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Guilt and Chronic Pain


“You are not obligated to do everything a healthy person does.  You are not obligated to be an inspiration. You are not obligated to hide your illness to make other’s comfortable.  You are allowed to know your limits.  You are allowed to have bad days.  It is not your fault if other people leave you because of your illness.  It is not your fault that you have an invisible illness.  You do not have to apologize for something that is out of your control.”


I never truly acknowledged the amount of pressure and guilt I put on myself until my daughter, who is now four was born.  I have always been a perfectionist but I never want to fail as a mother in any way, shape or form.  However, I believe my quest to be the perfect mom at times causes my anxiety levels and stress levels to go up which in turn increases my pain levels or at least I notice my chronic pain more.  There are things I did not have as a child that I want my children to have, but deep down I take this motherhood thing to a whole new level.  I love my daughter more than anything in this world and as most parents know it is a love that is unlike any other love in the world.  The love I have for my daughter scares me at times.  I wonder am I doing this or that right, analyze her actions as ‘age appropriate’ or dare I use the term: ‘normal.’  I never want her to be sad, feel abandoned or have a bad day.  The pressure I put on myself to make my daughter happy can at times be unhealthy for both of us.  That realization and throwing that sentence out into the world is not easy for me to do.  I am very much like other mothers I know and am friends with but I believe some of my childhood and my journey with chronic pain has shaped me into a mother who worries way too much about how her daughter is doing/feeling/acting and not enough time focusing on how I am doing/feeling/acting.   Cognitively I know and most of us realize this: the happier and less stressed/healthier I am, the happier my daughter will be no matter what we are doing.

I had an appointment for a physical scheduled for this gloomy Monday morning and I truly hate going to the doctor’s office because it reminds me of my ten year search to find a cure to chronic pain, during which I LIVED in the offices of every doctor imaginable but what I now dislike more is the guilt I put on myself because my four year old comes with me.  I almost cancelled (in hindsight I wish I had) because I did not want to drag her to a doctor’s office even though it is harder on my than her: thoughts truly do create our reality.  I packed snacks, games, books, magazines, colored pencils: the works just in case the wait was long which it ended up being: way too long of a wait for that matter.  After an hour and a half in the waiting room, I honestly could not take waiting any longer and Kayci had been patient up until we passed the sixty minute mark.  I told the front desk I would have to re-schedule and decided to go to a different office as I got very bad energy from the office and honestly the receptionists were very rude.  I have learned to follow my intuition and for some obvious and not so obvious reasons this is not a doctor’s office I ever want to go to again much less bring my four year old to.  The guilt kept getting worse as the clock ticked by and the loud TV screamed out medical advice.  By the time I finally made a choice to leave, I could feel my chronic pain mounting which I am usually able to put on the back burner.  It actually felt as if I had gone there for chronic pain and I have not seen any doctor for pain for years.  I think that is where my guilt stems from and that is absolutely ridiculous.

I did search for a cure for over a decade.  I did drop out of college for two years because my quest to cure my chronic pain took over my entire being.  I do feel that I lost ten years of my life but that is why I decided to learn how to manage chronic pain naturally.  With that choice, I must go easier on myself especially when it comes to parenting.   I am so far from perfect and have made many mistakes in my life but I know one thing and that is that I am a great mom.  If there was such a thing as a perfect mom, we would be living the life of Stepford Wives and I am sure half of their children are rebelling somewhere in the world.  I want to let go of the guilt.  I want us all to let go of any guilt we feel due to our invisible illness whether that be chronic pain or not.  I did not ask to fall off of my bike and have brain surgery.  I did not ask to live a life with chronic pain.  Neither did any of you.  I am exhausted from being so hard on myself and living in the world of apologies.  How many times a day do you find yourself saying: “I’m sorry.”  We are a generation (especially females) of guilt, feeling as if we are not enough, and saying the two words: “I’m sorry” at least ten times a day.   We are doing the best we can.  Are other people putting pressure on us or are we doing it to ourselves?  We can blame society, our friends, our family but in the end we need to stand up for ourselves and take care of our health and happiness because we are our biggest enemy which is such a shame.  Life is too damn short to live one more second in the realm of guilt.  It is odd, I know my readers are doing the best they can with their invisible illness and I am sure you feel the same about me.  Why do we credit others so much and forget the person that matters more than anyone in our lives: OURSEVLES.

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Loneliness: Is It Such a Bad Thing?


