One impetus for writing here was driven by my desire to see some positive success stories of overcoming pain on the net. From the time my struggle began, I would constantly look to the internet for answers concerning my condition, treatments, doctors and particularly a community of people who are dealing with the same issues. I desired to see how others where coping with the day to day struggles of pain.
I found myself reading message boards and read extensively about people in pain wanting to know what medicines worked for others, what types of doctors they are seeing, what treatments have they tried, and how they dealt with others opinions about them. It became quickly apparent that the people who are drawn to these sites are hurting emotionally and physically and in many cases overwhelmed with fear concerning their current condition and what that may mean for the future. The community was abundant with solutions of doctors, medicines, treatments, but yet the solution providers were still on these boards in pain living a life that looked very much like their past with not much hope for the future.
I cannot remember reading one story of someone who overcame their condition, and I came to realize that those who had must be out there living their lives. Keep in mind that this realization only materialized after my own situation had been redeemed, and I too was beginning to live my life again. So, I began to search the net again for the success stories of those who had overcome pain because again I wanted to know what was working for them. My search came up empty.
So where are the people like me? Well, good question. Most people who experience short term pain find a solution and are able to move on. Chronic pain is a funny animal. Someone once asked me how to describe my pain and I personified it as a thief. Pain steals our time, thoughts, hopes, dreams, ambition, and our ability to be outward focused. The latter is the most detrimental to the mind, and soul. It robs us of the ability to love others and see ourselves as part of the body. It can steal the perception of our self worth and our necessity in others lives. Pain causes all of us to turn inward and to sometimes be overwhelmed by the selfish focus it draws.
So what does this look like? I talked previously about the choice to wallow in my pain or get out and live life in spite of it. For those who become overwhelmed by pain, physical or emotional, it often causes us/me to withdraw into myself and deeper into my thoughts. Often this only increased the pain and sorrow as I dwelt on it and forgot that hope lay out before me. It would keep me from being vulnerable enough to reach out to those who love me and would gladly help carry the burden if I let them.
For a long time I’ve been caught up in my own thoughts and life… only thinking of myself and how to manage the day to day, and to be honest longing for heaven for I know I am glorified there both body and soul. Pain, sorrow, tragedy can all disable our ability to see the grand scheme of things, but because we have been redeemed, we are called to sanctify this life.
I imagine the people like me who have found a solution for their chronic pain are still in pain and sanctification is a process. It takes time. Hopefully they are working their solution. Writing here is part of my solution. It is cathartic and painful and hopeful. So this is me trying to work my own process. My attempt at being vulnerable and honest enough that some who are looking for a positive example of how pain can be overcome through community and faith can find community here. This is my prayer.
I have been working on my family’s story of an almost 10 year struggle, but again it is painful and exhausting to remember and put into words.
Thanks for all of the encouraging comments. They help draw me out of myself to think about how many others are out there living this struggle searching for answers, and remind me of the bigger picture. I still long for heaven but can choose to affirm this life instead of embracing death.
Until next time.