abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, 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, mindfulness, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, Rumi, self love, simplify life, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe

Break Out of Your Prison of Pain

 

2b6d778b72c4103d4703f3e0b5f20b14.jpg

“One of the marvels of the world is seeing the sight of a soul sitting in a prison with the key in his hand.”

Rumi

I am tired of being afraid.  I am tired of living inside my box of fear when I do hold the key to my personal happiness.  For fifteen years I spent my life being afraid of physical pain and as many of you know the fear of pain is worse than the pain itself.  At times I am still filled with fear of pain but it no longer controls my life.  However, I am way too often stuck in my own box of fear that I forget to breathe and be calm and happy.  2016 was not an easy year for me.  However, I did learn a lot about myself and know the exact things I personally want to change in order for me to live the happiest life I can in the new year.

I am tired of being afraid of the past, the present and most of all the future.  I want to break free of this box of fear and live my life to the fullest.  I am tired of being fearful to express my feelings, emotions, and thoughts because of what someone will think or say.  No one has control over my happiness, my choices, or my life except myself.  I hold the key and I do find myself in my own tiny prison with that exact key in my hand too often.  I believe we all do in some way, shape or form.  What are you afraid of?  What prison are you living in that you want to break out of?

The prison I find myself in at times is very difficult to escape from as all of our personal prisons are.  We live in a world of fear but we can break free of our personal fears.  How?  I’m working on that.  I’m working on myself and I want to be the best version of me that I can be.  Happiness is an inside job that no person, place, or object can bring you.  Our thoughts determine our lives and I am sad to admit that many of my personal thoughts are derived from fear.  I am not taking away the credit I deserve and all of you deserve for the invisible battles we have each been given and fight every day.  We are all doing the best we can but maybe at times we are trying too hard.  I am extremely tired of overthinking every little thing.  Deep down I know that my fears are worse that what I am actually afraid of.  My fear of anxiety is worse than my anxiety itself just as my old fears of pain were worse than the pain itself.

I do not expect to be happy all the time nor do I expect everything to turn out exactly how I want and/or plan.  However, I do know that being afraid of things not working out how I dream or desire is not going to change the outcome.  I cognitively know all of these things but I am now ready to truly work on these thoughts that cause me added pain and anxiety.  I believe that fear is holding me back from my deepest dreams and desires and as I said in my first sentence: I am tired of being afraid.

How can you break free of your personal prison in this upcoming year.  Break out of your prison for you not for anyone else.  We are never too old to stop learning or growing.   I know many of you feel stuck.  Most of you feel stuck due to pain and I understand that feeling more than anyone.  What would your life look like if you stopped being afraid?  I do not have all the answers but I will be sharing with all of you what works in my new year and what does not work.  I truly want to find my personal peace and happiness without the constant ups and downs that come with life, chronic pain, and anxiety.  I know I can do it.  I know we all can.  You hold your key to your life.  Only you know how to open the lock.

 

Standard
9/11, abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, Dr. Martin Luther King, dreams, Empathy, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, perfectionism, Positive Energy, self love, simplify life, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, Worrying, Your Soul

What is Courage?

b9f00c69eae7be05988a3b704b5dc9e6

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help and brave enough to ask for it.”
Mark Amend

Today is May 3oth, 2016: Memorial Day.  Today we celebrate and give thanks to the many heroes and their families who stood up for our country, fought/fight for our country and allow us to have the freedom that we would not have had our soldiers not put their lives in jeopardy   for the country we are proud to call: The United States of America.  The soldiers both past and present demonstrate a type of courage and strength many of us could not even bear to think of.  The families of those who serve must dig down deep to find their own courage and strength to keep their children and loved ones happy, secure, and brave.  Courage comes in many forms and many ways and today we must honor those who have put their lives on the line to keep all of us safe.

I cannot imagine the things and events our soldiers have witnessed and the fear they must face on a daily basis.  I will be very honest and admit that I have never been a very patriotic person.  I never really thought about what Memorial Day and The Fourth of July truly stood for.  I was always excited to have off of work or school, go to the parade and then to the pool.   I do not blame myself for my ignorance or my lack of knowledge of past wars, this was just a subject in my life I never took a huge interest in.  As I get older I realize all the sacrifices so many Americans make on a daily basis just so I am able to feel safe and know my family is safe as well.  I thank every American soldier both past and present who fights for our country every day.  Thank you for your courage and strength.

