abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, dreams, Empathy, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Non Resistance, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, self love, simplify life, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe, Worrying

Fearing the Future

759179cdc8f8e6c27863241e9ded1901

“Fears are stories we tell ourselves.”

Unknown

Above all of you lie a sentence with only six words included that sum up fear better than any phrase I have yet to see.  We are all afraid of something and many of us spend an exuberant amount of time focusing/fearing our futures.  We are afraid of not getting what we want and we are afraid of getting what we do not want.  I received an email recently from a young girl in college who has been following my blog for a couple years now.  She is a very kind, strong young person who has had chronic pain for a couple of years and is trying the best she can to manage her pain while working towards achieving a college degree in social work.  She asked me in her very encouraging email if I had remembered her and what my readers do not realize is that I find it very hard to forget any of you that reach out to me directly for help and support.  I am beyond flattered and amazed that so many people read my story because I do manage pain in an unconventional way. If I was the younger Jessica who was spending her days searching for a cure to chronic pain I would have never read a blog about a woman who has accepted chronic pain as part of her life and manages that pain naturally.  Then there are those of you who not only read my life story but you take the time out of your busy life that I know is not easy as you have an invisible illness to write me just to either say thank you and let me know that I have helped you or to ask me genuine questions.  You tell me your stories and you then see that I will never judge any of you for how you live your life or how you choose to manage your pain and you begin to trust me and many of you take some, if not all of my advice.  How could I forget any of your personal stories when I have not only lived/live your story but am astounded by your personal strength and gratitude.  With that said, of course I remember this young person who I am so very proud of and almost envious of in some ways.  She is in her young twenties and is in a place with her personal journey with chronic pain that I was not able to get to as early as she has.  However, she brought up to me some of her fears regarding her personal future and how she will be able to follow any of her dreams with this invisible illness: chronic pain.

When I was around the age of nineteen/twenty years of age I had more fears about my life than I had when I had brain surgery because of my bike accident.  I do not know what is worse living with chronic pain or the fear of pain itself and what we tell ourselves pain will steal from us.  I never thought I would have a family, be a mother, have a college degree or be the person sitting here writing about how I, Jessica Martin is managing pain naturally.  I  believed with my whole heart and soul that chronic pain had robbed me of everything I had ever wanted, desired or dreamed of.  I lived in pain and fear every second of every day.  The fear/anxiety made the pain worse and the pain made the fear/anxiety worse.  Ten plus years living in a never ending circle of pain and fear/fear and pain.  Turns out all the things I was fearing never happening because of chronic pain happened and all the things I feared of happening due to chronic pain never happened.  Do I have the life I would have had I never fallen off of my bike and chronic pain? No.  However, I have learned that fear of the unknown was just a story I made up in my head that caused me more emotional/physical pain that was truly unneeded.  Although, my life with chronic pain has taught me that fear is nothing but a story we tell ourselves, I still live in a lot of fear and that fear does have an impact on my pain levels.

I do not fear the things I used to fear when I was living in my darkest hours of chronic pain.  However, I am still a very worry filled person.  I spent most of my life being afraid and now I have to re-parent/re-teach my inner self to not be afraid for everything does work out.  I am not afraid of the little things in life that some may be afraid of.  I look forward to sky diving one day and I love roller coasters and haunted houses.  Those things do not scare me in the least, they excite me.  However, the big things in life scare me.  I still am afraid of the things I dream of happening not happening and the things I am afraid of happening coming to fruition.  Has my journey with chronic pain taught me nothing??  Everything I have ever feared not happening has happened just not  how I envisioned those certain life blessings to happen.    I know I need to let go and trust the process of life while working towards what I do what and I must stop living in a state of fear.  From childhood to adolescence to early adulthood up until my thirties I have had fear in my life and I did not know better and do not fault myself for those fears.  I do know better now.  However, to be fair to myself I am in the process of re -wiring a fear based mind into a peaceful, calm mind.   I can read and write as many quotes as I want to and I can logically know that fear is just a story I am telling myself but I am human and changing the way your mind works is a process.  Hell, it took me years to re-wire my brain from constantly focusing on pain.

