Pain changes who you are. It breaks you down into individual little scarred shards of who you once were.
At one time you were active. You have memories of running. You can still hear the sound in your mind of feet hitting the ground. Intense, fast paced, everything’s a blur around you because you’re in that zone of Zen. All that matters is your breathing as you cut the wind in front of you with your face. Ultimate freedom.
You remember these things, both fondly and sadly. You’re not that person anymore. You lie in a limbo of wait.
Waiting for symptoms to subside, waiting for medical treatment, waiting for a moment of normalcy. You wait for people who were once your friends to return a text, much less a phone call. Who has time for that anymore? Waiting for any type of job opportunity that you may be able to physically perform, and then waiting for the recovery after completing any opportunity you have been able to physically perform and complete.
You wait for family to maybe understand that you’re facing a lot of challenges and you need them, but sometimes they simply don’t listen. They don’t ask how you are, if you need help, or food, hell, sometimes they just cut you out completely.
Some people basically go through life without any love or support from family. Lord knows I’ve spent a good chunk of my life waiting for love from my family. It’s grandparents that often step in and show you that unconditional love. God bless the grandparents of this world. The sad part is that we don’t get enough time with them.
So much of your life is spent waiting it becomes the new normal. Waiting to eat because you can’t quite get up and prepare something yet because balance, mobility and dexterity is an issue. Waiting to perform a household chore because pain is a little too intense at the moment. People often confuse waiting with laziness. Huge misconception. Personally, I need breathers in between tasks, that’s just the way it is.
The next element of waiting comes in the form of coming to terms with life with chronic illness and pain. There’s a grieving period for every step. You grieve not being able to do the things you once could. You grieve your old life, job, loss of paychecks, loss of each individual person that you get close to that leaves your life because you’re ill, and let’s face it, not worth the bother.
Not worth a decent job opportunity where you don’t get fired every time you’re in a flare up. That makes you grieve some more .
Pain eventually makes you distance yourself from others. You don’t want to be a bother, a burden, and let’s be honest, most people have their own problems to be bothered dealing with yours. It’s a lonely life.
It’s funny the things you take for granted. A good support system, a good social circle, working, even paying bills. You take for granted having a car, mobility, independence, being able to just get up and go somewhere.
I’ve actually had people say things like, “you’re statuses and blogs are pathetic.” Or “you’re just pity seeking”, like it’s some kind of mortal sin to talk about it. So in addition to pain and loneliness, we’re not even supposed to talk about it, to seek understanding. That’s what we want. Just get it and stop telling me what I can and cannot say because frankly, my voice is all I’ve got left. My voice and some semblance of writing to maybe make it easier for someone else. Someone else who may feel that constant waiting, that grief, that loss, that pain, that loneliness.
This piece is for you.
There are others like us. An entire community of supportive strangers. People who do get it and understand.
Find some groups on Facebook, make some Twitter friends. It helps. If you’re a person of faith, lean into it. Pray often, read your scripture. If you have a different faith, immerse yourself in it. Stay supported. To build a bridge to mental and physical health we need supports. All bridges need support.
I hope today finds you well. Living life with passion, and feeling strong. And if not, that’s ok too. Nobody is 100% strong 100% of the time. I hope you live your life with gratitude for every lovely moment, for every bit of help and support you receive.
It’s hard to not get depressed from time to time living with chronic pain and illness, but just wait a bit more. Wait for that next thing to be grateful for.
Live Humbly, Be Charitable, Live Graciously,