“The gift to help other’s is a great responsibility, a fact that your mother knew well, and such gifts often force us to make sacrifices, be better than we think possible, rise up for the sake of others–and while employing said gifts often makes our lives more complicated than the lives of others less burdened, we are never more miserable than when we stop using our talents.”
An expert from the novel: “Love May Fail” by Author Matthew Quick
Matthew Quick is the author of the now famous novel and movie entitled: “The Silver Linings Playbook.” I have now read all of his writings and have read about his history and his life because of how he writes. He reminds me a lot of myself and how I would one day like to write. His novels also take place in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs of South Jersey where I live. It is very cool to read such amazing stories that take place a couple blocks from where you live. Matthew Quick, or how I knew him Mr. Quick or Q was my favorite high school English teacher. He was many student’s favorite teacher because his teachings came from a passion of writing as opposed teaching to test us. He truly loved literature, writing, and people and English had always been my favorite subject so it is a no brainer to me why he was my favorite teacher. I have been writing about my journey with chronic pain and subsequent depression and anxiety for three years now. I have combined my two passions: writing and helping those who are suffering from chronic pain as I once did. As most of you know I never found a cure to chronic pain and my search for a cure to this invisible illness came way too close to ending my own life. I found a way to accept chronic pain, live with the invisible illness, manage it naturally, and find happiness despite pain.
I fell off of my bike and had brain surgery when I was in my young teens. I came close to dying but nothing was as torturous as the following ten years would be suffering from the invisible illness that had no name at the time: chronic pain. I have written this before but of all the things I missed the most that I thought chronic pain had stolen from me were reading, writing, and fearing that I would never be able to be a mother or have a family of my own because of my invisible illness. I will be thirty-five in six days and I have more than I ever thought I would have despite never finding a cure to my disease. More than that, I am following my dream of writing and helping those who are in the vast midst of hell in their own journey with chronic pain. I know that if I am able to manage chronic pain naturally and find happiness anyone can. I truly believe I was meant to fall off of my bike that June day back in the 90’s and suffer as I did in order to help others. Call me crazy, most people do.
High School and the first years of college were the most excruciating years of my life. I remember sitting in my Algebra class, a subject I had no interest in and one of my peers asked me why I was rubbing my head and face. I did not even realize I was doing so. My chronic pain resides in my head and face due to my fall so I spent years upon years rubbing my face, head and neck trying to massage the pain away. I remember being so embarrassed when my classmate asked me why I was rubbing my face and I had no idea how to answer her. I never talked about chronic pain to anyone except a few very close friends and pretended I was fine as I looked perfectly ‘normal’ on the outside and had no idea how to explain something that was happening in my body when I had no idea what was happening myself. All I knew was that I was in severe pain but no treatments, surgeries, or medications were working. I was scared, depressed, and had never felt more alone in my life. Mr. Quick’s class was the one class I did look forward to during my nine periods of classes in high school. I loved his assignments, I loved his sense of humor, and I loved that he believed in me. No, he did not know that I had chronic pain but he believed I was a good writer and he gave me a bit of confidence when I had nothing to be confident about.
I had no idea he would turn into this famous writer who is known around the country and has turned his first hit novel into one of the most famous movies that have hit the theaters in the past few years: Silver Linings Playbook. No, I have not seen the movie. Up until this year I had not read any of his books because it felt too odd. I look at Mr. Quick as my favorite high school teacher who helped me get through some hard times, not a famous author who lives in North Carolina and writes for a living making more money than I can even fathom. However, I do not believe Mr. Quick writes because he wants to be famous or rich. I truly believe he writes because he has a passion for it and would be miserable if he did not follow what he believes to be his calling. Yes, he was a fantastic teacher but he went against the odds and followed his dreams and is now touching the lives of millions of people with his amazing books. It still does not seem real to me but Mr. Quick gave me hope back when I was a teenager suffering from chronic pain and he gives me hope now that I can and should follow my passion no matter what anyone else thinks or who believes in me.
I love the above expert from Mr. Quicks novel: “Love May Fail” because it sums up how I feel about helping others with chronic pain with my writing. Many people do not believe in me and think I am wasting my time sharing my brutally honest story about my journey with chronic pain. Many people do not like me sharing such personal things about myself with the world. However, when I do not write for a couple days I feel down. I feel as if the passion inside me is fading away and although motherhood and family are number one in my priority list, writing and helping others with chronic pain is second. I do not know if I am a talented writer or will ever come close to the success my former teacher did through his writings but I do know I have to write to be happy. I know I am helping people. As the final sentence in the expert above says: “we are never more miserable than when we stop using our talents.”
This post is dedicated to one of the many people I look up to: Matthew Quick