This post is meant to thank the people who take time out of their day to remind me of what I am writing and remind me of my own personal story.  You are kind and generous enough to applaud me in how I have overcome so much and tell me what  an inspiration I am  to those who are living in fear due to chronic pain.  All of you are my teachers as well and I cannot thank you enough for your feedback and helping me in my own personal journey without even realizing what an impact you make in my life.  Thank you.

Advertisements
Standard
abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, dreams, Empathy, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, Rumi, self love, simplify life, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain

Letting Go of What We Cannot Control

“Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go.”

Jackson Kiddard

As I was practicing yoga this morning two words stuck with me that I knew I wanted to grow from: flexibility and the art of allowing.  Many people believe that doing yoga is an exercise to tone the body into better health and better flexibility of the muscles and tissues that make up our individual bodies.  However, that is just a small portion of what the art of yoga really is.  Yes, yoga has helped tone my body and has become a great form of exercise, it has also helped me become more flexible physically.  Yoga is also teaching me how to become more flexible in places that are far more important than the outside of my body: my heart and mind.  I will be very honest.  I am not a very flexible person.  There is a very sound reason as to why I am not flexible: chronic pain.  I manage chronic pain naturally and have a routine I follow each day in order to manage pain without pain managing me.  I spent a decade of my life with chronic pain consuming my entire life.  I lived, breathed, and felt pain inside and out for every single day of what could have been the best years of my life: my teen years and my early twenties.  I was in doctor’s offices or getting operations while my friends were on their phones planning what to do for the weekend.  I probably spent as many hours in waiting rooms as I did college classes.  My life could have been defined as: “hurry up and wait for a cure.”  After coming close to just ending my entire life I found what saved me and that was the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota where I learned how to manage pain naturally.  I have a routine I follow daily that helps me in so many ways manage my pain without a cure or medications.  I am living as opposed to barely surviving.  I had to let go of the idea that I would find a cure and surrender to the fact that I could live a happy, healthy life despite pain.  I have had to give up a lot in order to manage pain how I choose but I had nothing when I was looking for a cure so the benefits outweigh the negatives one thousand percent.

However, there are ways I am learning to be more flexible.  I am a mother and one huge lesson motherhood will teach you is how to be flexible.  Our family went away this past weekend to Atlantic City, NJ for a long snowed in weekend.  Yes, I packed yoga DVD’s and some healthy snacks.  However, I had to be flexible.  I stayed up much later than usual and ate things I would not normally eat.  My schedule was totally thrown off but I was having so much fun swimming and just chilling out in pajamas in our hotel room that I really did not think about pain despite not following my usual management of chronic pain.  I surrendered to just letting go and having fun making memories with the people I love.  I was able to get back on my schedule yesterday and I must say what I do does work.  With that said, there are ways I need to be more flexible in my mind and heart which will allow me to be more flexible in my life.  Our thoughts create our reality and I would like my thoughts to be more flexible.  Our mind is like a huge muscle and we can work out our biceps and triceps as much as we want but if we do not focus on what is inside our minds and hearts we will never be truly happy.  I am working on being more flexible and allowing the dreams I have to come into my world without forcing them.  One can work towards a dream or goal without it taking control over their entire existence.  Everything I have gone through in my thirty five years has been teaching me how to be flexible: body mind and spirit and how to allow things to happen while working towards what you most desire.

Standard

One of the most difficult parts of living with chronic pain is that it is often times invisible. Following my bike accident that resulted in brain surgery and scars basically everywhere I got flowers each day if not every hour. The pain was clearly visible. I had half a shaved head, my face had blown up into a balloon and I was very lucky to be alive. Once my hair grew back and the scars slowly went away the flowers stopped coming: hence the title of my blog. I never thought in a million years once I learned I had chronic pain that I would want that shaved head back and every scar visible. I hated looking healthy on the outside when I was in so much physical pain. As anyone with chronic pain knows that physical pain slowly but surely turns into emotional pain. I still am not sure what is worse. I still have both but just know how to cope and manage better.

