Why I Don't Have a Choice But to Manage My Pain
Choices are a very important part of life. When a person feels like they have choices, they often feel empowered, hopeful, creative and inspired. Buying a car, a home, clothes for work, and even groceries, are choices that we make to express who we are, where we have been and where we are going. A choice to have a career, make a job change, go back to school, join a club or group, travel and raise independent and compassionate children. They are all choices that makes us feel like a part of society, like we have control and opportunity to gain stability in our lives. Choices bring growth and change.
When a person struggles with a chronic pain condition, they often lose many choices they once had. Or they may never have had many choices to begin with.
Think about this, really think about this. You have dreams, goals, desires and needs. You are an individual with a unique personality.
But, pain has changed you. Pain is there when you wake up, stays with you all day and is tucked into bed with you at night. It is your demon and closest friend. It is there when you have to go shopping, go to work, have a shower, play with your kids, brush your hair, watch TV, learn something new, go on a date…the list goes on. Your demon is always there.
You have been to countless doctors, had zillions of tests, maybe you have a diagnosis and maybe you don’t. Either way….you have a chronic pain condition and your demon has now become a part of you, all you do, think and feel. Your demon demands attention, sucks out your energy and willpower, works hard to prevent your goals and dreams. It strips away your choice to have a pain-free life, to do activities that may tax your mind and body, to take on challenges, to try new things and to experience all facets of who you are and who you dream to be.
You feel left with no choices. No choices to feel optimistic, empowered, creative and hopeful. No choices to grow, change, and be inspired.
Giving in seems to be the way to go. Stay in bed, beg others to take care of draining tasks, quit your job, withdraw from friends and plead with the kids and family to give you time to rest and be alone with your demon.
Is that really an option? Can you make the world go away and allow your demon to consume you? Have you become your chronic pain condition?
Most of us cannot. None of us should.
When no choice is the only choice you have.
You want to have a career, spend time with you family, be a part of society, dream, chase goals and live…just live. Your chronic pain will be there no matter what. Your demon is a part of you. It’s a part of you, not the whole you.
You have no choice. To be you – be what you want to be, do what you want to do, go where you want to go and feel what you want to feel and live the life you want to live with your demon.
I have fibromyalgia, which is believed to be a disorder of the central nervous system that causes the affected to feel everything heightened. We feel all activity as an injury to our body. Emotions are intense, hot and cold is intense, food we eat has a strong effect on our stomach, hormones and bowels, our joints and muscles ache all day, everything causes over-exertion and fatigue is always there, our legs cramp, writhe and twitch at night, a good, refreshing sleep is a mythical concept. The list goes on and on. No matter our age, we feel like we have one foot in the grave and are holding on for dear life.
I am a single mom to four children from ages 15 to 23, I have a son with multiple disabilities, I just published my first young adult fantasy novel, and I raise and train dogs. I am in my final year of a bachelor of arts (psychology degree program), I am a blogger, I run a household, and I am in pain literally 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
I see many doctors who usually shove me off, I get blood work, X-rays and MRIs. I deal with new symptoms all the time; the latest is my growing thyroid nodules and bulging discs in my spine. I record my son’s fibromyalgia, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, autism and low vision symptoms. I take notes on how it impacts him daily, and pray I am supporting him to be independent and safe while I support my other children with their stage in life.
Countless people ask me:
“How do you do it?”
“How do you manage all what you have in your life with chronic pain and crazy symptoms?”
Funny. They ask like I have a choice.
I usually blurt out some inspirational answer of how I am a tough cookie, won’t be broke, find motivation in the little things every day.
But really, I have no choice.
I want to be a fantastic mom and raise compassionate and independent children. I want to write books and blog my experiences. I want to have friends and experiences that help me grow and learn. I want to graduate and move on to a new career. I want to train and enjoy time with my dogs. I want a clean, comfortable home. I want to investigate my son’s and my health to find ways to support us in living a better and less painful life.
I want to live.
So, I have no choice.
Follow this journey on Author Elizabeth Eckert.
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