“loneliness is a sign you are in desperate need of yourself”

-rupi kaur

Loneliness comes in many forms and there is a huge correlation between chronic pain and feeling desperately alone.  Many people (as I once did) isolate themselves from their friends, family, and the world when in the wraths of chronic pain.  Fifteen years ago I spent my days alone in doctor’s offices or in bed crying each and every day away.  I isolated myself for many reasons: I was jealous of everyone who did not live in pain every day of every week, I felt that no one would possibly want to be around someone who was once a fun, energetic girl who turned into a negative, sad, angry person and I honestly came to a point in my journey with chronic pain where I could no longer fake being happy because pain had taken over my body, mind and spirit.  I felt alone whether I was with people or by myself: the latter just took away the fakeness I could no longer muster up for people whom I believed would end up deserting me anyways because of my invisible illness.

I am at a different place with chronic pain and no longer find myself isolating from the world.  I have very close friends whom I can share my truest feelings with, a family I adore, a daughter who is the biggest miracle to ever enter my life, and those random people who come in and out of your life because of where you spend your time.  However, there are times I feel absolutely alone, misunderstood in ways I am not even sure those with chronic pain would understand as I am not sure there is a correlation between my personal loneliness at times and my invisible illness.

I am Jessica and at times I feel I should not only use my name as a noun but as a verb as well.  People always tell me that I am the truest Gemini they have ever met because I am diverse in many ways and beat to my own drum.  To be honest I no longer give a ton of credibility to astrology but there are many commonalities I have with the descriptions of a Gemini.  Not to mention, I did at the age of eighteen get a tattoo of the Gemini symbol on my back: brilliant teenage move, NOT.  I remember when I got the tattoo I was very down and battling chronic pain like a beast attacking my entire being.  I wanted a tattoo and it is true once you get one you tend to want more.  There was a reason I chose my horoscope symbol as my first tattoo.  I had always had a fear of abandonment and my bike accident/chronic pain only intensified this fear, causing me to believe no one I loved would ever stay in my life for too long and because pain was my only hobby, passion, or purpose in life I had no idea what to get for a tattoo.  I decided to get the Gemini symbol because it was one thing I could think of that would never change.  I was born on June 7th and no one could ever take away my birthdate, nor my astrological sign.  As odd as it may sound, I had no identity but chronic pain and I definitely did not want the word PAIN drilled into my skin more than it already was.

As I was working our this morning I looked over at a book I keep on an end table in our living room entitled: Simple Abundance.  I love this book and used to read it daily, highlighting different points that stood out to me and made sense in my life today.  Over the past year or so it has become a book for decoration like the picture frames placed in various places throughout our home.  I was doing a cardio/interval training workout that allots one to two minutes in-between exercises to breathe and drink some water.  During those two minutes I picked up this much needed book that I allowed to turn into a decoration and began reading what I had once highlighted.  Then it hit me, like a ton of soft bricks.  I have been feeling this sense of loneliness because I am not taking the time I truly need for myself.  I am rarely, if ever alone and yet have been feeling this sense of loneliness which is not a common feeling for me.  Then again, my truest partner in crime is my four year old daughter and it is hard to get a lot of soulful, intellectual time when teaching her to swim or coloring in one of her many coloring books.  I would not give any of our time up for the world but I do need to start looking within myself again and work on reading the books that help me in my journey with life and chronic pain and focus on meditation again.  I love the quote above because maybe loneliness is not a horrible thing.  Maybe it is our souls way of letting us know we are not giving ourselves the attention that only we are able to give ourselves.

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All Pain is REAL


My family and I watched the movie last night entitled: “Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day” starring Steve Carrel.  The movie is based on my favorite children’s book and I was extremely impressed by how funny, witty, and thought provoking the movie turned out to be.  I honestly cannot wait to watch it again.  I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week for the most part and the reason was due to pain, however it was not due to chronic pain.  That sentence may only make sense to those who also suffer from chronic pain.

One of my main tools for managing pain naturally is not talking about it.  However, for this post I must point out where exactly my chronic pain is located.  Because of my bike accident and subsequent brain surgery my pain is located in my face, head and neck.  I had many surgeries to “cure” my chronic pain before I began managing it naturally which only made my chronic pain that much worse.  However, this week I had my first real back ache.  Of course, I have had back issues since my accident but not chronically.  The worst of my chronic pain has always been in my face and head.  For over ten years, while I was searching for a cure to my chronic pain I took many medications, was at the doctor’s at least twice a week, and lived my life on the search for a cure for my invisible illness.  I never slept because the pain was too intense and over the years as each doctor, medication, and surgery did not relieve my pain I became depressed, agitated, angry, and began to isolate myself because I could not deal with being around anyone, even my family because pain had totally took over my entire existence.  Jessica and Pain were one of the same.

