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The Fear of Pain

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“The key to success is to focus our conscious minds on the things we desire, not things we fear.”

Brian Tracy

A woman from the Netherlands has written me multiple times about her own struggles in her journey with chronic pain and has asked me two questions that I believe would benefit most people who read my website.  One question is quite simple to answer: “Were you scared?  Not only because of non-medication and that part but also taking on a new road?” No, I was not scared: I was petrified.  I believed then I had been handed two choices and neither seemed hopeful.  Choice A was to continue on my path of self destruction in a way to escape pain with thoughts of death roaring through my head at night as I counted the clicks on the clock just waiting for more pain.  Choice B was to pro-long my life and appease my dad by entering the Mayo Clinic but I was (at the time) highly against the idea that I was to accept not finding a cure to chronic pain and learn how to live and manage it naturally for the rest of my life.  Neither choices were appealing but one was less scary: Choice A of course was what I was used to.  I had gone thru as many surgeries to cure the pain as I could, been to hundreds of doctors, on every medication possible and nothing worked except self-medicating myself but that really did not work either, lets be honest.  However, the thought of waking up and being totally alone with a group of people with chronic pain whom I did not know but seemed much healthier/happier than me scared me more than you can imagine.  I believed by just looking at them that I had it worse and my invisible illness: chronic pain had to be worse because they ‘looked’ happier.  Wow, way to pass judgement on people who I have been spending years trying to protect.  However, this was the first time in my life that I had ever seen someone who also had chronic pain and it just felt odd.  I was not ready to say: “I accept chronic pain as part of my life and cannot wait to learn ways to manage it without the use of doctors or medications.”  However, I tossed around my two options, slept in fear if I slept at all and chose Choice B: I entered the month long program at the Mayo Clinic the next morning, fear nipping at my heart the whole drive there.

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I am now thirty four with a three year old who is crazy, funny, and I am making my dreams come true: family, motherhood, helping others with chronic pain, writing: the dreams I believed were stolen from me because of chronic pain are now here because I chose Choice B even though it was a much a scarier choice.  I still live way too often in fear.  I deal with anxiety every day of my life: what came first chronic pain or anxiety?  I don’t know but I do know they are very intertwined and I also know the fear of pain is so often worse than the pain itself.  At the moment I am going through procedures like IVF to extend our family and am unable to exercise in the morning: which was the one thing that helped me manage my horrible anxiety that gripped my heart each morning I awoke.  So, I have had to learn new techniques and turns out I can sleep in a tad more than I thought and distracting myself with our little wide-eyed crazy three year old is fun.  I actually did not mind watching the Lorax this morning with her under blankets instead of getting things done that would help me distract my brain from thinking about pain.

I have stayed on my path of managing chronic pain naturally but there have been times that fear has gotten in the way of good choices.  Living in fear is like living in hell.  I am on the journey of Jessica and I have no idea what this year holds or the next ten years for that matter.  However, I know the things I must work on and I know I will continue to follow my dreams and learn from past mistakes.  Learning to unwire my mind from fear and pain sometimes is the most difficult thing for me to work on but one year from now I hope to be further along on this part of my journey.

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