“If we stay present with the rawness of our direct experience, emotional energy can run through us without getting stuck.”
I took this picture of my four year old daughter this past Sunday as she was watching the world go by in the comfort of our den. I spent a great portion of my own childhood in the home that my family resides in now. My grandmother who has become an angel helped raise me in her home along with many other family members. I have so many amazing memories in the home I spent so much of my childhood and am now raising my own family in. With great memories come some difficult ones as well. I had fear of abandonment growing up and this fear manifested inside me into adulthood partially because of chronic pain and partially because I repressed so many painful memories and just pretended nothing bad ever happened to me. To be quite honest and for those who have chronic pain will understand this, once I had my bike accident in my young teens that resulted in brain surgery subsequent chronic pain, my invisible illness took center stage in my life. I was in therapy to learn how to either find a cure to pain or manage it naturally (pending on the time period in my journey with this invisible illness) not deal with the issues I had faced in childhood. The same window my daughter is looking out of with sparkles in her eyes is the same window I sat at waiting for my dad to arrive home from work the days my Grandmother (La La) watched me. He worked extremely hard to take care of me, provide for me, and be the best dad in the world at his very young age. I used to cry each and every time I went to a different family member’s home or someone watched me that was not my dad. He was my one constant in life and the one person I knew would never abandon me. The mornings he left for work and I stayed with my La La, I would run from window to window of the home I reside in now listening for the beeps from his car and his waves goodbye. I knew deep down that he would always come back but as an adult looking back I can now see there was some deep rooted fear that he would abandon me. I remember one time he went away on a business trip and had to fly to get there as it was too far away to drive to. On the day of his return I was staying with my Grandfather, Pop Pop and I watched the news for hours making sure no planes had crashed. I never want my children to have the fear of abandonment and I make sure my daughter knows that I am her constant and she never has to worry about mommy not coming home.
That fear of abandonment only intensified with chronic pain. I spent ten plus years searching for a cure to chronic pain: surgeries, medications, procedures, massage therapists etc etc . The times I was not isolating myself from the world because I was in too much physical and emotional pain to face anyone, I was trying to fit in with my peers by drinking with them but to an annoying point where I wasn’t fun to be around. I always ended up being the ‘crying drunk girl’ by the end of the night because all I could think about was pain and alcohol, as much as it did numb my pain for a brief time only caused me to focus more on pain and increased my already depressed mood. Over time, people just stopped wanting to be around me and/or I stopped wanting to be around anyone but myself and my pain. I wish I knew in my teens and twenties that the people who truly love you will never abandon you: chronic pain or no chronic pain. I still have the same two best friends I have had since I was in my young teens and they have both stuck by me through chronic pain and the ups and downs of my journey. They both are two of my biggest fans and are very supportive of my choice to manage pain naturally and follow my dreams of sharing my story to save others and to have children and extend my family: two things I truly believed chronic pain had stolen from me.
I am facing a joyous yet trying time right now and I will share what that is in due time. I am currently on bed rest for a week and once again forced to let go of many of the things I use to manage chronic pain, forced to deal with my thoughts, and cannot constantly distract my mind from this yin/yang experience I am going through. I will say this: the good of what I am facing outweighs the bad in more ways than I can express. I am grateful for the blessings that are coming into my life despite the difficulties that sometimes come with our truest dreams. I do not want my emotional energy to get stuck as it has in my thirty plus years in this world. I do not want to dwell on my problems but I also do not want to resist them. I must acknowledge and accept what I am facing or problems will manifest deep down in myself and come out at a time when I do not want them to or expect them to. It took acknowledging and accepting chronic pain without resistance to finally find peace and happiness. That is a huge lesson I learned from my journey with chronic pain and now need to utilize in the other parts of my life. Pain does not define you and there are many life lessons we can and will learn if we allow ourselves to be open to the possibilities of non-resistance. Anything we bury down deep and try to repress will get stuck and I have learned that in order to have a peaceful, happy life we must not repress our feelings or emotions especially those of us with chronic pain. Personally, the more I repress emotional pain, the more physical pain I am faced with.