I met a sixty five year old man who had phantom leg pain from serving our country many years ago.  He lost one of his legs and was not only wheel chair bound but had chronic pain due to what we call phantom pain.   It is very difficult to explain what phantom pain is but I will do my best.  Like most people who have chronic pain, phantom pain is invisible.  This courageous man literally had physical pain where he no longer had a leg.   This man was not only brave for going to war for our country but for being strong enough to ask for help.  He, like many of us with chronic pain had been on many medications and had searched for a cure to his phantom pain for years upon years.  However, the pain never went away and only became worse. He was not ashamed to ask for help.  He was not only suffering from chronic pain but also from PTSD.  He reached his own rock bottom, just as many of us have in our battle with pain and finally let the tears fall and told his wife that he needed help or he would no longer be able to survive in the terrible world of his invisible illness.  That is courage.

Many of us want to appear strong all the time and feel this pressing need to prove ourselves to the world.  After my accident and subsequent chronic pain, I never wanted anyone to think I was weak.  Despite my search for a cure to chronic pain and living in hell on the inside of my body, I tried to do it all.  If someone asked me if I needed help, I was too proud to say yes.  I allowed my dad to help me but that was basically it.  I believed I could get straight A’s in college, have a ton of friends, be popular, and cure my chronic pain at the same time.  I was fighting a battle that there was no end to.  When I was about twenty one, I finally asked for help.  The most courageous thing I have done to this date is ask for help and surrender myself to chronic pain.  I was tired of fighting.  I was tired of trying to do it all.  I was tired of being in pain twenty four seven and depressed that no medication or surgery that doctor’s promised would cure me ever worked and only made my invisible illness more painful.  Finally admitting to the world that I needed help and telling the truth that I truly wanted to die if I was going to have to live in the severe pain I was in for the rest of my life was the scariest thing I have ever done.  Accepting chronic pain and letting go of my need to cure my pain was the bravest act I have performed to this day.  I have fallen a few times in the past ten years but I get right back up.

Everyone of you that reads my story is brave and you have more courage than you could possibly believe.  That courage resides in you despite what your mind continues to tell you.  I will end this post by quoting one of my heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Courage is the power of the mind to overcome fear.”

Thank you

 

Standard
abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Aristotle, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, Dr. Martin Luther King, 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, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, Rumi, self love, simplify life, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe

Better Things Are Coming

09cfc584e988be4712ffa0114c8dfdb3

“Better Things Are Coming”

Unknown

Life is full of transitions and just like the ocean we somehow always end up going through rough waters, calm tides, and times of uncertainty.  This coming weekend is awesome: Memorial Day Weekend; the pool opens, the sun will be shining, and my daughter will be back with all her summer friends.  We will be able to drive to the beach and I will be the lucky person who gets to see the immense joy on my four year old’s face who seems to have gotten a love for the ocean from her summer loving mother.  The changes that happen between the ages of three and four are just incredible.  The changes are so bittersweet and I try hard not to focus on how fast she is growing up and try to enjoy the ride of time.

However, I thought my life would be different a year ago today.  Then again, as I have written many times all the big things I believe are going to happen at a certain point in time never happen when I believe them to but when the Universe believes the time has come.  Sure, I wish some things were different and I will be very honest in the fact that I have been focusing on what I do not want in my life as opposed to what I want.  What we continuously think about begins to manifest in our every day lives.  My thoughts are coming from a sense of lack and my focus has been on how unfair things seem to be therefore I am bringing more of what I do not what into my life.  We all get into ruts at times and I know better things are coming.  There are times in our lives when we must not only change our thoughts but our actions as well.  It is the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result.  I used to truly hate myself.  I lived a life of chronic pain and I did not live it well.  I did things I am not proud of: some a result of chronic pain and some things because I never  healed old wounds.  I no longer hate myself.  There are times I hate certain aspects in my life but I am proud of myself.  I need to practice the phrase: it is just a bad day, week, or month: not a bad life.  One of my closest friends once told me: “Everything changes Jessica, nothing stays the same.  Trust the process.”  I think of that quote daily.

Chronic pain truly did steal ten years of my life because it dominated everything I thought and everything I did.  The reason I am able to manage it naturally and ended my search for a cure was because I no longer wanted pain to be the focus of my miserable existence.  People ask me why I continue to choose to not try a new medication that was not around when I stopped taking medicications and accepted chronic pain as part of my life and my answer is quite simple: pain no longer controls my life and I am not looking for any results or cures to my pain.  If I started going back to acupuncture or began taking a new medication on the market for chronic pain, I would be back in anticipation mode.  I would be anticipating some pain relief.  I did that for far too many years and have come way too far to ever go back to the doctor for pain relief.  Yes, I have difficult days but because I chose to stop focusing on pain and searching for a cure, I began to actually live as opposed to survive.  Our thoughts become our reality.  Chronic pain is always there but over the years I have practiced to train my brain to bring my thoughts away from pain.