When I did hit my rock bottom and truly was at my worst: living in Boulder Colorado, not going to school, seeing doctors constantly, drinking all the time with friends, and crying day in and day out I finally went to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.  I unwillingly entered a program called the Pain Rehab Center where I learned how to manage pain naturally.  To this day I utilize the tools I learned there and have found a fulfilling life despite pain.  When I first entered the program I was pissed, and more depressed than ever.  No one looked sick.  Then again I did not look sick either but at the time I was so focused on my pain I could not imagine anyone else feeling as terrible as I did.   At that point I thought my pain had to be visible because it was all I could see.   There were about twenty people in my group and all had chronic pain but no one was talking about their pain.  Some people were laughing, walking around, reading, playing board games, emailing friends as I sat there thinking: “This is crap.  I could never be able to read or email a friend because my pain is way too much to bear.  It is hard enough to sit in a chair much less laugh with people I do not know.”  I wanted to quit.  My dad being my voice of reason urged me to stay in Minnesota and give the program a chance.  A few days in I began to hear people’s stories.  Turns out everyone did have chronic pain but no one had had brain surgery or pain in their face and head.  Some people had chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, phantom leg pain, migraines, etc.  I always thought having any kind of chronic pain other than my own would be better.  Having chronic pain throughout my face and head was and can still be torture.  I thought back then if I had back pain or phantom pain I could at least read or do this or that.  I learned this week how wrong my thoughts back then were/are.

I am not sure why I have had a back ache this past week.  I came down with a stomach virus just yesterday as well so maybe they are correlated but I really do not care why my back hurts.  I learned a long time ago that trying to figure out why something hurts will only bring more attention to the pain.  This is not always a good thing and as a disclaimer I would like to say that it is always important to not ignore pain or any ailment for too long as there are times something could be seriously wrong.  However, I knew nothing was life threatening and I was just coming down with something and/or had over worked my muscles through exercise or just not taking enough breaks.  However, severe back pain is awful!!!!  I had insomnia for over three nights.  As I was laying in bed those nights that turned into mornings I remembered all those in the Pain Rehab Center with me.  I was a hypocrite at the time.  Pain is pain.  Chronic pain is chronic pain: visible or invisible.  Now I know what severe back pain feels like and it is just as bad as my chronic pain is: just in a different area of my body.  I am thankful to not have chronic back pain and as it is slowly going away I am grateful.   All of us who have chronic pain have critics within our life and those who are not in our life.  Many people do not believe our pain.  There is a huge stigma related to invisible illnesses.  I have been writing for over three years in hopes to help those with chronic pain and all invisible illnesses for that matter.  We need to stick together.  Does it matter where our pain is?  Chronic pain is an invisible illness that affects our lives in more ways that I can count.  Why even ask another where someone’s pain is located?  I learned this week after days of severe back pain that that pain was no different than when I was in the wraths of hell with my chronic pain which is located in my face, head, and neck.  There is enough judgement surrounding chronic pain.  Let us never judge one another who understand chronic pain.  Pain is pain and we need to be a support system not a group of individuals trying to figure out whose pain is worse than someone else’s.  Do not forget the three most important words to say to one with any invisible illness: I BELIEVE YOU.

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How To Love Someone With Chronic Pain


It is no secret that I get immense joy from being with my four year old daughter and all children for that matter.  When one sees me at our town pool, I am usually in the water with my daughter and other kids that I sometimes do not even know.  Kayci has become quite the social butterfly and will play with anyone and loves when I join in.  Children have this amazing, uplifting energy to them.  I can live in the moment when around my daughter, especially when we are doing an activity such as swimming, having a catch, or playing make believe.  She loves me unconditionally and as of now, because of her young age has no clue I have chronic pain.   All my daughter knows is love whether I am in the greatest mood in the world or am having a difficult day.  She sees me for mommy and the bond between us is so strong there is never a question whether one of us loves the other.  As we get older, we lose this magic with most people especially when we live with an invisible illness such as chronic pain.  How do you love someone with chronic pain?  If you love someone, I truly believe no condition can take that love away.  It can be difficult to be a parent, spouse, sibling, or friend to one with chronic pain but there are things you can do to keep your relationship strong and keep your love magical.

The three most important things you can ever say to someone with an invisible illness are: “I believe you.”  However, you must truly believe your loved one or they are just words and most people with chronic pain are quite intuitive and know if you are just saying what you are ‘supposed to say.’  Chronic pain is usually invisible which can make believing someone difficult at times: that is very hard for me to write because I am someone who looks very healthy and my invisible illness has been questioned more times that I care to think about.  No one makes up chronic pain or any invisible illness.  We do not want to prove our pain to you, it only intensifies our pain and causes us to become depressed, anxious, angry and eventually we isolate ourselves from the world.   I have written this before but there are many things that are invisible that we all still believe in: we cannot see air and yet we breathe, we cannot see our higher being and yet many of us believe in our own personal God, and we cannot see love yet it is one of the strongest feelings in the world.  No one can see my chronic pain but I promise you it is there and I have yet to meet a person with chronic pain who is making up their illness.

