chronic pain, Positive Energy, self love, Support for Chronic Pain

You Matter: You are NOT Your Illness


“How others see you, is not important…

How you see yourself means everything.”

I absolutely adore this visual because of the multiple messages it sends are all magnificent.  My only wish is that we taught our children this (self-love) at a very young age.  I try to teach Kayci, whom is only three yet if you know her, you know she looks and acts like a six-year-old: wise beyond her years.  People are constantly telling her how beautiful and pretty she is, which is one hundred percent true.  She has a natural beauty and not being bias:  yes if I ever wanted to I could probably audition her for a commercial and she would get the part because not only is she gorgeous but she is hysterical and shy is not in her vocabulary.  However, I want her to enjoy being a kid and find her own dreams and desires as I did.  She always says what I used to say: “I want to be a mommy like you when I grow up and a dancer.”  As long as there are no poles involved when/if she decides to make that her work, we will be happy.  With all that said, I still want Kayci to know what other’s think of her does not matter!  She needs to find her own beauty and I do not want her to care what other’s think.  I think back to before my bike accident. I was the cute little girl people named Winne Cooper from the show: ‘The Wonder Years’…..totally showing my age but that was my favorite show as a child: Netflix it!  So here I was the petite girl with the long brown hair which I adored and because people always told me how beautiful I was and how much I should be in commercials, I ended up believing that beauty truly was skin deep and that if I wasn’t the Winnie Cooper look-alike, who was I?  After my bike accident/brain surgery I lost half a side of hair.  The surgeons had to get the blood out of my brain therefore needed to shave half of my head.  I was no Winnie Cooper.  I was honestly scary looking for the next five or six months.  My head was shaved, the left side of my face so swollen I was not recognizable, bruises, breaks, etc.  I was on a feeding tube, catheter, and in the ICU for over a week before being transferred to a regular room: turns out brain surgery is no joke.  Once I “recovered” I went back to school but those compliments of beauty were gone.  I was made fun of to the point that I ate my lunch in the bathroom stall each day for a year.  If I had any self-love it was gone by this point in time.  A year later, my hair grew back and the only scar left was the one on my skull where they cut my head open to get to my brain but no one can see that.  That was when my brain surgery turned worse: I now had an invisible illness we call chronic pain.  But, people were back to telling me I was pretty and how much they loved my long brown hair etc. Those compliments meant nothing to me because all my self-love was gone and I was also in constant pain.  In my mind I did not see Winnie Cooper, I saw a girl who had been eaten alive by pain and I did not recognize the Jessica that was there before I fell off of my pink cruiser.

I am thirty-four now and I am very grateful to have self-love.  I do not wear makeup which is a good thing for Kayci I believe.  That is not why I do not wear makeup, I never have.  My dad basically raised me and it feels like cake on my face for some reason.  I also have this eye thing and mascara/eye liner freak me out.  My dad and I always joke about the line from the movie ‘Liar Liar’ with Jim Carey: a movie in which Carey plays a lawyer who is put under a spell by his son where he cannot lie for a week.  There is one scene when his son looks at Carrey (who cannot lie) and says: “My teacher says beauty comes from the inside.”  Jim Carrey quickly says: “That is just something ugly people say.”  I know how terrible that sounds but now every time I think, write or talk about self-love and beauty this quote comes to my mind.  You are allowed to laugh: it is his truth and it is funny.  You need to laugh, you may be in a difficult place.

I am not sure if you have seen pictures on my website of the Jessica pre Mayo Clinic, where I learned to manage pain naturally and started my life but it is quite apparent I had no self-love. I was about forty pounds heavier, depressed, fake smile, and there is absolutely zero self-love in those pictures.  When you look at me now, you see a different person and not because I am at a healthy weight, exercise and eat healthy but because I love myself, not in conceited way.  Self- love is crucial as you truly cannot take care of anyone or find any happiness until you love yourself and are proud of yourself.  Sadly, chronic pain steals this for us but I am living proof you can get that self-love back and one of my readers Alison is now proving that as well.  She has been off medication for three days and she is a true inspiration.  One day she will be helping people with chronic pain as hopefully I do.

The picture above says it all.  Sometimes you really need to realize that what others think of you is none of your business and in your mind you can say: “screw you, I am focusing on me right now and really have zero time for your opinions.”


2 thoughts on “You Matter: You are NOT Your Illness

    • Thank you! Let me know if you need anything! I have always dreamed of writing a book entitled “No One Gets Flowers For Chronic Pain” Perfect because sadly so true!

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