If I am able to do that with chronic pain, I believe I can do that with my present circumstances.  No, things are not how I imagined them to be or prayed for them to be but that is out of my control.  I must choose more positive thoughts and focus on what I do have and trust the journey of my life.  There was a time I never thought I would be able to read, graduate college, be a mother because of chronic pain.  All of those things plus many more have come to fruition so why obsess over what I now believe will never happen?  I am, as we all are a work in progress.  I will continue to do what I know is right for myself and my family.  I will continue to manage chronic pain the best I can and get through the changes in my life and I will start doing things that make my soul happy.  I have gotten so wrapped up in taking care of everything outside of myself and have stopped taking the care my body and soul deserve and need.  We must take care of ourselves or we will be no use to the people we love.  We must do the things that make our soul happy and for me that is writing, reading, and doing things for my inner child.

“People will love you.  People will hate you and none of it will have anything to do with you.”

Unknown

Standard
Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, Christmas with Chronic Pain, chronicpain, Depression, Dr. Martin Luther King, dreams, Empathy, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, Peace, Positive Energy, PRINCE, Rumi, self love, simplify life, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe

Crying For Pain: PRINCE a Legend

e882044b313f49309c7c23a60762147c

“Always cry for love, never cry for pain.”

PRINCE

My daughter and I were driving to work last week and I kept hearing famous Prince songs: Purple Rain, Party Like it’s 1999 and so forth.  I discovered later that day that this legend in the world of music and life had sadly passed.  An announcer on the radio said that Prince would not want any of us to be crying over his death but to be celebrating life, love and music.  I was born in 1981 and graduated college in 1999.  Our class: the graduating class of ’99 seemed to always be singing: “Tonight we are gonna party like it’s 1999.”  The song Purple Rain has been one of my all time favorite songs since I was young and I can remember being at karaoke bars in college and someone was always singing the beautiful song: “Purple Rain.”  Being Jessica, I definitely shed a few tears when I heard of his passing.  I do not know if the legend Prince and I had much in common except for a love of music and life.  However, I recently discovered he too suffered with chronic pain.

The Philadelphia Inquirer (our newspaper here in South Jersey) wrote a column entitled: “In Prince’s Battle With Opioids, a Familiar Narrative That Begins With Pain.”  Ten years ago Prince had surgery on his hip and was put on opioids after the surgery, as any of us would most likely be put on.  Hip surgery is no joke and the pain following the procedure is astronomical.  I had brain surgery, to think of the neurologists not putting me on opioids seems insane, which it would have been.  Jan Hoffman writes: “At first glance, Prince did not appear to have the risk factors that addiction specialists have identified in many patients susceptible to opioid dependence which can include abuse of alcohol or other drugs, mental health challenges or a family history of substance abuse.  Indeed, much has been made of Prince’s abstinence from drugs and alcohol.  But some experts say the potency of the painkillers, and the very real effect of pain on a patient’s life, can send someone with no history of substance issues down a path toward addiction.”  As Elvis Presley said once (another sufferer of chronic pain) “Everyone is addicted to something that takes the pain away.”

Most, if not all of my readers have chronic pain.  It was a living HELL for me for over ten years.  I almost took my own life because of chronic pain and when doctor’s prescribed me opioids, such as Percocet I thought a miracle had happened.  It was a little white pill that took my pain away!  That miracle did not last long.  I then needed two of those pills to get relief: then three, then four and so on.  Hence why I no longer take pain medication or see any doctors for pain management.  Imagine being in pain twenty four hours a day, seven days a week?  That is what chronic pain is: it is like having the  worst flu you have ever faced non-stop and nothing helps but a certain medication.  Would you not take that particular medicine?  Before you judge someone who has chronic pain whether or not the pain is visible, think about being sick non stop and then a doctor gives you a medication that takes all the pain and ailments away.  Sadly, most people with chronic pain wish their pain was visible so they do no feel the need to prove their pain.  I do not take medication for pain nor do I self medicate as I once did over a decade ago but I will never judge anyone who is on medication or is ‘addicted’ to something that takes their personal physical pain away.  You truly never know how a person feels on the inside when they look so healthy and happy on the outside.  Would you even have thought that the infamous Prince had chronic pain????  Chronic pain does not discriminate.

This post is dedicated to the talented, heart felt musician who is now probably sitting on a cloud playing music: PRINCE.

Standard
abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronic pain, 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, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, Rumi, self love, simplify life, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe

Loss and Chronic Pain

9abe9d9543a93078a8591260aba8221c

“Sometimes to stay alive, you have to kill your mind.”