It is extremely difficult for someone with chronic pain to be honest about their condition because of the stigma that has been put on most invisible illnesses.  We feel we will be judged, talked out, and possibly thrown away as we carry too many problems.  If your loved one is brave enough to admit to you he or she has chronic pain, believe him or her.  You cannot fix their illness as much as you would like to but you can support them in their journey with their illness.  Chronic pain does not define a person and I am living proof that one can get to a point in their journey with chronic pain that they are able to have a fulfilling life despite their pain.  You must be patient and educated.  Chronic pain is getting noticed everywhere and you can find more articles on the internet that you ever imagined regarding this invisible illness.

I am in a good place in my personal journey with chronic pain.   I no longer search for a cure, take medications for pain, and have found ways to manage pain naturally.  However, I must listen to my body and sometimes that means saying no to events or certain outings.  This can be quite frustrating to those who love me as they believe I am being selfish or just do not want to do this or that but this could not be further from the truth.  I wish I could do everything and be on the go non stop but I just cannot do that to myself.  I have to prioritize, take breaks, and follow my routine for managing chronic pain naturally the best I can.  If your loved one says no to something you really want to do, I beg you to not make them feel more guilty than I promise you they already feel.  I get this can be hard on loved ones and very frustrating at times.  I am personally a morning person and begin my ‘chronic pain routine’ once I open my eyes.  I begin the day early with my morning stretches and exercise.   I have always been a morning person and feel my best during the day.  I will rarely go to events that occur at night unless it is very important to myself or someone I love.  I have been practicing managing chronic pain naturally for over ten years and have found what works.  If it isn’t broken don’t fix it.  If I over-do things, I pay the price and my family pays the price.

In all honesty, everyone in the world just wants to be loved, validated, and understood.  The same goes for those who have an invisible illness.  There are times we feel we hate ourselves but we really just hate our pain.  Trust your loved one, support your loved one, and validate their illness and their decisions regarding their illness.  Loving someone with chronic pain can be difficult at times.  However, I believe that those with chronic pain have more empathy, love, and courage than anyone I have known.  We do not judge others because we know what it is like to be judged.  We love hard and strong and will always be there for you and love you because you believed in us.

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Broken: Chronic Pain



“I hide so much.  I push it all the way down and cover it up.  I try to convince myself that I am not sick, that I am not fighting to live.  But it is a lie.  And although I’m surrounded by many, I feel alone.  I do it to myself.  I don’t want to let others in because they become a part of the disease.  It affects them.  I don’t want anyone else to feel this pain.  I’m worn.  I’m scared.   And right now,  I’m broken.  Completely and perfectly broken.”


Until I began writing about my journey with chronic pain many people did not  know I was fighting an ivisible illness for over twenty years.   I was basically living a lie because I did not want people to know how I really felt inside.  Every day was a battle: me against pain and for over ten years pain won every second of every day.  My chronic pain began after my bike accident, during my adolescent years when I was unsure of myself to begin with.  I wanted to fit in with my peers and have friends and be like ‘everyone else.’  I was going through puberty while fighting a pain I had no control over.  I was broken inside but on the outside I could bury my pain down deep enough to show a smile and keep my chronic pain a secret to as many people as possible.   Some days I would miss school because of doctor’s appointments and/or various procedures and I lied to people as to why I missed school.  I felt as if I was going crazy.  It was not until the year 2001 that I even heard the word chronic pain so I began believing I was making my physical pain up: broken.  Some nights and or weekends I would cancel plans with friends, not because I wanted to but because I wanted to just lay in bed and cry.  The thought of having to be around people when I was in an immense amount of pain was too much to bear.  I would tell my friends and family members I had a stomach ache or my allergies were acting up: anything to not have to mention the pain in my head, face, and neck.  I began isolating myself and at times literally laid in my bed just crying while my friends were enjoying their time at the movies or the mall.  I wanted to be anyone but myself.  I hated myself.  Years upon years of treatments, medications, surgeries etc led me to truly think I was making up my pain: I was not as most of you know, especially those of you with some sort of an invisible illness.

