kid at heart and that is part of the reason my three-year old is the greatest blessing in the world. She is fun, allows me to be me, and brings out my inner child who has been locked away for far too many years. Plus, she is the greatest distraction to chronic pain. I cannot believe I spent more than a third of my life believing I would never have a family or kids because of my invisible illness: what a waste of worry. I thought being a mother would suck the life out of me but it does the opposite: Kayci gives me life and she teaches me more than most adults do. Yes, we are the two lunatics skipping around Hershey Park singing songs and not giving a crap what anyone else thinks. That is Jessica, I am so happy she has returned. We need to do things that make our heart soar and bring us positive energy and let go of anything/everything that brings us negative energy. I had the greatest day at Hershey Park. We saw a musical called: Dance, Dance, Dance and I had forgotten how much I love music and dancing and watching art in motion. I felt like Julia Roberts in the movie ‘Pretty Woman’ when she goes to the opera and cries because she can feel; the love, energy and movement the opera brings her. I may not enjoy the opera but show me amazing musicians who are rocking out to Footloose and I am in tears of joy. My family and I also went in the wave pool, something I must have taken for granted my whole life. To see your three-year old jump waves in a pool, laughing hysterically brings more joy and happiness than anything I can imagine. My third favorite thing of the day was winning a stuffed animal for Kayci: I had forgotten how much I loved playing the water shooting game against eleven other people to win a prize. We were in line to go on a ride and they said Kayci was not allowed on because all she had on were bathing suit shorts. She was so sad it broke my heart. I was so pissed I took my shorts off (I had a bathing suit underneath, relax) threw them at Kayci and watched as my husband and she rode away on the train ride. It broke my heart to see the tears in her eyes partially because she wanted me with her but also because she is beyond empathetic and at her young age knew how much I enjoyed being on rides with her. I got really angry: really angry which is not like me and clearly I was just sad. How did I get my frustrations out? I took two dollars and found that water gun game I loved as a child and focused. I had no doubt in my mind that I would beat the eleven other players playing because as crazy as it sounds I had to win. If anyone saw me they would have thought I was in a war and my life depended on winning this stuffed animal for Kayci. BAM! A minute later I jumped for joy, looked crazy as I said: “YES, I WON!!!!!!” and found my daughter with the biggest stuffed animal she had. It was such a silly moment but one that I will not forget.
You have chronic pain or some sort of invisible illness. Stop doing anything that either intensifies your pain or is so life draining that all you can focus on is your pain. No one deserves this wicked terrible invisible illness but we have it. We can be miserable or we can do the things that serve our health and happiness: if that is playing an arcade game: rock out. Our bodies are working hard: we live in pain all the time. Why are we making that worse by solely focusing on pain and worse doing things we know will only make us more miserable just to appease another. I’m sorry but health comes first: bottom line.
“When you get a negative thought and you become aware of that thought say CANCEL THREE TIMES. Then repeat the opposite of that negative thought three times either out loud on in your mind. Practice this, see what happens.”