Unknown

The things in my life I feel that I have lost as of late are difficult for me to face at times.  However, when I look at the picture above just taken this past Friday, Earth Day I am reminded that I survived the biggest “loss” I thought I could ever lose: myself.  I will be thirty five in June and this past Friday was my dad’s birthday and he turned sixty.  It was the first time age actually scared me and yet at the same time helped me to count my blessings.  I started thinking back to when I was in my young twenties and on the verge of ending my own life because of chronic pain.  Had I not faced the grieving process (the chronic pain grieving process) the beautiful child above would probably not be here, my dad may have spent such a beautiful birthday without his only daughter, and the smile seen in this picture would have been as fake as plastic surgery.

The first step I took in facing the chronic pain grieving process was loss.  When most people think of the grieving process they think of a loss of a loved one or even the loss of a marriage/relationship. I was able to find what six things I felt I had lost when I was first diagnosed with chronic pain and entered the Pain Rehab Center at the Mayo Clinic.  I will share them with you now:

  1. Loss of health.  I am in pain twenty four seven and spend every second either thinking about pain or taking the next medication or sitting in the next doctor’s office.  I am drinking profusely, smoking tons of cigarettes, and I do not even recognize myself.
  2. Loss of trust in doctors: I feel that all the doctor’s I see think I am making up this pain even though I had brain surgery.  I feel they do not believe me because my scars are not longer visible.  Doctors keep telling me: “This medication will take the pain away” or “Ten sessions of chiropractic work will relieve so much of your pain” etc. etc.  When what doctors or specialists do to ‘make me better’ does not work I feel like they do not believe me.
  3. Loss of social contacts: I have lost so many friends and family members.  I can only really hang out with friends if we are drinking because if not I am one hundred percent focused on the physical pain.  If I go out with friends or family and my pain flares up, I will be miserable and ruin everyone’s time.  Who wants to hang out with someone who is in pain all the time? I do not even like to be around myself.
  4. Loss of family: I have put my family through enough.  They deserve the happy, healthy Jessica they had before chronic pain entered into my life full speed.  My dad has already done so much for me, how can I ask him for more help?  I am too embarrassed to tell the rest of my family and I want them to think I am okay.  I miss my family.
  5. Loss of fun: I used to love reading, writing, laughing with friends, going to the movies, bowling, or just walking around the lake: I have none of that anymore.  Gone.  All my passions lost.
  6. Loss of my dreams: I never wanted anything big.  I truly just wanted to be a mother and have a family and take care of people.  I cannot even take care of myself.  I used to want to be a writer but that’s impossible, I cannot even read for more than one minute without my mind going right to pain which leads right to tears and I feel hopeless.  This has been my hardest loss.  The thought of never being a mom or having a family and helping others truly makes me feel useless and pushes me to want to give up.

When a person losses someone they love they feel some of the following emotions: hurt, emptiness, loneliness, anger, disbelief, sadness, depressed, alone, out of control, and sick.  The same exact emotions come from the feelings of loss due to chronic pain.  When a person losses someone they love they demonstrate common behaviors such as: not eating or eating too much, insomnia/not sleeping, crying endlessly, thoughts that they should just die as well because the thought of living without their loved one is enough to want to end their own life, people with drawl from life and isolate themselves, many people develop bad habits in order to cope with their loss: smoking, drinking, drugs, etc.  I can tell you from personal experience, most people (including the old Jessica) demonstrate all of the above behaviors and had all of the same thoughts because of  the diagnosis of chronic pain.

If people who do not understand chronic pain or the adverse impacts it has on a person’s life, mind, and soul I urge them to think about a loss he or she has faced in their life and try and remember how awful it felt.  I was unable to get to a good place in my management with chronic pain until I went through the grieving process of chronic pain.  I will share that personal process with all of you tomorrow.  For today, share this with one of your loved ones.  It is very hard for a person to understand an invisible illness.  However, we all know loss.

Standard
abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Aristotle, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronic pain, chronicpain, Depression, Dr. Martin Luther King, 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, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, self love, simplify life, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe, Worrying

Chronic Pain Lessons

d021f44422191b3a526711faec8c0f80.jpg

“Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience.  Anyone who abandons you is teaching you how to stand up on your own two feet.  Anything that angers  you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion.  Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back.  Anything you hate is teaching you unconditional love.  Anything you fear is for teaching you courage to overcome fear.  Anything you can’t control is for teaching you how to let go and trust the Universe.”

Jackson Kiddard

We never stop learning and the day that we begin to believe we know it all, is the day we truly stop living.  We are taught lessons every single day of our life whether we choose to acknowledge those lessons or choose to regard them as every day happenings. There are days when nothing annoys me and then there are days where it seems the littlest thing can get on my nerves.  I try very hard to be calm and patient because I know when I get annoyed to an extreme point, I become angry with the situation and myself which only brings attention to my pain: the opposite of what I want.

