A study done by the American Journal of Epidemiology (the branch of medical science concerned with the occurrence, transmission and control of epidemic diseases) stated that sitting more than 6 hours at a time raises your risk of death. The risk of death is even higher for people who don’t work out. Move my friends, even if it hurts now, it will help in the long run; people with chronic pain already have a shorter lifespan than the average person.
I believe with 100% certainty excessive sitting is what created the chronic pain within my body. Excessive sitting = degenerative disc disease = permanent nerve damage from my lower back all the way down to the tips of my toes = permanent chronic pain. I worked in a job for 30+ years where all I did was sit. I have never been in an accident nor taken a bad fall. However, I sat my entire working career. I did not exercise. Currently, I cannot sit more than a few minutes at a time. Bottom line, I did this to myself without knowing until it was too late!
The sunshine reminds me to strive for the brightest level of consciousness while remaining positive, looking for beauty in everything and believing in the greater good. The sunshine has a way of warming my thoughts and preserving a smile on my face. When I’m feeling down I take in as much sunshine as I possibly can allowing the light to inspire me.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine and the shadows will fall behind you.
- Walt Whitman
One of my favorite quotes by Eve Ensler is:
cherish your solitude. take trains by yourself to places you have never been. sleep out alone under the stars. learn how to drive a stick shift. go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. say no when you don’t want to do something. say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. decide whether you want to be liked or admired. decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here.
I love spending time alone, it’s when everything about me is in a calm state of being. It’s hard to follow my heart when other things get in the way. That’s why it’s important to have the confidence that allows me to hold my head high when I’m stand for something I believe in. The line in Eve Ensler’s quote about going so far away that you stop being afraid of coming back reminds me to never stop pushing myself. There are no limits as to how far I can go.
In our world there are so many places to go, to see, to explore and so many people to visit. Start thinking about whatever your next step into the world may be, while reminding yourself not only to set goals but achieve them. Make time to venture out and see the world. If you’ve always wanted to stand on a mountain top, visit a magical city or just spend time with family or friends, find a way to make it work. It’s never too late for anything. Just do it before it’s too late! I’m speaking from experience!
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.
- Jack Kerouac
I think part of the reason for this phenomenon is that a lot of people think that everything is dependent on physical pain that can be seen. The truth is the unseen physical pain is extremely overwhelming and devastating.
Sometimes just the fact that I can’t do anything makes me, well, pissed. As someone living with an invisible illness, I often feel like life is passing me by while I do little more than stare at my bedroom ceiling in silence. Try as I might, I cannot change the fact that I am limited in what I can do, the littlest things literally zap the little energy I have.
I keep seeing my team of doctors hoping for new answers, newer procedures and medications, however I can’t change the fact that I am in chronic pain, nor can I change the ability to do more in the way of activities. Believe it or not I have an extremely positive attitude considering the circumstances. Sometimes though being positive is easier said than done because the voice in my head still continues to say “Get up and do something, anything!”
My name is Dawn and for 30+ years I worked as a certified paralegal. As a result, I have taken my writing skills and have attempted to create an innovative blog hoping to offer the cutting edge of my personal journey all centered around slithering and clawing my way out of a dark chronic pain hell hole over the past 7+ years. I try to make my Blog humorous, informative, no-holds bared with an honest look at life with chronic pain.
A mysterious and mystifying force of nature is the wind. There are times in life where we tend to get stuck in one place forgetting there is an entire world right in front of our eyes. Our possibilities in life are endless if we allow ourselves to be swept away by the wind and be who we truly want to be!
Whisper your name to the wind. Ask the wind to take it to the end of the world.
– Yoko Ono
We tend to think of walking on water as a miracle. The real miracle is walking on earth. Every day with our own two eyes we may see a blue sky, white clouds, rain, snow, green leaves or the curious eyes of a child. All of these are miracles that we are engaged in and don’t recognize or acknowledge. Open your eyes to the miracles right in front of you and cherish them!
The paradox of pain is that it gives and takes. It’s a temperamental force that can either provoke or paralyze me. It wakens me to a magnetic awareness of the breath of life moving through me reminding me how precious life is.
Pain drives me to grab hold of my life with both hands and kicks in when I fight my hardest against it. I refuse to let pain beat me down even being bedridden.
