A Note to Myself When Pain Wakes Me Up at 3 A.M.

It’s 3 a.m. Pain has awakened me and this is always when it is the worst for me. When I wake up in intense pain, in the night, for some reason, it’s worse than when the same pain is there, or hits suddenly when I wake up in the morning, or during the day.

In the night, I am afraid. My defenses are weakest. I feel more vulnerable than at any other time of day.

When it’s really bad, when my entire body is in so much pain I cannot move and fear takes hold of me, here’s what you need to remember, my exhausted, medicated, terrified, panicked, and somewhat broken self:

You will get through this.


Sometimes you feel like this will be the time that you will not survive.

You will. 

In my heart, I know to trust myself, to believe in myself. To listen to myself. But I cannot fully hear because my mind, my body, it’s so full of noise. Of pain. So much doubt, worry, and, fear, drowning out my inner magic. My courage.

It’s still in there.

Be strong wildflower, even though you are afraid. You have come so very far. You are on a journey and not a mad dash to a destination. Sometimes, the destination isn’t even what the journey is about. And on this journey, even though at times you don’t feel it, especially right now, you are doing just fine. Trust in yourself and your ability to persevere, no matter how dark, uncomfortable, or scary this journey may be.

And although your body feels like a prison, do not lose hope. Keep struggling. One day you’ll see how worth the struggle all this was. You will wake to see another day, and you will wake to hundreds of tiny blessings. You’ll awake to your dogs wagging their tails, a kiss from the man you love, a conversation full of laughter with your best friend, a sunset that takes your breath away.

Don’t forget everything you still have in this moment of fear and despair.

Cry if you must.

Allow yourself a moment of grief.

Allow yourself a moment of fear.

Then let your tears wash it away, for now. For tonight. And allow yourself to rest.

Even the greatest warriors have their moments of weakness.

Just remember this too shall pass. And morning will come. And this will not be the last 3 a.m. you will find yourself on the bathroom floor, shaking, crying, screaming you can’t do this anymore.

But when it happens again, you’ll fight.

You will continue to do it, because you are stronger than any battle you are facing.

Especially when you don’t feel it. 

When you feel at your weakest – you are actually at your strongest.

It takes great courage to fight a battle that takes everything you have, and know that you will fight it again and again.

But to do it anyway. 

You are stronger than your pain, and your fear. And you are braver than you’ll ever realize.

And this 3 a.m. will not be the one that gets the best of you.

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Thinkstock photo by KatarzynaBialasiewicz

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