Much like the author of this wonderful piece, I have lived with chronic pain for many years. It has been a daily struggle for me for the past twenty years or so. I know how tough the battle is. I came across this article on http://www.Positive365.com and contacted the writer to see if I could post it on my blog, as she said so many things about living with chronic pain better than I can. Here is her story…
Finding perseverance and positive thoughts through chronic pain
By DONNA NOLL STOTHFANG (Oct 17, 2013)
One random day, I noticed I had a headache. It was a dull, throbbing pain in my forehead. Over a few days, the pain progressively escalated. It ran up to the top of my scalp, moved in and spilled its nasty guts all over my head. That pesky pain has been living rent-free in my head for 14 years now.
For a long time, there was nothing good about it. On a better day, it was an annoying nag. On a bad day, it was a relentless bitch. On no day did I get a break. When the pain started, I was 36 with a husband, small children and a lot of big plans for my life. I dreamed about getting all of my ducks in a row while dotting all of my ‘i’s and crossing all of my ‘t’s, so I could enjoy a sweet life. The pain shot holes in the ducks, the ‘i’s and the ‘t’s. I had moved so far from positive that negative was now keeping house with pain, and making a sloppy mess of what had appeared to be normal, fully functioning life.
But somewhere down the road, I noticed something good in the midst of all of the pain. It was small−barely pea sized−but it was there. I was no princess, but this tiny pea hidden under years and years of pain began rubbing me the right way. That little pea could talk and was saying things like: “Have you noticed that you raised your kids, all three of them?” “Did you notice they are not juvenile delinquents?” “And how about that husband? He’s still around!”
My tiny pea became my biggest supporter, reminding me daily what I had accomplished, despite the constant headache pain. I should have been on Oprah talking about my secret addiction to Oxycontin. Instead I was a scout leader, worship band singer and life coach, all while being a wife, mother and friend. I cried bitter tears on many days, was cranky, depressed and hopeless on most of the others. But generally, I tried really, really hard to be kind to those around me. I won’t pretend it didn’t strain my marriage, but straining isn’t breaking. It severed some friendships and impeded others from flourishing, but I did celebrate my 50th birthday with seven close friends. So it seems this pea has been rubbing me the right way, with positive thoughts!
And here’s another one: Perseverance. For a long time I didn’t feel very positive, but I did have perseverance. I believe perseverance is a precursor to positive feelings. Some people are waiting for their minds to change so they can then have what it takes to accomplish what they want and feel good about their lives. But really, the first step has nothing to do with feeling good. It has everything to do with perseverance. Human beings were made to work and create. And that’s what we need to do even when we don’t feel like it. More times than not, a person will begin to feel better just because she’s moving. Since moving is, well, moving, you never know where it might take you.
I kept moving to find a solution to my chronic pain. I’m not pain free, but I am better than I used to be, and that’s because I kept moving. One practitioner led to another, which led to yet another, and each one has been part of my healing journey. Everyone has a journey, no matter the circumstances, and continuing to actively stay on the journey is going to provide a better result than sitting on a rock on the side of the road.
Sometimes, though, the rock is the best we can do. I get it. I’ve been on that rock. But when you are willing, stand up and start moving a little bit. Just a little. And then a little more. Even if you don’t feel like it, as long as you a willing to move a bit, do it. And if you are someone who feels good and has that natural sunny disposition, enjoy it and use it for good. You can help hold the space for someone who is struggling.
I’m still waiting for the pain to take the down escalator and exit my head, but until then I will sometimes need a friend to hold the positive space for me. Someday I hope to feel so well that positive becomes my natural state all the time. But the pea-that-rubbed me-the-right-way says, “You don’t have to be perfect! Any amount of positive helps you and helps the world.”
And when I am feeling bad, I’ll try really hard to be kind to those around me. That is a positive thing indeed.
[Donna Noll Stothfang is a wife, mother, life coach and writer. She works out of her home in Cincinnati, Ohio. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.]