Monday, February 8, 2016

I Want My Life To Be About More Than My Pain

So here's the thing- I want my life to be about more than my pain. I don't want to just be known as that sick woman. I don't want to be consumed day in and day out with pills, pain, doctors and trigger management. I feel like it's important to have goals that I'm working towards. After all, I'm still the same layered person I was before chronic pain. I still have a variety of interests and issues that I'm passionate about and even dreams for the future.

So here's the problem - I AM living with chronic pain. In fact I'm living with 3 chronic pain conditions. There is no pause button I can push while I pursue other things. No way to get a vacation from dealing with the daily chores of managing them. I have to take my pills and manage the prescriptions. I have to manage my activity level, being careful not to overdo it on a day when my pain is low and pushing myself to still do things even when my pain is high. Everything I want to do, outside of my normal routine, has to be carefully planned to limit my exposure to triggers and the extent of pain I experience after.

So often it just feels like my whole life revolves around my pain. I know this is how it has to be but I do wish I could find a way to let more things in. Turns out chronic pain is a very time consuming business. Actually, it's also a very exhausting business. Making matters worse, often it can look a lot like nothing at all.

As I sit here thinking about the path I'm on right now I can't help but think there is something universal about what I'm feeling. I can imagine healthy women my age struggling with the same thing - a life that seems to be defined by a circumstance to the exclusion of a more complex and whole self. Maybe some women my age have focused on their careers and feel like they may have missed out on family stuff or other interests. Maybe some women my age find themselves feeling like they have started to lose their identity to motherhood.

Maybe all I, or any of us, can do is to try to live as balanced a life as we can given the parameters of our reality.

I guess, in some way, I've been able to still set goals and work toward them. I always have projects that I'm working on. I crochet, I sew, I bake, I attempt to grow stuff in containers during the summer... These are all great distraction from the pain but these are not the things I imagined I would be doing at my age.


  1. Me too! I am not living the life I had imagined for myself. Maybe at 92, but not at my age! I agree completely... 'I want my life to be about more than my pain.', more than '...a life defined by circumstances to the exclusion of a more complex and whole life.' The world seems to identify me as 'the girl with the migraine'. Honestly, there are things I'd rather be remembered for.
    I will heed your advice to ' as balanced a life as we can given the parameters of our reality.' Reality is a b***h that way, we can't really get around it.
    I had to give up growing stuff in containers on my balcony though. I think even if I was the picture of health and vivacity, I'd still fail at gardening. I've accepted that and moved on:)
    Thank you for sharing and so articulately putting words to my feelings. Whether we know it or not, none of us are alone in our pain.
    I hope today's a good day for you. Linda

    1. Thank you so much Linda! I hope today is a good day for you too :)

  2. I totally understand where you're coming from. I definitely feel some of the same things. Sending good thoughts your way.

    1. Thanks Maia! I really appreciate your support :)

  3. Yep, I'm right there with you. Having projects helps, but this small, quiet, difficult life is not at all what I expected. Though I hadn't thought about it being comparable to other people losing themselves in parenting or their jobs... thanks for the perspective. :)

  4. Hi I've found art on my bad days you can see how my art work changes then when I'm in ok not to bad day my art is bright light colourful. I paint stones and put different feelings on them and dot them round the garden . I do ilumanus paint on plant pots so they bright at night and makes me feel good . Everyday I do at least one postie thing that I can look at and think we'll the pain did not stop everything .X X X