Once I was finally diagnosed with having chronic pain (a term I had never heard of) I began my journey to acceptance and managing pain naturally.  However, I still did not want people to know.  I was the queen of changing plans: ten years I changed plans because the pain was too much to deal with, ten years I changed plans because I had to put my healthy management of chronic pain ahead of everything else.  I have been called selfish in my lifetime and I do believe that mostly comes from chronic pain.  I have put my health and my management of chronic pain ahead of everything.  I know I cannot overdo things or my pain levels will sky rocket and I will be a miserable mess. If I do not put my well being first I cannot be a good mother, a good family member, a good friend, and worst of all I end up back in the cycle of self hate which is no good for anyone around me.  In a perfect world, I would never have fallen off of my bike and I would never had brain surgery and chronic pain.  However, I did fall off my bike at the young age of thirteen.  I did spend ten years or more of my life searching for a cure and fighting pain every moment.  I did want to just end my life in my young twenties because I literally could not take the physical and emotional pain any longer.  And then I hit my rock bottom and made a very hard decision and that decision was to accept chronic pain and manage it naturally.  I no longer feel broken but I do feel alone sometimes.  If I am having a difficult day with pain, I feel depressed, I cry a lot, and I pretend I am okay.  A couple days is a lot better than ten years straight.  Chronic pain can be the loneliest place in the world.  None of my family or friends know what I go through each day to manage this invisible illness.  My smiles are rarely fake and I am a genuinely happy person but I am quite misunderstood by those who have never dealt with an invisible illness.

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Working With Chronic Pain: My Biggest Mistake


Where do I go when I am faced with life’s biggest questions or when I am in the middle of an invisible argument going on inside my mind: the beach.  I am able to think and find my answers to life’s biggest struggles when I am right in front of the ocean. We live about fifty minutes from the Jersey shore and it remains my place of peace and where I go when things in my life seem to be unravelling.

My biggest fear when I left the Pain Rehab Center at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota was how I would be able to work with chronic pain?  I truly did not believe I would be able to be a social worker when I was managing pain naturally and had this intense routine I followed daily to manage my pain without it managing me.  I spent about six months or so not working once I left the Mayo Clinic and used this time to truly focus on my health and management of chronic pain.  Every day I followed a schedule and eventually I did not focus on my pain as I once had and happiness started to truly enter my heart and soul.  I felt alive for the first time in twenty years.   I was exercising, practicing meditation twice a day, taking walks, reading, and finding all the things I thought I had lost because of chronic pain.  It was the happiest I had been since I had fallen off of my bicycle in my young teens.  I was thriving despite chronic pain.

However, I was a college graduate with my degree in social work and knew I had to start applying to jobs in my field after my six months of getting my chronic pain under control.  I was terrified.  I knew I could not do a forty hour week but I needed health insurance so I had to make sure I worked at least thirty-two hours a week.  I was so afraid that work would take away all the progress I had made in my management of pain.  I went on an interview at a place called Senior Care which was a medical facility that had patient’s who suffered from Dementia, Mental health issues, Cancer, Autism: you name it.  The job seemed amazing and I loved the facility.  During my interview, I was honest with my soon to be boss and explained that I had chronic pain but was managing it naturally.  I told him that I would need about two breaks a day and he was very impressed with my honesty and how I managed chronic pain as many of my soon to be patients also had chronic pain.  He then began asking me questions on how I managed pain and if I would be able to teach some of the patients the techniques I used such as meditation.  BINGO!!!!  I was pumped.  I wanted to just tell my future boss that I would take the job and start the next day but then fear crept in and I asked him if I could have a couple days to think about the position.  The following day I drove to the same beach seen above by myself with my meditation CD’s, my books, and my journal.  I sat on this very same beach where years later I would be holding this precious daughter of mine and just asked the Universe if I should take the job or not.  My intuition was so strong that I really did not need to ask anyone their opinion.  I knew I wanted this job and after eight hours of sitting on the sand in my favorite place in the world I drove home and called my soon to be boss and took the job.  My intuition was right on point and I loved my job.  I was able to incorporate my chronic pain management tools into my career,  I was helping people and making a difference, and I was proud of myself.  It was the greatest job I have ever had so why did I leave?

One downfall of my job was that I made very little money and my health insurance was pretty bad.  Out of the blue one day, I received a phone call from a different facility asking me if I was interested in interviewing for the Director of Social Services at one of the most famous nursing homes in our area.  The Director was offering about twenty thousand dollars more than I was making and my ego took over and I agreed to be interviewed.  I was managing pain amazingly, I was in a great place: mind, body, and spirit so I thought: what the hell, may as well at least go for an interview.  Here is where I made one of the biggest mistakes in my career: I took the job despite my strong intuition to stay where I was not making a lot of money but I was healthy and happy.  I gave my two weeks to my dream job and began working as the Director days later.  By the end of my first week at my money making, high profile social work job I knew I had made a HUGE mistake.  I was working over forty hours a week, no breaks, no time with my patients, no time to incorporate my chronic pain management tools, and my self esteem began to spiral downwards as my pain began to increase by the day.  I was miserable, filled with regret, and in tears every night of the week.  Weekends were no longer fun because I was no longer taking care of my health five days a week because I chose money over my health and happiness.  Within a year of my twenty thousand dollar mistake, I found out I was pregnant and gave my two weeks notice.  My boss was not a huge fan of me anyways as he told me on a daily basis: “Jessica, you are just not a good sales person.  We need our numbers up.  We need more people who will pay privately.  Your focus needs to be on our facility.”  No, I am not a good sales person, I could not agree with this person more.  I was a social worker.  I hated sales, I hated shopping, and I went into social work to help people not make a business money.