One of my biggest fears in life is abandonment: this fear was instilled in me during my formative years and after my accident which resulted in brain surgery and chronic pain that fear only grew. At first my scars were quite visible, which many of you know if you have been following my blog: half of my long brown hair had been shaved off, the left side of my face swollen, and bruises/broken bones practically covered the right side of my body.  Being the new girl in seventh grade is difficult enough, add on the half a shaved head and those difficulties increase instrumentally.  I was not in the sense abandoned by anyone, but I was not welcomed by anyone either.  It was not until the visible scars became invisible that my peers started to even notice me.  For the next few years I made friends and two of those friends remain my closest friends in the world but no one truly knew the battle I was fighting inside: chronic pain.   Everyone thought I was fine.  My hair grew back, the scars were healed, and I looked like your average teenager.  I never thought having the scars visible was better than living with an invisible illness.  I began to isolate myself and the more I isolated myself the less my phone rang.  I spent more time with doctors and specialists trying to cure my pain than with kids my own age.  They did not mean to abandon me but I was not a good time.  In the end, before I hit my rock bottom I abandoned myself and there is nothing worse than abandoning yourself.  I needed me but I had checked out.  For a year I abandoned the true Jessica and became someone I did not know.  I drank and had ‘fun’ in Colorado to numb the physical/emotional pain I had due to chronic pain.  After I learned how to manage pain naturally and accepted my invisible illness I still was abandoned at times.  Break-ups with boyfriends, friends not understanding my new healthy/rigid lifestyle, and even some family members.  We all face periods of abandonment whether or not we have an invisible illness.  Abandonment is still a fear of mine.  However, I have proved to myself that I can stand on my own two feet and make it.  Abandonment has somehow led me to a feeling and sense of empowerment.

I have learned that anger is a double edge sword.  I find that being angry is easier than being sad but either way it is not a helpful or healing emotion by any means.  I use the techniques I use to manage chronic pain when I am very angry; such as exercise.  A great kickboxing session even with my four year old next to me gets a lot of my toxins/anger/and sadness out leading me towards a higher level of my soul and allowing  my ego to go.  I find more compassion for the person I am angry with and find the empathy I seem to lose when it comes to those who hurt me personally as opposed to those I do not know very well.  Anger tenses up our muscles as much as fear does which again only brings up our pain levels.

I truly do not hate anything in this world.  I believe the only thing I have ever hated in my life is chronic pain but I am now at peace with my condition and the invisible illness has  brought blessings to me.  There are times I really dislike a person’s actions or words or times I am very upset with a situation but hate is too strong of a word to use or feel.  I am not writing this to sound superior to anyone as I have felt hate in my life but that hate was only directed at chronic pain and myself.  It was not until I accepted chronic pain and myself and found self love that I no longer had hate for anyone or anything.   Hate has caused so many issues in our world and has not once solved one.  The only thing I have found to solve problems is acceptance and love.

I am a very fearful person.  People who know me would not believe that as I am not afraid of what most people seem to fear.  I love thrills: bungee jumping, roller coasters, scary movies, and traveling to places I have never been.  I am not scared of people and no one would ever call me shy.  I am a very talkative person and enjoy meeting new people and sharing my story in the hopes to help another person who has suffered through anything I have suffered through, such as chronic pain.   However, at times I am filled with fear and worry.  I worry about the things I can control and the things that are out of my control.  I used to be petrified of pain and as I have written before: “sometimes the fear of pain is worse than the pain itself.”  For many of my readers who take medication, I have a question  (no judgement zone here)  do you feel a tad better the second you take a medication for pain even before the medication has gotten into your system?  I know I used to feel better just knowing I had medicine and not having to worry about running out of it.  I no longer fear pain and you will not find anything but Advil or Tylenol in my home for pain which for those of you who have chronic pain is just as effective as chewing a piece of gum to relieve pain.  I still worry about other things in my life and the fear of having no control is what scares me the most.   The biggest thing I am working on within myself is letting go of the need to control everything.  Cognitively, I know that most of the future is totally out of my hands but sadly my mind loves to overthink to the point of madness.  Every day I work on letting go and allowing the Universe to take it’s course.  Everything I have ever planned never went as planned but worked out in ways that were/are amazing and ninety five percent of the things I worry about happening never happen.  I will be a work in progress for the rest of my life and I will continue to learn lessons and hopefully grow for the better.  You are all doing the best you can, I know that more than anything else I know.  Stop beating yourself up.  You are not alone.