Pain is not my enemy as I’ve found ways to live at peace with it. I by no means love pain, but I don’t hate it as hate requires energy I’d rather spend living my life.
It’s taken me a long time to see the beauty in chronic pain, the paradox of suffering.
My invisible crown represents my power to control my chronic pain. The power that gives me control over my life, that allows me to do whatever it takes to control my pain, that forces me to take time for myself, that allows me to help other people who live with an invisible illness and that allows me to make other people smile.
These are just a few of examples of the positive power and control in my life. By taking control of my chronic pain, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I find that my invisible crown appears out of nowhere when I need it most.
“Always Wear Your Invisible Crown” has become bit of a mantra for me. Not because I want to swan around like a princess, but because I am a fighter who has learned to survive chronic pain.
There is a certain stillness in nature; something about being out in the wild surrounded by what mother earth has created herself that feels like home. It is refreshing to see the world in its natural, peaceful, quiet state. A little moment of solitude surrounded by nature is all it takes to clear our minds and de-stress our bodies. One of my favorite things to do: Just sit, listen and watch the stillness of nature.
Life tends to be full of surprises as we pick up where we left off with one chapter or we start a new chapter in our lives. We never really know who we might meet or what might happen at any given time. Sometimes the best answer is to just roll with the punches.
We should always be aware of everything around us while expecting the unexpected. Great things come when least expected while the most special things in life can appear in places we don’t expect them to be. Just believe in magic and have the faith!
I was forced to escape, to make a run for it, to leave all the predictability and security in my life behind. I now look outside as raindrops descend slowly down the windows and I long to escape my life in chronic pain.
My message is simple. If you really want something, go for it! Celebrate all you can achieve in your life . . . while you can!
Trust your gut is a phrase that we’ve heard many times throughout our lives. Every moment life throws many different possibilities in our direction. Sometimes the choices we have to make just can’t be decided on reasoning alone.
The next time you get that little feeling in your gut, that little tingling, twinge or butterfly feeling that urges you to make a choice don’t overpower it with thought. Let it in, let it simmer, let it be while paying attention. Let it weave itself through what you are experiencing in your mind. Your gut may just be smarter than you think.
Every cloud has a silver lining
is a proverb usually used as encouragement to people who are overcome by illness and are unable to see any way forward. It is often said to people who are feeling down or depressed in an attempt to try to cheer them up.
This proverb comes from the way clouds look every so often. At times, clouds will have a dark appearance to them. Such clouds might look gloomy. However, if looking closely at the clouds during these times, we may be able to see the sun shining behind them. This can give the lining of a cloud a silvery colored look as if the edges of a dark cloud might look lighter than the rest of the cloud.
The idea for this proverb is that when things are looking dreary, there’s always a brighter side. The comparison is drawn from how dark clouds have a brighter side to them.
Tiny everyday acts literally zap my energy. My brain tells me every single morning that the first thing I should do is get up and take a shower, however my body fights me doing something that is so simple.
A shower seems so uncomplicated and basic yet it poses a major problem living in chronic pain. Showering is absolutely exhausting while the exertion is pure agony. A shower takes more energy than I ever could have imagined. Just lifting my arms to wash my hair is pure hell.
The serenity prayer says “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I CANNOT change, the courage to change the things I CAN and the wisdom to know the difference.” The difficulty comes in accepting the things I cannot change and knowing the difference. I am limited in what I can and cannot do however, I have accepted and embraced my limits, I have been granted serenity.
The very state of the word ease can bring our minds to a beautiful juncture as it is important to our mental and physical health. When we are at ease we learn to let go of everything mentally, physically, emotionally and just be.
Strive to feel at ease whenever possible. When we become stressed and our minds begin to race with worry, ease is of utter importance. Stillness can be found in stormy places. Always search for stillness and ease as they are the key to health and happiness.
Ease is what makes us fall in love with life, one breath at a time.
The concept of letting go of the past and the present is living in the now. It awakens our souls while allowing us to find true peace and happiness.
Our lives are filled with constant stimuli. Everywhere we look something is flashing in front of our eyes. Instead of trying to take it all in or block it all out it’s important to study the little things in our lives.
Paying attention to the detail of the little things that goes unnoticed helps us feel more connected to our surroundings and to ourselves.
