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Chronic Pain Lessons

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“Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience.  Anyone who abandons you is teaching you how to stand up on your own two feet.  Anything that angers  you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion.  Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back.  Anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love.  Anything you fear is for teaching you courage to overcome fear.  Anything you can’t control is for teaching you how to let go and trust the Universe.”

Jackson Kiddard

We never stop learning and the day that we begin to believe we know it all, is the day we truly stop living.  We are taught lessons every single day of our life whether we choose to acknowledge those lessons or choose to regard them as every day happenings. There are days when nothing annoys me and then there are days where it seems the littlest thing can get on my nerves.  I try very hard to be calm and patient because I know when I get annoyed to an extreme point, I become angry with the situation and myself which only brings attention to my pain: the opposite of what I want.

One of my biggest fears in life is abandonment: this fear was instilled in me during my formative years and after my accident which resulted in brain surgery and chronic pain that fear only grew. At first my scars were quite visible, which many of you know if you have been following my blog: half of my long brown hair had been shaved off, the left side of my face swollen, and bruises/broken bones practically covered the right side of my body.  Being the new girl in seventh grade is difficult enough, add on the half a shaved head and those difficulties increase instrumentally.  I was not in the sense abandoned by anyone, but I was not welcomed by anyone either.  It was not until the visible scars became invisible that my peers started to even notice me.  For the next few years I made friends and two of those friends remain my closest friends in the world but no one truly knew the battle I was fighting inside: chronic pain.   Everyone thought I was fine.  My hair grew back, the scars were healed, and I looked like your average teenager.  I never thought having the scars visible was better than living with an invisible illness.  I began to isolate myself and the more I isolated myself the less my phone rang.  I spent more time with doctors and specialists trying to cure my pain than with kids my own age.  They did not mean to abandon me but I was not a good time.  In the end, before I hit my rock bottom I abandoned myself and there is nothing worse than abandoning yourself.  I needed me but I had checked out.  For a year I abandoned the true Jessica and became someone I did not know.  I drank and had ‘fun’ in Colorado to numb the physical/emotional pain I had due to chronic pain.  After I learned how to manage pain naturally and accepted my invisible illness I still was abandoned at times.  Break-ups with boyfriends, friends not understanding my new healthy/rigid lifestyle, and even some family members.  We all face periods of abandonment whether or not we have an invisible illness.  Abandonment is still a fear of mine.  However, I have proved to myself that I can stand on my own two feet and make it.  Abandonment has somehow led me to a feeling and sense of empowerment.

I have learned that anger is a double edge sword.  I find that being angry is easier than being sad but either way it is not a helpful or healing emotion by any means.  I use the techniques I use to manage chronic pain when I am very angry; such as exercise.  A great kickboxing session even with my four year old next to me gets a lot of my toxins/anger/and sadness out leading me towards a higher level of my soul and allowing  my ego to go.  I find more compassion for the person I am angry with and find the empathy I seem to lose when it comes to those who hurt me personally as opposed to those I do not know very well.  Anger tenses up our muscles as much as fear does which again only brings up our pain levels.

I truly do not hate anything in this world.  I believe the only thing I have ever hated in my life is chronic pain but I am now at peace with my condition and the invisible illness has  brought blessings to me.  There are times I really dislike a person’s actions or words or times I am very upset with a situation but hate is too strong of a word to use or feel.  I am not writing this to sound superior to anyone as I have felt hate in my life but that hate was only directed at chronic pain and myself.  It was not until I accepted chronic pain and myself and found self love that I no longer had hate for anyone or anything.   Hate has caused so many issues in our world and has not once solved one.  The only thing I have found to solve problems is acceptance and love.

I am a very fearful person.  People who know me would not believe that as I am not afraid of what most people seem to fear.  I love thrills: bungee jumping, roller coasters, scary movies, and traveling to places I have never been.  I am not scared of people and no one would ever call me shy.  I am a very talkative person and enjoy meeting new people and sharing my story in the hopes to help another person who has suffered through anything I have suffered through, such as chronic pain.   However, at times I am filled with fear and worry.  I worry about the things I can control and the things that are out of my control.  I used to be petrified of pain and as I have written before: “sometimes the fear of pain is worse than the pain itself.”  For many of my readers who take medication, I have a question  (no judgement zone here)  do you feel a tad better the second you take a medication for pain even before the medication has gotten into your system?  I know I used to feel better just knowing I had medicine and not having to worry about running out of it.  I no longer fear pain and you will not find anything but Advil or Tylenol in my home for pain which for those of you who have chronic pain is just as effective as chewing a piece of gum to relieve pain.  I still worry about other things in my life and the fear of having no control is what scares me the most.   The biggest thing I am working on within myself is letting go of the need to control everything.  Cognitively, I know that most of the future is totally out of my hands but sadly my mind loves to overthink to the point of madness.  Every day I work on letting go and allowing the Universe to take it’s course.  Everything I have ever planned never went as planned but worked out in ways that were/are amazing and ninety five percent of the things I worry about happening never happen.  I will be a work in progress for the rest of my life and I will continue to learn lessons and hopefully grow for the better.  You are all doing the best you can, I know that more than anything else I know.  Stop beating yourself up.  You are not alone.

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