Standard
abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, Christmas with Chronic Pain, chronicpain, Depression, Dr. Martin Luther King, 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, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, self love, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, The Universe

I Found My Miracle

042ad07568546f335450a2e55ba32ca6

“If you cannot find your miracle, be someone’s miracle.”

I listened to a motivational speaker this morning as I worked out who was born with no arms or legs and yet at the age of twenty nine is married with a child on the way, is a published author, and saving lives all around the world.  He could not be happier despite the fact that he was told his whole life he would never be able to find a woman, have children, or anything of value for that matter.  He was bullied by his classmates and told that he would never be able to pick up a child or hug another human being.  He attempted suicide three different times during his teen years.  What saved him was his parents and the true love and confidence they instilled in him.  They explained from the day he was able to talk the true value of living: love and passion, not what many of us believe to be important which seems to be money, status, looks, etc.  At the end of the lecture, he so enthusiastically presented he said has seen miracles happen.  He has seen people who are blind find a way to see and people who are deaf find a way  to hear.  He still slightly holds onto the belief that he will one day walk but it does not make a huge difference to him one way or the other.  He is happy and although he may not find his miracle, he is a miracle to others.  He met a mother and father who had just given birth to a child with no arms or legs and told his story to them and truly became their miracle.  They now know their child can find happiness, which is the true measure of success despite their child’s lack of arms and legs.

I held onto the belief that I would one day find a miracle to chronic pain.  I too attempted suicide, some say it was a cry for help and deep down I believe it was because to think of my dad standing at my grave before my time was too much to bear but I did think about ending my life on a consistent basis due to chronic pain.   I searched for my miracle: my cure to chronic pain.  I was bullied by my peers because I looked different when my pain was visible.  My accident left me with half a shaved head, a disformed face, and broken bones.  I ate my lunch every day in the middle school bathroom just so I did not have to face anyone who could see me or make fun of me. Once my pain became invisible is when I began my search for my miracle, my cure.  I searched the whole country, literally.  I drove from New Jersey to Philadelphia to New York to Connecticut to Colorado to Minnesota.  I spent ten years with one thought in my mind and that was this: “If I do not find my miracle, I will end my life.  I will never be able to be a mother, wife, or author with chronic pain.  I cannot even read a damn book because the pain is so bad.  I will disappoint the people I love most if I do not find my miracle.”  My search for this miracle almost killed me.  This quest came closer to killing me then even brain surgery.  I never did find my miracle but here I am: a college graduate with my degree in social work, a writer, and most importantly a mother.  I have been a miracle to many people who have found my blog and I am not writing this to brag or boast,  however I do appreciate when you write me and tell me I saved you or helped you because I know that although I never found nor will find my miracle, I was given this gift of chronic pain to be your miracle.

Standard
abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Aristotle, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, Dr. Martin Luther King, Empathy, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, Peace, Positive Energy, Rumi, self love, simplify life, Suicide, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain

Explaining Pain

e1b612416a4c6c48eb4e301bdeebee94

“I don’t think people understand how stressful it is to explain what’s going on in your head when you don’t even understand it yourself.”

Unknown: But understood by everyone with chronic pain

I have been managing chronic pain very well for over twelve years with some understandable bumps in the road.  People who met me after I stopped allowing pain to control my life had no idea I had chronic pain.  They only knew the healthy, fitness freak, social worker, yoga girl who seemed to have the greatest life. Once I became very close to a friend, I would tell my story.  How many people can say they fell off of their bike, broke most of their bones, and ended up having brain surgery: coming close to death?  I mean that is a good story!  However, then the questions came and the conversation would turn over from my crazy bike accident story to my very sad, confusing, awful story about my life with chronic pain.  I never ever talked/talk about pain as talking about pain only brings more attention to what I have worked my ass off to no longer think about despite the fact the pain is there.  Therefore, I hated the questions: where is your pain? have you tried this? did you really try and end your life because of pain? you are so healthy and in shape, I just cannot believe you have chronic pain?  you should come to this great acupuncturist with me–she could cure you in a second, etc etc.  Then I would start defending/explaining that I do not need help, advice, and tried everything in my past to cure my pain.  The only thing that truly helped was acceptance of my disease and learning how to manage it naturally.  How can anyone understand chronic pain when he or she has never had pain that lasted more than a couple days.  People with chronic pain barely understand their condition themselves but to try and explain it to others is close to impossible.  I cannot possibly understand cancer but I can empathize with anyone fighting the disease.  However, I would not start giving advice or asking a million questions to something the person with cancer probably does not want to talk about and worse gets more stressed out by the questions/advice.  It is the same for those with chronic pain.