I was diagnosed with neuropathy, permanent nerve damage, early on in my chronic pain journey. Neuropathy is a disease of my nerves, damage to my nervous system. My nerves were attacked and in my case the reasons are completely unknown. The protective layers surrounding my nerves themselves or the nerve cells were destroyed or eroded which leads to the term ‘short circuits’ in my nervous system. The signals that normally travel between my brain, spine, organs and limbs to enable normal function are disrupted, causing both erroneous instructions and strange and painful symptoms. It causes my nervous system to misfire and send constant signals to my brain that are interpreted as painful. The nervous system becomes overactive, causing intense burning, aching and chronic pain. This is just part of my journey!
There is imperfection in everything. It lives everywhere in our lives; a break, a crack, a fault. We all find imperfections at some point, even if it’s in the smallest of cracks. Imperfection is not bad, it’s merely room for growth.
A cracked window offers a dark room light where one can start to see where we are meant to go next. For those of us who acknowledge our imperfections we learn to appreciate the lifeline to which we cling. Within the light that does get in we feel a love so pure and outreaching, leading to a healing within ourselves.
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
– Leonard Cohen
Suffering from chronic pain means it is nearly impossible to get an uninterrupted good nights sleep. I am regularly shocked out of a sound sleep by a jolt of pain that makes me sit straight up in bed! In the dark I crave sleep. The lack of sleep intensifies my pain while my muscles ache and spasm and my nerve damage feels like my body is on fire. I feel an inherent tiredness that cannot be simply cured by sleep. I rest and rest and rest, get out of bed and WHAM! It’s back in all of its ugly glory. This leads me to a new word “Painsomnia” - a condition that occurs when pain is so severe you are unable to sleep.
We each have an infinite amount of strength, emotions and idiosyncrasies. The one thing we have in common with each other is an abundance of characteristics that disconnects each of us. It’s called creation. Each of us is a work of art. At birth we begin as a blank canvas. Little sprinkles of our lives cover our canvas as we grow. Each canvas is a beautiful piece of fascination, a mosaic.
We are mosaics — pieces of light, love, history, stars — glued together with magic and music and words.
- Anita Krizzan
It’s simply amazing what a difference a smile can make. A smile is one of the most positive expressions we as humans know how to do while having a fast, powerful and long-lasting impact. For something so contagious, it’s good we all smile in the same universal language.
Smiling is the best way to face every problem, to crush every fear and to hide every pain.
My story is one of a life changed by chronic pain. It was difficult for me to originally share my life living in chronic pain however, my blog findingmyinnercourage is based on my life living with an invisible illness.
My lower back all the way down to the tips of my toes gradually began throbbing in pain. I ignored the signs and symptoms. The resulting situation is abnormal because I absolutely, positively had no injury. More than frustrating is the lack of clarity about my diagnosis coupled with the absence of a diagnosis thus far.
The pain in my lower back worsened rapidly until approximately 3+ years ago when I became primarily bedridden. I spend 80% of my time on a daily basis bedridden with extremely brief periods of time standing or sitting. I cannot stand upright or sit for more than 15 minutes at a time due to chronic pain. The deep vice-like stabbing, burning pain is constant, never leaves and is unbearable 90% of the time.
My medical resume is disappointingly extensive. The closest thing I have to a diagnosis is degenerative disc disease which caused permanent nerve damage which caused chronic pain. Fibromyalgia, Lupus and Lyme disease have been ruled out. The unbelievable frustrations from these failed medical pursuits have done more harm than good. Battling pain like this day after day without a clear explanation or any promise of relief is mind-boggling.
I also suffer from grief pain. Grieving the loss of being able to clean my house, cook, dining out, grocery shopping or shopping in general, a walk, trips to visit my children and family, exercising and showering are just a few. Forcing myself to do anything outside my bed results in being tortured by pain for several days after. I amaze myself with everything I have learned to do being bedridden. It is unavoidably trying both physically and emotionally.
Also unavoidable, my frequent attempts to downplay my pain for the sake of self-misery remains. If someone would have told me what my life would have been like these last 7+ years, I would have said that it would be impossible. It would have taken more grace to endure than I could conceive.
I have learned through blogging many travel with the companions of sorrow and suffering on their life’s journeys, both visible and invisible pain. So many much greater than mine. My faith has been strengthened by joining others journeys through suffering which makes me feel not so alone.
I pray someone following “My Story” will find encouragement and hope for “Their Story.”