I am receiving emails from new readers that do not know the entire story of my journey with chronic pain. Yes, chronic pain probably started when I fell off my bike at the age of thirteen but for years I was so happy to have survived that I did not really think much of the pain. Over the years the pain got worse and worse until it took over my entire life. I rarely, if ever write where my pain is located but it is in my head, face and upper back and yes it can suck! However, I have learned to never talk about pain (one of my most helpful strategies in managing pain without treatment or medication.) However, just because I do not talk about pain does not mean it is not there. The more we talk about things the more we focus on them and the last thing I want to do is focus on my pain! I have had chronic pain since my late teens and I am now thirty two years of age: married with one baby girl and working on number two or three (twins 🙂 ) You never know, I am taking the fertility route! Is being a mother with chronic pain easy? Nope but being a mother has always been my dream and love being a mother more than anything! Being a social worker with chronic pain was not easy either but both are amazing distractions from the pain. Motherhood is just a lot more rewarding and mostly a much healthier, happier distraction.

Yes, I have had tried everything in the book to “cure” my chronic pain. Multiple surgeries, tons of medications, chiropractors, acupuncture, electo acupuncture, hypnotism, and so many more things that I could truly write for a solid day and would not be able to include everything I have tried. I tried enough to have to declare medical bancrupcy at one point. As I have written before, the day I stopped searching for a cure is the day I truly began to live. If you know anyone with chronic pain or any invisible illness for that matter please share my blog. I never want anyone to feel as alone as I felt for most of my life due to chronic pain. This picture was taken last weekend at my two year olds first play! Do you think anyone in the seats around us thought I had chronic pain: of course not. I look fine! I was never okay with that until I accepted chronic pain and learned how to manage it. Now, I would rather people not know because then I would be asked questions and all I would do is focus on my pain all day. I want to look and act the way I want to feel. Spread hope and awareness regarding chronic pain. Just because you cannot see something does not mean it is not there.

Uncategorized

“Ya Look Healthy to Me!” (Chronic pain bs!)

Image

Choices and Chronic Pain

I was asked a question recently about why I did make the solid choice to stop taking pain medication. The person who asked this question has chronic pain and is very smart and understands the many reasons why one would choose to go off of medication. However, this person wanted to know what was the one thing that really stood out when I made this choice. He has become quite a muse for me as he comes out with very intellectual questions that so many people with chronic pain are probably wondering. Yes, there are many reasons I chose to manage my chronic pain naturally but I have to backtrack to fully explain my final reason for this choice.

I did not always take pain medication for chronic pain. When I was in my teens I was very ignorant to pain medications. I took a ton of Excedrin and I remember all the stomach aches I suffered from the amount of Excedrin I took. I also took many medications for pain but were not pain killers so to speak. Obviously, nothing worked or I would have stopped searching for a cure. I did however self medicate with alcohol during my college years. I drank for completely different reasons then my college friends did. I hit rock bottom when I was about twenty one living in Boulder, Colorado. I have told this story before but I will go down that path for this specific post. I was living with my boyfriend and his seven roommates in Boulder. I was not going to school as the pain and partying got to be too much. I was drinking to a point that I gained at least forty pounds and drinking no longer became fun. I hated myself and I hated my life. One day I was lying on an unmade mattress on the floor in my boyfriends room. There were red wine stains everywhere and I just started screaming from physical and emotional pain: “I want to die! This is not living!” Long story short my boyfriend at the time drove me to the Mayo Clinic and refused to leave until we had some answers. After being there for about two months and seeing every specialist possible and being given every test imaginable the main doctor there told me words that I never wanted to hear: “You have chronic pain and there is no cure. We have a Pain Rehab Program here that I truly think will help you.” After fighting his words for a few days I decided to give the Pain Rehab Center a shot. I was so scared but I was also out of options. I did amazing following the Mayo Clinic PRC program until many years later when I re-lapsed so to speak. I took too much on in my life and stopped working the program. I no longer ate healthy, no longer meditated, and worked at least nine hours a day as a medical social worker without eating as I put my patients health and well being ahead of mine. I started drinking after work and even smoking cigarettes on so called breaks. My pain levels got the best of me because I stopped taking care of myself. I ended up looking for that chronic pain cure again and that was when I was truly introduced to pain killers. Percocet was amazing at first. I was able to take a low dose and my pain was tolerable. Overtime I needed more and more to get the same result. I took pain medication for a couple years until I had my second miscarriage. I had my miscarriage on my birthday and at that moment I knew I had to go back to living with my chronic pain naturally. It was the quote that stated: “A year from now you will wish you started today.” My miscarriage had nothing to do with the medicine I was on but I was tired of hating myself and my life. I did not want to take my one year old to any more doctor appointments. I did not want my life to revolve around pain. I knew that if I continued to take pain medication I would not be able to be the mother I have always dreamed of being. I also knew that if I wanted to have more children and I needed to take care of myself and love myself again. I used to have nightmares that I ran out of medication or that my doctor would not re-fill my medication. My life had once again revolved around pain. Once I stopped taking medication for pain and stopped going to any doctor for pain, my life no longer revolved around pain. I once again could live. I cancelled my doctor’s appointment and walked with my daughter to the health food store for a drink called Kambucha.

