The more comfortable I feel about opening up about chronic pain, the more I realize just how many people have already done so. And as much as it is an inspiration to know I am not alone in this, I can’t help but feel inadequate like there’s no point in me talking about it, but it’s a lie filling me with doubt about my own self-worth. To make matters worse, I feel guilty and ashamed at myself for even thinking my chronic pain story isn’t worth telling . . . as if my chronic pain story isn’t valuable . . . as if my life is meaningless and worthless. Another lie. The more I peer into another’s life with chronic pain, the more I feel like a fraud. I look at their seemingly perfect chronic pain living lives making something out of themselves, then there’s me. Not really understanding my purpose or calling in life. Not really doing anything in particular, at least it feels that way. And not really amounting up to anything. Again, all lies. I’m tired of feeling this way. I’m tired of feeling hopeless and feeling like I have nothing to contribute to society. I’m tired of feeling like it’s-already-been-done-before-I-have-nothing-else-to-offer lies. The more people I find speaking up about it, the further I find myself sinking into myself.
Comparing myself to others seems to be a recurring theme. I’m in awe at how people do it. I’m in awe at how much pain they are in and are still able to make an effort to pursue a career or do any kind of work at all. I’m in awe at how many people in chronic pain are able to make a living. I’m in awe and I feel guilty about my own status and my own life. Wow, they live in chronic pain too and they are still living their lives. Wow, this person has had way more surgeries than me, I’ve only had two – I can’t imagine having more than two surgeries, they must have it much worse than me. Wow, their pain cripples them as much as me, and yet they have the energy to get shit done whereas here I am always finding myself on bed rest, lacking in motivation, procrastinating, not getting shit done, not living my life the way I want to, and glued to a damn screen watching countless of hours of TV and rotting my brain. WOW – I can’t take it anymore. Honestly, this is exactly the reason I feel so hopeless. And a feeling creeps up on me every now and then about me being better off dead. I know – lies. ALL LIES!
I know I tend to be overly dramatic when it comes to things like this, but I do feel inadequate and sometimes I do feel like I will never amount to anything or that I’m a huge burden to others and shouldn’t even exist. It’s a feeling that wavers within me somehow lingering and always there, but mute, and sometimes rises to the surface. I feel like I’m nothing but a housewife, but sometimes I can’t even do that right. My one job, gender aside. If you walk into my house, you’ll assume it’s clean. Everything has a home and a place to put things. I like to keep my house somewhat clean, neat, and organized. What you don’t see is when did I clean it last or what’s behind closets or ottoman storages. And that’s the thing about being the one at home all the time, like the least I can do for my working husband is to maintain a clean home. I find myself lacking severely in energy. No energy to clean and no energy to prepare meals. I love the days where my energy is high, where I have energy to cook, clean, dance around and be merry, and do everything I want to do in a day, but they don’t come by as often as I’d like and sometimes I overexert myself to the point of bed rest the very next day and all I can think about is the overwhelming pain withering through me, sucking all life and energy out of me. So, yes, I feel inadequate. Yes, I feel like a burden and often times a failure. And yes, sometimes I even feel like all I can do is sit around waiting to die. The more time I spend on bed rest or watching TV to distract myself from pain, the more lazy I feel and I tell myself how lazy I am when in reality, I am physically, emotionally, and mentally drained.
And for some reason, I keep thinking, “how do I compete with people who are living with chronic pain and doing something with their lives?” BUT that’s backwards thinking. It’s not a competition. And comparing your journey to another’s is unfair. Whatever you’ve felt in the past, whatever you feel now, all your pain, all your grief, and all you’ve endured are all valid. Just because their story is different than yours, just because their story may be longer and more treacherous, doesn’t make your story any less traumatic.
Each journey is different. Our journey’s are based on individual experiences. They’re based on how we handle situations, how we respond to things rather than react, and how we think, feel, and act. Not to mention, our individual relationships from our family to our friends and everyone in between. Everything in your past, whoever came and went, whoever stayed, whatever happened to you, good and bad, they are all a part of you. In the end, it all comes down to mindset and in what you believe to be true. You can’t compare your life to someone else’s because not a single soul has the same path as you. Your story holds value because your life, even if you feel insignificant, is solely and uniquely yours. It doesn’t matter where you are in life, you wouldn’t be who you are today without the good, the bad, and the ugly of yesterday. Likewise, you will not be who you see yourself becoming tomorrow, if your efforts don’t align with your goals.
And even if your story of chronic pain happened earlier in life or much later, it doesn’t matter, because no one has and ever will have the same exact experiences you have or will have. And that is what makes for an incredible story. Even if you don’t suffer from a chronic illness or chronic pain, even if you didn’t have much hardship or much pain at all, you wouldn’t be who you are today without the events playing out in your past. I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. You exist today because you have something to offer. You have something to share. A story that is well-deserving to be heard.
Let’s embrace each other and support one another. Instead of tearing each other apart and trying to one up each other as if life is some kind of competition, let’s build each other up. It’s all too easy to let our own insecurities rise to the surface, but together we might be able to help those in need, inspire others to speak out about their own story. Life is about experiences and sharing those experiences to the next generations. In hopes of not only creating a better future, but also a better you.
So, what’s your story? I’d love to hear from you.
I hope you don’t believe the lies you tell yourself.
You are worthy. You are loved. You are valuable. You are here for a reason, you just need to find it.