When You Can't Remember Life Without Pain

Do you ever wonder what the absence of something feels like? It’s common for people to describe a symptom to others by using descriptive words to convey it:

“My stomach ache feels like pins and needles with a dull ache akin to a pressure.”

“My headache is a throbbing feeling behind the eyes that pulses like something is hitting it with a hammer on the inside.”

We can feel other people’s pain when they describe it to us so vividly. We can take those words and imagine what it must be like, if only for a moment. But what about the absence of pain? Can you really truly imagine what that might feel like?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of what it would be like to live without pain. And it’s only then that I realize it’s been so long since I’ve been free of it that I can’t possibly imagine what it might be like. Words such as peaceful, calm, and blissful – they don’t do it justice. That doesn’t convey a feeling.

It’s strange, isn’t it…It’s so easy to feel other people’s pain, but yet we can’t feel or even imagine relief for our own selves. I imagine the lack of any pain might scare me at first. I think if I was suddenly given that gift that I would panic, or be on standby for the storm to come that I feel sure was lurking close by. Even now on my better days I am keenly aware that it is only temporary, and I’m very in tune with the fact that sooner, rather than later, it would be back. The storm is lying in wait, and after years of living in this cycle it has robbed me. It has robbed many of us the ability to imagine a life without it. It’s silently placed a fear in our hearts that when we achieve it, it could so easily be taken away. The joy and euphoria of good moments are slowly chipped away by our minds, stealing little pieces like a thief in the night.

That what a chronic illness can do to it’s victims. It goes after that fragment of the soul; the piece you have when you are a child and still inquisitive, naive, and look at the world like it’s a big safe place full of wonder and enchantment. Somewhere along the way of growing up we lose that deep inside of us. But I believe it’s still there as adults, hidden among all of life’s baggage. And that’s the part of our soul that makes us survivors when the bad times come. That’s the part that keeps us going. It’s the hope and wonderment of a life that can be lived carefree; free of being dictated by pills and schedules and dietary restrictions. It’s the dreamer inside all of us that gets us through the rough patches.

I vow to take the bliss of a good day and hold on tightly. I vow to stop and take a moment to really experience it, absorb it, memorize it. Every nuance of the day, every small way it makes me feel. I vow to breathe the moment in, let it envelop my soul and examine what that absence of pain is like…What that sensation really is. And then I vow to keep that moment locked away, clutched in my heart where no thief can take it away. Because that’s what will make me a survivor; that’s what will get me through the next wave of the storm that is lurking, just over the bend.

Follow this journey on Lady of Lyme.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Gettyimage by: tatyana_tomsickova

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Lyme Disease

woman smiling with the sun right behind her

Choosing to Be Visible in the Face of Lyme Disease

By Mikayla Vacher One of the hardest parts of being chronically “invisibly” sick revolves around image. I have been sick for over 10 years now and yet if you were to pass me in the street, you’d never have a clue of the challenges I face day in and day out. People don’t seem to comprehend that [...]
A couple walking down a road as rain falls own and they're covered by an umbrella.

The Truth About Love When You Have a Chronic Illness

My husband and I had what everyone in high school and college always told me never existed: A love so synchronous and symbiotic that we were in one moment, both the best of friends, and the deepest of lovers. There was never a time when we doubted the love of the other or felt that [...]
A tired and frustrated looking student sitting at her desk.

What It's Like Being an Ivy League Student With Lyme Disease

Eight a.m. My alarm blares. I wake up as exhausted as I was when I went to sleep. At least I slept last night. I sit up, fighting the sharp pain radiating down my back. Sunlight streams through my blinds, and I wince as it touches my eyes and stabs into my head like a [...]
"suffering the silence" painted on a woman's arms

How My Internship Gave Me Purpose While Living With Lyme Disease

When I became sick with Lyme disease in September 2015, my life was seemingly put on hold. I was forced to withdraw from college just 19 days into my freshman year. I didn’t have a job and my lack of stamina barred me from getting one. I was unable to care for myself, unable to shower [...]