Chronic pain has taught me more lessons in my life than any other ailment or event has.  This was another hard lesson I had to learn.  If I could go back in time, I never would have chosen money over my health and happiness.  I would have followed my intuition and stayed in the job where I was making little money but I was not only making a difference in my health but the health and happiness of those I worked with.  I did not go to the beach seen above when offered this twenty thousand dollar mistake.  Lesson learned.  There is nothing in this world that is more important than your health and happiness.  If you are lucky to find a job in which you are able to manage your invisible illness like I was able to find, do not leave no matter what!  Do not make my twenty thousand dollar mistake.


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Anxiety and Chronic Pain


I have yet to meet a person who has chronic pain but has no anxiety symptoms as seen above.  What came first: chronic pain or anxiety?  I believe for everyone this is different and I am not a huge fan of the: what came first: the chicken or the egg theory anyways.  In the end, who cares?  You have chronic pain and you are dealing with the dreaded invisible illnesses that hop on board with the relentless pain you are already facing.  I personally know that I have had anxiety problems since I was a child.  Even at the young age of six I worried about everything.  I remember nighttime being the worst because I was never able to turn my young mind off.  I worried about things that were in my reality and things that no child or adult should waste their time thinking about.  My dad once took me to my pediatrician because I had such problems with insomnia: I was nine!  My bike accident happened in my young teens which resulted in brain surgery and a life with chronic pain.  Chronic pain did not help my anxiety at all.  I have written this before but I fully believe this to be true: the fear of pain is often times worse than the pain itself.  I no longer look for a cure for chronic pain and manage pain totally naturally.  However, I still have some difficult days or nights but they do not rule my life by any means.  I over did things yesterday and was overly anxious and paid the price last night as I watched The Bachlorette and later read.   However, I do not fear pain but I do find myself fearing anxiety.

There is no doubt that anxiety increases my pain levels and this goes for everyone.  People without chronic pain get headaches, back aches, and stomach aches when overly stressed or filled with anxious thoughts and worries.  If you are already living with chronic pain, there is little doubt in me that anxiety, when heightened will lead to increased pain levels. I have been working on managing my anxiety for thirty years and the one good thing I have learned is that a lot of the techniques I use to manage chronic pain also help with my anxiety management: exercise, breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, yoga nidra, healthy diet etc.  I cannot believe I am writing this as I never thought I would be able to manage pain without a cure or medication but managing my anxiety is more difficult than managing chronic pain.  Wow, just writing that fact is shocking to me.

Anyone that has anxiety knows how difficult it is to live with this very real invisible illness.  Just like chronic pain or any other disease, one cannot understand the true feelings of anxiety unless on lives with this chronic condition.  I awake most mornings with a huge amount of anxiety and most days I can jump up and just start my routine but there are some days that it takes a ton of will power.  Anxiety, like chronic pain can truly take over one’s mind and then body if we allow it to.  People may say to you: “You worry too much, everything works out.  Just calm down.”  Most of us, myself included know that the things we worry about always work out however it is very difficult at times to talk reason to our minds and souls when they are in a heightened state of anxiety.  Logically, we know how blessed we are and that the past has taught us worrying will never change the outcome but just like a difficult day with chronic pain there are difficult days with anxiety.  I struggle the most with anxiety first thing in the morning and at times as I try and fall asleep.  I noticed lately the more I give in to my anxieties in the morning the easier it is for me to fall asleep because I am so tired from having battles in my mind that I am not only exhausted, but have stressed myself out to the point of having a difficult time with pain.

Where is the happy ending of this battle with anxiety?  Is there an ending?  I do not know.  I only know that if I can learn how to manage chronic pain without medications or finding a cure, I can better myself in more ways than I realize.  Life isn’t about the destination, it is through the journey of ups and downs that we learn and grow.  I find it ironic that having chronic pain because of a bike accident taught me (ten years later) how I can manage anxiety the same way I manage pain.  I also find it crazy that anxiety is more difficult for me to manage now than pain.  Fifteen years ago I would have given in to both chronic pain and fear in the morning and never have gotten out of bed.  Now, at the age of thirty five I feel as if I slept super late because it is my day off and I did not wake up until eight in the morning (thank you daughter!)  Our thoughts become our reality, I do believe this to be true.  However, once we accept it is our anxiety talking and not the rational part of our minds we can at least come to a great starting point in our journey with anxiety.  We are always works in progress and I have learned more from chronic pain than probably anything in my life.  I plan to do the same with anxiety and worrying.  We just never give up and no matter where any of you are with your personal invisible illness, I know from much life experience that you are truly doing the best you can.

