A Letter To My Chronic Pain
Long time, no talk. Well, I mean, if we don’t include me cursing at you when you rear your ugly head; or my occasional begging for you to just go away. No, I never really take the time to sit down and tell you what you mean to me.
When you first came along, I thought that there was no way that I could live a functional life with you around. Joke’s on me, sometimes I can’t. Joke’s on you, usually I do. As we got to know each other through visits to the hospital, a pharmacy worth of medications, and the nights we spent awake together, I not only started to hate you. Yeah, in ways I began to hate myself too. I wondered what I had done, what I could have done, and of course, why me. Sometimes, I still do. When you come in hot at the worst times, when the pain approaches that line of me giving up, I still wonder how and why I ended up here.
Knowing you would be my lifelong companion was one of the toughest realizations for me. I never thought that one day I would get sick and never really get better. I couldn’t comprehend how I was supposed to live this way, and how there wasn’t a way to just “fix me”.
Because of my diagnosis, because of you, there have been times I wanted to give up. More than I can count and more than I’d like to admit. There have been times I’ve found myself in the shower, crying my eyes out. There have been times I’ve wondered if I should just be alone forever to avoid projecting my pain onto others. There have been times I have been at the point where you scare me, as I say I’d do anything to not be in pain anymore.
You have changed my life in many ways. You have made many days a gamble, a flip of a coin to determine if my day will be trashed. You have made me a professional at cancelling and rescheduling plans, a master at missing out. You have made attending doctors appointments one of my top talents, and explaining my situation, my skill. You have changed my life, pal, and you have changed me.
But don’t be fooled, you’re not all bad. Well, I guess you kind of are; but the way you’ve changed me and taught me isn’t. Because of you, I’ve learned that every “good day” should be appreciated. Don’t get me wrong, I still forget to do so. I’ve come to see the true beauty in the amazing people that stand by me at my darkest. Because of you, I’ve learned more about my health, and about my body. I’ve learned ways to cope, how to adapt, and what’s best for me. Because of you, I’ve grown to understand others that carry pain similar to the way I carry you, and to understand pain as a whole. I’ve made incredible connections and built friendships through the storms others and I share. Because of you, I’m learning that it’s okay to not be okay; but it is not okay to ever give up. I’m figuring it out along the way, and seeing how strong I truly am. Because of you, I’m a special kind of bad ass.
So thank you, friend of mine. Yes, a friend. Because accepting that you’re a part of me is part of fighting on. And fight on, I will. Always.
“I can be changed by what’s happened to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it”