When I was a little girl I could never sleep. I was a tiny six year old with more worries than any adult should have, much less a child. Some of my worries made sense while others were just daydreams I turned into nightmares. I tossed and turned and would call my dad into my bedroom at least ten times asking for more water (even though my cup was full) asking him to scratch my back or just telling him I could not sleep: AGAIN. My parents divorced before I was the age of one and I had both a wonderful yet at times tumultuous childhood. Both my mom and dad moved a lot, both were very young when they had me and now that I am an adult looking back I realize they were both still kids themselves, I had a lot of people come in and out of my life, and I hated the days I had to say goodbye to my dad because that meant I would be staying with someone else and the only person I felt totally safe with was my dad and my grandmother. In hindsight I guess I did have a lot to worry about. My dad took me to a child therapist when I was around the age of nine or ten. I only went once or twice as I really did not like talking about myself but the one thing I will never forget the kind therapist saying was that I was resilient. I had no idea what that adjective/verb meant so she explained and the word and it made me feel really good and I carried that with me for the rest of my life. I believed her. Many of us during childhood and adulthood are given copious amounts of compliments but we do not believe them but for some reason after she explained the meaning of the word resilient, I believed her: I was resilient and that was the one word I was proud of for the many years to come.
I do not believe in hell. I do not believe there is a fire pit of agony one goes to when they pass if they lived a life that was full of mistakes: some big and some heartbreaking. To be quite honest for some of the mistakes I have made in my lifetime I would be going to hell if it existed. I do not know what happens when we pass and I am in no rush to find out. I may not believe in hell as it is found in the bible but I do believe in hell on earth. I believe I have already been to hell and that hell was my time spent in the wraths of chronic pain. Some of you are in hell right now: literally on fire from pain both physical and emotional. You do not see a way out and believe that your entire life will be hell on earth. I get that. Chronic pain is legitimate hell. There is no better word to describe this invisible illness. The good news is that our hell brings us blessings we are not able nor supposed to see while fighting our way through this fire. I can only say that because I lived in hell and I am now out of that dreadful, fire filled pit. I have been receiving more and more emails from both old readers and new readers who are truly struggling with chronic pain. I know how you all feel so well it breaks my heart. You may not believe me but you are the most resilient, strong persons I will ever encounter. Part of the reason I am so happy that I came out of hell and into life is because I can truly bring hope, advice, and strength to all of you who are dying from an illness that does not even cause death. Hell on Earth. Chronic pain is getting noticed more and more and I applaud all the doctors, researchers, and people who want to help all those with an invisible illness. The only difference between many people who are helping and myself is that I have been on both sides. I have chronic pain. I was in such hell that I almost took my own life and I am now living a life I am proud of despite chronic pain. I am living proof that anyone can get out of this hell. None of you are alone. I know you believe you hate yourself but what you really hate is your illness. Your self esteem is at an all time low, I know that from way too much experience but if you believe nothing else I tell you, believe this: you are unbelievably strong and resilient. I know that as well as I know that hell only exists on earth.