I have spent a long time navigating the waters of chronic pain… feeling like shit and not knowing why. And because doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me, I concluded it must all be in my head. I began listening to various positive thinking gurus and found I could believe myself well. I meticulously scanned emotional pain charts in search of answers as to why I hurt all the time and how I was thinking my pain into reality. I invested much time and energy into creating a healthy reality for myself.
After a few years of suppressing as many negative thoughts as possible and trying to visualize myself “whole”, my idea of wellness had not manifested and I gave up on ever feeling “normal” again. The chronic pain continued to ebb and flow and I resigned myself to living with things as they were. I felt like I had done something wrong, it was my fault and that I’d somehow failed spiritually.
I did what I could with over the counter meds and some diet changes and I kept process painting and writing – working with it all creatively. As I let things unfold on the page, many of my beliefs began to unravel. I began to believe that maybe this wasn’t my fault and that it was okay if I had negative thoughts sometimes because… I was human. I began to create a new idea of healing anchored in a strong belief that I had to discover my own way through this. I started listening to and respecting myself more – loving what I had initially perceived to be the broken and unlovable parts of me. And I acknowledged and took care of my pain because it was real and had begun taking up a bigger portion of my life. I also started to experiment with self care and what that meant for me.
Last month after receiving new health insurance, I went to a doctor who listened to me and ran tests that no one else had. It turns out there are solid reasons for my pain and general feelings of sickness. It was empowering for me to find out exactly what was going on and to feel I had been heard.
I tell you this not to gain your pity or to put down one way of healing vs. another. I am sharing this because it is a story of success. I am finding my own way of healing and discovering that healing can happen on my terms and in my own time and doesn’t have to look like someone else’s. I am succeeding in finding my way to a new normal that includes cultivating unconventional self – love for the darkest parts of me and practicing monumental acts of self care.
And I want to share this new realization – I can feel sick and in pain and still be gloriously whole and breathtakingly powerful.