There are so many reasons to not take pain medications and most of us know them. If someone offered me a painkiller I would never accept it. I got to a point where I was just done. Some people may never reach that point and who the hell am I to judge? I cannot feel your pain just as you cannot feel mine. I just want people to know it is possible to live with chronic pain naturally. If someone told me this years ago I honestly would have just stopped reading and walked away. So, if you are reading my blog I cannot thank you enough. If you are reading my blog you are an amazing person because I do write things people may not be ready to read but they keep reading. We are all at different stages with our journey with chronic pain. We all have different reasons for the ways we cope with pain.

This quote Bill Cosby said pretty much sums up the exact time and reason I gave up pain medication and searching for a cure. I am so much happier since I made that brutal choice.

Uncategorized

Choices and Chronic Pain

Image

Do Not Let Your Illness Define You!

People still ask me why I have made the choice to stop looking for a cure to my chronic pain. I receive questions like: “Why would you chose to just live in pain 24/7?” or “There has to be something a doctor can do for you, don’t give up!” I have learned to let questions or statements regarding my invisible illness go unacknowledged. Now that friends and family can read my blog many of their questions have been answered. There could quite possibly be a cure to my chronic pain that I just did not find for over ten years. Maybe I wasn’t taking the right medications, maybe I saw the wrong acupuncturists, and maybe I should have seen just one more specialist in my hunt for a cure. However, after ten years of searching for a cure to my chronic pain I learned to just find a way to live with it. People may say I gave up and I do not have to live with chronic pain but I disagree. I did not give up, I just came to a point of acceptance. Once I came to a point of acceptance, I gradually started to become happy and alive. Those ten plus years of searching for a cure almost ruined my life. Spending half of your week with different doctors and specialists and going on different regiments of medications is not only discouraging, its exhausting. If I had not come to a point of acceptance, I truly am not sure if I would be alive. Instead of spending my time and money on every doctor imaginable, I am able to spend my time utilizing the tools that enable me to manage my pain naturally. Is it easy: no. Is it worth it: absolutely!

I do not want to be defined by chronic pain. For most of my life people knew me as the poor girl with chronic pain. I was depressed, overweight, and unhealthy. Now when people see me, they see a healthy mother who enjoys exercise, writing, and taking care of her family. So many people make a choice to not be defined by their illness. Michael J. Fox is just one famous example of a person who was diagnosed with a disease and never stopped living. He did not let Parkinson’s disease define him: it has empowered him. He has written books to help people with Parkinson’s disease and is still in the acting business. He has a family he loves and I know he gives people hope that they too can live with Parkinson’s disease and be happy. I know this because as a medical social worker I used to talk to my patients who had Parkinson’s disease and his name came up frequently. My grandmother who I miss every day was diagnosed with this disease at a very late stage of her life.

I am not a famous movie star or television star. I have not written a book (yet) on chronic pain. I am just a stay at home mother who manages an invisible illness and tries every day to make the most of my life and bring as much happiness and help to the world as I can. We are all battling something the world may know nothing about. We can either let an illness define us or accept it and find a way through. I never gave up, I just found a way to live.

Uncategorized

Do Not Let Your Illness Define You!