It is beyond stressful to try and explain chronic pain to people who do have this invisible illness.  I try and not talk to people about my condition because it only brings attention to my pain and I end up thinking about pain which then turns my day into a day full of pain.  People do not always want advice, in fact most of the time they do not want advice when they are upset or in pain.  People just want someone to listen and give them a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent to.  I have found that gender has a lot to do with how people handle their loved one’s problems.  Men want to fix things.  This is not a bad thing.  My dad wanted to help me and “fix” my chronic pain and thank God he did.  He rarely made me talk about pain but without his push to enter the Pain Rehab Center where I did learn to manage pain naturally and accept my invisible illness.  Had he not pushed me into something I truly was beyond scared to do, I do not believe I would be here today.  Women are different: we listen and seem to be able to allow people to vent and cry without having to fix the problem.  This is not to say that women are better at handling problems, I have just found that women in general are better listeners and allow people to just talk/vent and cry, understanding that sometimes people are not looking for a fix, people just want to let their emotions out.  It is a good thing we are a world made of men and women as both genders offer the things we all need, chronic pain or no chronic pain.

Standard
Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, Dr. Martin Luther King, dreams, Empathy, Happiness, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, Miracles, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, Peace, self love, simplify life, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, Worrying, Your Soul

Believe in your Dreams

68da95644ef5ba62a71a18995869a268.jpg
“Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable!”

Unknown

I remember back in my senior year of high school feeling lost, scared, and drained from the wraths of chronic pain.  My peers and teachers had no clue the pain I endured each day as I never wanted anyone to know about my physical pain when I did not even understand it myself.  There was only one class during my day that brought my attention away from pain and that was English.  My teacher believed in me when I did not believe in myself.  When we are young we truly believe teachers are not really people in the sense that they have no lives outside of the classroom.  I was not always the best kid in the class as I loved to make people laugh and did anything to keep people away from the pain I was feeling but I did love reading and writing.  My English teacher in my final year of high school was young, it was his first year of teaching but to us (his students) he was somewhat of an enigma  that many of us looked up to.  I do not remember many assignments during high school but I do remember one writing assignment this certain teacher gave us.  He had us listen to the song ‘All Along the Watchtower’ by Jimi Hendrix and later played by Dave Matthews Band.  We listened to both versions of the song (a song I have loved since I was a kid) and then we were asked to write an essay on which version of the song we liked better.  I knew I should pick the original version of the song played by the infamous Jimi Hendrix but I truly loved how Dave Matthews played this incredible song.  I did not go with the crowd and my peers as I usually would have done and wrote from my heart.  Two of my favorite things even back then were writing and music so I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment and it must have shown as my favorite teacher not only gave me a high grade but took me aside and told me that I had talent.  This is something I rarely heard except from my dad but I believed my dad had to give me compliments because he was my biggest fan despite chronic pain and always believed in me.  To hear that I had talent in writing from someone I looked up to was a pivotal moment for me.  The moment did not last as the second I walked out of that classroom my world came back to chronic pain and pretending I was fine to everyone I knew but it had to mean something because fifteen years later I remember this moment as it was yesterday.  I never thought my dreams of writing or motherhood would come to fruition but it meant the world to me that someone believed in me when I was unable to believe in myself.  Two hours after class I was headed to another doctor appointment to try and cure my physical pain: my life was pain but that one hour a day in that tiny classroom was respite for me and I did not realize then how much that class and teacher meant to me.

Time passed and I ended up going straight to college and majored in elementary education as I did not believe I could make writing a career nor did I believe in myself.  I went with the crowd.  Don’t get me wrong, kids mean more to me than anything and I really wanted to be a teacher but deep down I knew chronic pain had stolen my chance of teaching or any valuable work for that matter.  Everyone in my class went to college right after high school, it is what was expected so I went.  If I could go back in time, I would have made damn sure I had chronic pain under control before entering college.  College made everything worse: my pain levels went up, I was going to different specialists as often as I was going to class, I was undergoing more surgeries during my Freshman year: I was a total mess drowning in pain.  It is beyond true that if you do not have your health, nothing is going to work: bottom line, end of story.  It got so bad I ended up in Boulder, Colorado as a college drop out just partying and waiting to die.  I did not believe in anyone much less myself.  Then what felt like the end of my life turned out to be the beginning of my dreams.  Once I hit my rock bottom of chronic pain and spent a month in Minnesota learning how to accept and manage pain naturally, I began to believe in myself.  Slowly but surely my world changed.  I graduated Summa Cum Late with a degree in social work.  I wanted to help people who suffered from chronic pain and give back to all those who had helped me at the Mayo Clinic.  However, that passion for writing never left me.  Years went by and I loved so many aspects of social work.  I loved my patients, I loved helping people, I loved teaching people the tools I had learned on how to manage pain without medications or treatment but as I did better and better in my field, my job became more about helping the company I worked for than helping the people who truly needed me.  I stopped believing in myself again and did not think I could make a difference.  Fast forward a couple years and my biggest dream in the world came true and I became a mother: nothing compares to that job, not even writing.  My biggest fear during my darkest hours of chronic pain was not being able to be a mom, a dream I had had since I was about five years old and taking care of my newborn brother.  I believed in myself again, I love being a mom and because I love being a mom I am good at it.  I do not take motherhood for granted and cannot wait to have another child.