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Lessons From the Accidents We ALL Face


“Note to self: If you were able to believe in Santa for eight years, you can believe in yourself for five seconds.  You Got This.”


In the above picture, my daughter is belting out a Mumford and Sons song as I play the drums.  She believes in everything.  She reminds me so much of myself when I was her age it is frightening.  She reminds me so much of myself now (most of the time)  it is scary.  A day does not go by that someone does not say: “She is a mini version of you to the tee.”  For the most part, this is a great thing.  There are many things I love about myself and I am proud that Kayci is herself one hundred percent of the time.  She truly does not care what anyone thinks and is downright funny and entertaining.  Just this afternoon, we went out to lunch at the infamous Houlihans that reminds me a lot of the movie: “Office Space” minus the flare.  Music was playing in the background fron the sixties and Kayci danced for the entire restauratnt.  She did not care in the least who was watching or what anyone thought of her: she was happy, making others happy, in her own world believing in herself.  When do we lose this sense of belief and self love?  I never want my daughter to lose her carefree attitude and her zest for life.  I was a carefree child up until my bike accident and that fall that changed my life forever, happened out of no where, with no warning, and those two seconds of my life stole fifteen years of my life.  I lost my zest for life, I lost my self worth and self esteem, and worst of all I lost myself.

I am now thirty-five and for the most part, a care free person and people who know me know that I have no filter and am still called the entertainer.  I am proud of myself for how I manage chronic pain and how I help others in their own battles with their personal invisible illness.  However, I look up to my daughter more than I look up to anyone.  The car accident we were in just last week ended up being a lot worse than I thought.  Our SUV was considered totaled and we are in the process of working with the insurance company and buying a new car. No one was hurt and that is what matters, however I am still having trouble wrapping my mind around what happened.  It truly shook me to the core.  It was almost as if the accident put me off balance because after the accident, everything seemed to start going wrong.  However, were things really going wrong or was it just how I was perceiving the ‘problems?'”  I found out on Monday night that the car was considered totaled and I felt like a failure. I began hating myself despite the fact that it was a true accident and I cannot think of something I was doing wrong.  That self-hate began to manifest itself in me and my mind became a catastrophic mess.  I came to a point of acceptance yesterday and of course everything is working out as it always does.  I am sleeping again, back to my chronic pain management schedule, and working on self love.  I need to start believing in myself more and that is what the accident taught me.  I am way too hard on myself as a person, a family member, and a mother.  I never truly give myself enough credit or practice what I preach regarding self love.  Life can change for the better or worse in a split second, my bike accident taught me that.  When bad things happen, we need to find a lesson because there is always something to learn from an accident.  I learned that I need to slow my mind down, appreciate what I have more, and believe in myself more.  Life is so short and when you become a parent you realize just how quickly it goes because it feels as if yesterday Kayci could not even walk.  I want to live for the here and now.  I want to count my blessings and I want to be proud of myself and stop beating myself up for the mistakes I have made in the past.  We all deserve those things.  6bc8230fe1e59b903e1b8dd132390e10



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Sometimes we CRASH


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

“Soren Kierkegaard

So many people (and I agree) say: things could be so worse, you should not be sad or upset, count your blessings.  However, I read a quote once that said: “Telling someone they should not be sad because things could be worse is like telling someone they should not be happy because things could be better.”

I was driving to work today in the rain in my new car, with my four year old in the back and she was yelling in the back because she was exhausted and I was overthinking (shoking) and it was raining and  the roads were slick and we got in a pretty bad accident.  If you are a parent, which many of you are hearing your little one scream as you hear the sound of a very loud collision is tough to swallow.  Yes, we are blessed.  No one was hurt and it is just a car and I have great insurance.  However, lets be honest: it sucks.  I never lie to any of you so not going to start now but I cried literally all day, for multiple reasons.  Cognitively I know there is nothing I can do now and it is pointless to keep thinking about it but as far as I have come, I’m having a bad day.  You have those questions like: “If I had just left five minutes earlier or if it had not been raining, etc. ”

I practice what I preach most of the time but there are days that are totally overwhelming and I forget.  At the time of the accident, I was distracted by my four year old’s tears because she was exhausted,  I was annoyed at the rain and thinking about being stuck inside for twelve hours at work, I was worried about issues that all adults have and instead of living in the present moment despite the ‘no fault’ accident, I crashed: HARD.  I truly do believe some things happen for a reason and maybe the Universe was telling me to slow my mind down and stop worrying so much.  But, I’m human and I’m sad, anxious, and angry.  Like I say, it is okay to cry it out and be upset: just do not pack up and live there.  I am, have been camping out for the day: I’m accepting my right to be upset.  People, especially women put a LOT of pressure on ourseleves and we sadly live in a state of guilt a lot of the time.  I feel awful my daughter was scared out of her mind, I feel awful this is a new car, I feel awful that I let my family down.   I know how blessed I am that no one was hurt but I am still sad.  It will pass as all things do and in a couple weeks/months I will see the reason of this horrific accident.  However, at this moment I’m not ok and that is ok.