Image

Keep Moviing Forward

Happy Labor Day….a day when most Americans across the country get the day off. Unless….you are a mommy haha. I haven’t had a day off if nineteen months and that’s not a bad thing. I made choices for many years that were not in my best interest to make others happy and hopefully make them like me as I suffered from low self esteem (still do at times.) Maybe we all do. For years I did not listen to my intuition screaming the words “NOOOOO Do NOT DO IT!”

It has been a very difficult few days but it will get better (always does!) I had to make a decision this weekend that I knew was right but may have hurt someone in doing so. It is not a fun feeling. I have made so many bad choices in my life especially due to chronic pain and I never want to make bad choices again. I need to always listen to my gut and intuition. Being a mother with chronic pain is not only difficult for myself but for people who know me because they often do not understand why I have made the choices in my past (which were down right awful because I had terrible coping mechanisms to deal with my chronic pain.) Even though now I know I make the right decisions for myself and my health others may not understand my choices. Some people may never believe the person I have become.

I am only thirty two years old and have a lot of life to live and I have to keep moving forward and honestly try and not give a shit what other people think of me. MUCH easier said than done. If I know in my heart that I am making the right choices and my heart and mind are in the right place I have to feel good about myself.

Change takes a LONG time. I will hopefully continue to manage my chronic pain and anxiety in better ways each day. I hope to continue to grow and learn from my past and present mistakes. A lot of people will never understand me and I get that. I will continue to move forward with my goals and be the best person I can be. I have to do what is right for myself/ my health/ and my family. For once in my life I am finally listening to my inner wisdom. No matter what anyone thinks, that is a good thing.

Uncategorized

Keep Moviing Forward

Image

Lessons I Now Can Truly Hear

Oh, how many times have I read quotes from people I have always admired such as The Dalai Lama but never really could practice because my brain was too focused on either pain itself or searching for the cure for my chronic pain. This is a quote I have read many times over the years and wanted so much to be able to practice what this master of wisdom preaches but could not. Lets be real, I struggle with this lesson on a daily if not hourly basis but at least I can now practice what this message preaches.

I was managing my chronic pain with such excellence until my hunger for money overcame me and I took a job that would pay me a lot more money then I was making knowing that it would entail many more hours and worse a much higher case load. I sacrificed my health in order to make more money and be miserable. I left a job that I loved and was able to practice the principles I learned at the Mayo Clinic with my patients to make more money. Which led me to begin taking medicine again and going to endless doctor appointments looking for help with chronic pain. Not only that but I stopped eating well and drank with friends as a coping mechanism for stress and pain. I am very happy that I was laid off from that job. At the time it seemed like a curse, but what a blessing. What is money without happiness and health? NOTHING. My greediness for money led me to the living hell of depression and chronic pain. I will never let anything regarding money or status come before my health and happiness again.

I think we all struggle to live in the present. There are moments especially as a mother that I am able to fully live in the present moment. For instance, when my daughter falls asleep at the pool and I am given an hour to read in the sun I cherish each and every moment of that hour. When she awakes I cherish every moment I have with her playing in the pool. However, so many mornings I wake up and the first thing I think is: what am I going to make for dinner? What the hell is that about? It is five in the morning and instead of enjoying my morning coffee or juice I am not only thinking but stressing over what to make for dinner. That’s pure insanity.

During my search for the cure and end of chronic pain ALL I did was think about the future and it had nothing to do with what I was going to make for dinner (I never even made dinner come to think of if.) My thoughts were solely around pain. How bad will my pain be today? Will my doctor of the month have good news for me? How much will I let my family down today by spending my hours crying because no one understands what I am feeling? Will I ever be happy? Will I be taking pain medicine forever? You get the idea.
I don’t have those thoughts about the future anymore. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I have some of those thoughts but very few and very rarely. I have no doctor appointments to worry about, which is amazing! I know I can be happy even with chronic pain. I know everything is always going to be okay because I know how to manage my chronic pain in a healthy way. I know everything will be okay because I know what rock bottom feels like and I will never be there again.

I can finally look at this quote from the Dalai Lama and know that I can at least work on what it says. That is a pretty damn good start.

Uncategorized

Lessons I Now Can Truly Hear

Image