I had a miscarriage in 2013 on my birthday and that was the day I began writing.  At the time I did not believe I could help people through writing but someone I look up to as my guardian angel suggested I start a blog (I did not even know what a blog was at the time) on my journey with chronic pain.  I’ll never forget her looking at me and saying: “Jessica, you start writing to help people with their struggles and I have no doubt that you are going to change the world for the better.”  Because I believed in this woman so much I started writing.  Slowly I gained confidence and because I enjoy writing so much kept writing.  Here I am now: thirty four, a mother, and a writer.  I believe in myself as a writer and I now believe what two people once told me: I have talent and I will make a difference through writing.  I have my ups and downs as I still am a work in progress and chronic pain is still a part of my life but I believe in myself and no one can take that from me now.

Today is Martin Luther King day, a day where many of us forget why we have off work and school because we are too excited to have a long weekend!  However, this is a man who beat all odds and literally died believing in himself and his cause.  He changed our country forever and is one of my heroes and someone I look up to and this is one holiday I do not forget the significance of.  He had a dream and although his life was sadly taken because of this dream, he made a difference: a huge difference.  My  dream of writing and helping those with chronic pain does not compare to the enormous dream Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had and to say I would take a bullet for my dream would be a lie but I do believe in myself and I will keep writing no matter how many set backs I have and no matter how many people do not believe in me.  If you have a passion or dream for anything: do it!  All of us can make a difference in the world but we have to start by believing in ourselves.

Standard
Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, Empathy, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, mindfulness, Miracles, Nelson Mandella, Non Resistance, Positive Energy, Rumi, self love, simplify life, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain

Be Your Light

f5a33d2eb5d0843179a736edcc4b11a9.jpg

“Note to all of us: Treat yourself the way you would treat a small child.  Feed yourself healthy food and make sure you spend time outside.  Put yourself to bed early, let yourself take naps.  Don’t say mean things to yourself, don’t put yourself in danger.  (your skull and your heart are still as fragile)”

This is such an important reminder to all of us, whether we suffer from an invisible illness or not.  We are our biggest enemies in this world and are so hard on ourselves that I wonder how any of us get through the day with any type of smile left on our face.  We do not even know how to take compliments, it is true and you know it.  Say something nice about someone’s shirt or hair today and see the reaction you receive.  I am guessing the receiver (who did not receive the compliment by the way) of the compliment said something like this: “Stop it.  I look terrible.  I wish I had hair like yours.”  Or something along those lines.  How can we receive a compliment from another person when we do not believe it about ourselves?  How great and empowering would it be to be able to say: “Thank you.  I love it too” without feeling odd or self centered?  We should be treating ourselves better than anyone else treats us and sadly end up putting our own selves at the bottom of the totem pole.

I have had to be very selfish in ways because of how I choose to manage chronic pain.  However, with a family and kids and responsibilities I have had to learn how to compromise my world of managing chronic pain with the needs of others.  However, I still have to make my health a number one priority because if I don’t, everything in my life will fall apart: including the people I love most.  I have to continue practicing the tools that help me manage chronic pain and sometimes that means putting my needs before anyone else.   With that said, the needs of my daughter  come before my own most of the time: that is being a mother and a parent and I have no problem putting my daughter first because being a mother is my greatest joy and has always been my biggest dream.  If I was not so in love with being a mother, I would not want more children!  Luckily, her schedule and mine are quite similar as I have followed the sleeping regiment of a toddler since I learned how to manage chronic pain naturally.

However, I am my biggest critic.  And I have written this before, but my inner critic is an asshole.  If anyone talked to me the way my mind talks to me I would be in tears.  I need to give myself a break and not listen to the bs my mind spits out into my soul.  I do not need to internalize anything negative said by others or usually said on my own.  I should be my biggest fan.  I am with me one hundred percent of the time and I know my needs better than anyone.  If I treated myself as well as I treat my three year old, I know I would feel a ton better about many things.   We all would.

Standard