“Fears are stories we tell ourselves.”
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.