There are so many tragedies occurring in our country at the moment, the biggest being the shooting in an Orlando night club just a few nights: the biggest shooting in our country’s history.  It is devastating.  I cannot imagine, nor will allow myself to picture any of my loved ones killed because of their human right to live.  No excuse.  No one deserves to be bullied, hurt, or killed for the way they live.  It is truly heartbreaking.  I was going to write a post on this tragedy tomorrow as I was supposed to have work today but may as well bring it up now.  I am not in the government, I am not God, and honestly I do not have the answers on how to stop the endless tragedies that keep plaguing our country.  I wish I did because it is truly beyond devastating.

With that said, we all have a right to have bad days. I, personally do not know and cannot fathom being a part of the worldwide shootings and massacres that continue to destroy the lives of innocent, beautiful, amazing people.  I cannot say that I understand because I do not.  Most of my readers have some type of an invisible illness.  It is OK to mourn the losses you have faced due to your illness.  Comparison is the thief of joy in both good ways and bad.  Comparing your life to someone you “think” has it better will only make you feel awful, the same goes for comparing yourself to someone you “think” has it worse.  This is your life.  We are all allowed good days, bad days, low pain days, difficult days and must stop comparing our lives to others.  Why the hell did I crash my car today?  Why can I not get the images of the shattered pieces of car out of my head or the noise of the impact of both cars?  Why, no matter how hard I try can I not stop crying?  Why do we have chronic pain?  Sometimes there are NO answers and we have to keep going and never lose faith.  I learned a lesson today, a lesson I already know but at times do not practice enough.  No, I am not going to be mad at myself for being emotional, what is that going to solve: more tears.  You are allowed to be sad.  You are allowed to be angry.  You are allowed to feel exactly as you do at this moment.   Do not suppress those feelings, let them out.  If not, you will bury them deep and camp out in emotional turmoil for a long time.


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Humor and Chronic Pain


“Open your eyes, for this world is only a dream.”


I had quite the imagination when I was a child, still do but that imagination goes straight to fear way too often as an adult.  I used to wonder if my real life was while I slept and dreamt and my dreams were actually when I was awake.  I also used to think I could fly and jumped off of my families couch way too many times to count: turns out I can only fly once in a blue moon while I sleep.  I love the quote above: “Open your eyes, for this world is only a dream.”  I took this quote to mean that we take life too seriously at times and miss out on the true miracles and blessings that occur in our life every day.

My daughter and I were in CVS, our local drug store the other day buying random things I had coupons for.  As I was selecting the correct allergy medicine, Kayci whispered in my ear: “Mommy, what is that?  That poor man is missing a leg!”  There was a man in his fifties standing at the pharmacy telling jokes and making the pharmacists and customers roar with laughter.  He was really funny, to the point that I forgot my daughter’s question and truly did not notice that this man had a prostetic leg as his joy was radiating through the store.  I began laughing out loud as well and about eight people were all enthralled with this man’s amazing sense of humor.  He was truly one of the funniest people I have met in a long time.  I began talking to him and the elderly woman next to him and forgot that my daughter was still whispering her question: “Mommy, what is that???”  The man heard my daughter’s question and at first instinct I was embarrassed but luckily this man was so gracious and kind that he explained that he was blessed enough for science to make him a leg as he had lost one of his in an accident.  Another woman, who turned out to be a psychiatrist chimed in as well and explained to my little four year old how amazing this man was and how lucky he was to be so happy even without one of his legs.  Phew, took the pressure of explaining amputations to my toddler away from me for the time being.

As little as this moment was, it was the highlight of my day.  I was proud of my daughter’s empathy and intelligence.  I was thrilled to be surrounded by such kind people.  But, most of all I felt so blessed to have met this man whom I will probably never see again.  It was a teachable moment for both my daughter and I.  Some days I forget to count my blessings.  Some days I still do feel sorry for myself for having chronic pain, rarely but this was one of those days and I was so thankful that I had the privilege of meeting this man on one of my ‘difficult days.’  There are so many things we take for granted and we all have a story to tell whether it be visible or not.  I do not know this man’s story but I do know he was a blessing to my daughter, all the people who were talking with him that day in CVS, and myself.  As he left the store I said: “You are one of the funniest people I have ever met.”  He replied immediately before walking out the door: “I lost my leg, but I will never lose my sense of humor.”