Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Is It My Chronic Pain or Am I Just Getting Older?

When I think back 9 years, before chronic migraines and fibromyalgia became part of my everyday life, I can't help but be struck by vast differences. This is expected. Obviously living with chronic pain is very different from living without it. Then again, being a woman in her mid-20s is very different from being in the mid-30s.

These two transitions happened at the same time and have become so intertwined that I don't always know which changes to attribute to which transition. Some changes are obviously caused by my chronic pain, like my increased sensitivities to stimuli. However, many changes aren't clearly attributable to one or the other.

For example, I no longer want to be out past 8pm. Sure, part of the reason might be because being out any later than that would interrupt my schedule, which is an important part of controlling my symptoms. BUT, if I'm totally honest, a big part of the reason why I don't like to be out past 8pm is that I want to be home, in comfortable clothes, snuggling with my husband and my chihuahua. I want to relax with my family and get to bed at a reasonable hour more than I want to be out doing anything else.

I honestly feel like this could be attributed to either my chronic pain or my age - or it could be both. I can't tease out which. Then again, it really isn't important to. Honestly, I'm just glad that not all of the changes I've undergone in the past 9 years have been about unwanted loss. I'm still growing as a woman and a human being. What more can I ask?

Now that I've made the transition and have come to understand, accept and adjust to living with chronic migraines and fibormyalgia I have a new baseline for moving forward. As I gear up to transition into my 40s and eventually into my 50s, 60s and so on, I'll know future changes will be about aging.

And you know what? I'm actually looking forward to getting older. I loved being a teenager more than being a child. I loved my 20s more than my teens. I'm loving my 30s more than my 20s (despite the chronic pain). As far as I can tell, each year is better because each year I know more than before, I'm more comfortable with who I am and I feel more connected to the world around me.

For all of this, I am thankful.

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