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Reading The Pain Away

My Mantra

My Mantra

I just read a wonderful post about why a woman chooses to read romance novels to get her through chronic pain. It moved me so deeply that I wrote the following comment in response. And I realized that this comment explains so much about me and who I am that I wanted to include it on my Passionately Written page. I want so much to tell my stories because I know somehow I will help someone else, as the writer of the linked post did for me. Please read her post as well:

http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/chronic-pain-and-coping-why-romance-novels-are-my-equipment-for-living

And this was my response to her:


Wow, Elyse…it’s like you lived a chunk of my life. I was a competitive figure skater until I was 17 years old. At 16, I had yet another skating injury, wrist tendonitis, but it wasn’t going away. It then went to my left wrist, and over the next 4 months went throughout majour parts of my body. While this went on, I experienced head pains that would bring me to my knees. After giving up skating to concentrate on my last year of high school, the pains were unbearable and I did much of my schoolwork at home. Tests, pleading with doctors, being ignored, and the phrase that stuck with me the worst was “It’s all in your head.” Yes, that’s right. The headaches are in my head. Now if you could fix them and give me my young athletic body back, I’ll be happy to leave.

A rotten year later, I heard from a muffled unbelieving voice that I had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. My “old English” doctor didn’t believe it, and I left unfulfilled and questioning what it all meant. Within a month, a neurologist told me I had “common migraines” which are bad headaches every day. Medications came and went over the next several years, little relief, and ulcers became my painful friend in my stomach. Needless to say, I sucked up the pain, got a job in retail, and became an insufferable workaholic for the next decade.

Age 29, I got married, pregnant with my daughter, and learned that the pregnancy was not a fan of Fibromyalgia. Most wonderful, and yet painful time of my working life. My daughter is about to turn 13 years old in a week, and I have spent that last decade of her life in constant pain, limping, crippled up some days, and have now been diagnosed with my third type of migraine. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t love the strength this pain has given me to become the strong person I am, but I hate it for denying my daughter the pleasure of running, playing, and some days even hugging without discomfort.

I have led a great life up to today, and I wouldn’t change anything because of what I might lose if I did. I’m a divorced single mom who homeschools my daughter with epilepsy. But I have given my daughter the love of reading, books, and writing as well. The adventures through the words on a page can give you the intelligence, emotions, and strength to make it through another bout of pain or depression. It is in many ways a prescription that can be filled infinitely and used as often as possible. I thank the books that I read, the authors that I review for, and the blogs that I write that allow me to stay in the comfort of my home with pain and depression, but I can still make differences to my daughter and the people I connect with online. Never has reading and writing meant so much to me than now, when disability comes knocking but it doesn’t have to rule my every moment.

Thank you so much for this post. I think it’ll become a post of my writing blog. Much love and healing thoughts.


Do you have anyone you know dealing with chronic pain or any other chronic health problem? How do you deal with the stress, pain, depression, etc? What are your go-to distractions from what you are dealing with?

Let me know your thoughts of what is Passionately Written…

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2 thoughts on “Reading The Pain Away

  1. When I was fourteen, out of the blue, I became sick with awful stomach pain. They called it acid reflux, and gave me many different pills to treat it. Nothing worked. I was referred to a psychiatrist, who gave me pills for depression, who referred me to a slew of other docs. I’ve been to many doctors (traditional and otherwise), and all they have come up with is fibromyalgia and IBS, which, both of those are what medical people call “waste basket diagnoses”, which means they are one size fits all- a lot of people with fibromyalgia have varying symptoms, and varying levels of pain. The only explanation that feels real to me is that there is a genetic predisposition to pain in my family history- lots of alcoholics, who may have been self medicating, and generally, picking themselves up by the bootstraps if they were in pain, and not talking about it (a family trait).
    For my pain, I have to keep active. I cannot eat ethnic foods, particularly Chinese and Mexican, or anything with a lot of spice. I take pills to sleep, but have shunned any more experimentation (many pills, like Lyrica, were horrible for me). I also don’t take prescribed pain pills- they make me feel sicker than I was without them. I also avoid corn at all costs, and in all forms- I’ve found I’m sensitive to it, and it cuts down on the stomach pain if I don’t eat it. Reading doesn’t necessarily help me, but it gives me something to focus on besides the pain, and provides escapism from everyday things and the stress I get from it. I also live mostly online, but try and go see my old friends in Montana every so often. I feel lucky to have them- they know if I’m not feeling well and don’t bug me about it.
    Thanks for sharing, Samantha- it’s nice to see other bloggers have pain issues too.

  2. Thanks so much for commenting, Litha. I, too, suffer from the horrible IBS. I miss going out to eat at restaurants because I never know if I’m going to find myself on the floor of a bathroom in a fetal position sick as a dog. It is amazing how pain can drag people down into very isolated places, and because they “don’t look sick” can feel very alone. I am meeting more and more people that work from home because they have to for health reasons rather than for ease and enjoyment. I miss being out with people, but sometimes that enjoyment is a risk too painful to take. Thanks for reading.

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