Tag Archives: questions

A New Year

2013 didn’t turn out like anything I expected. It did have it’s wonderful, memorable events: beautiful weddings, cute babies, lots of laughter, exciting travels, new friendships, etc. But there were also many tears, one too many scary moments, angry words, and difficult questions to ask with not many answers. As with any passing year, what should we do with it? Part of me only wants to remember the happy moments and to shove the rest into the closet, never to think about them again. However, we all know that’s not a healthy response. I wrote a post last year about the stages of grief and I truly believe that for each year one should celebrate the happy moments, big & small, but also to grieve the losses. This includes addressing the fears, which might continue into the new year. 2014 has its own unknowns. We can either fear them or accept their existence. I’m not saying that we have to like them but we do have to come to terms these fears & unknowns in order to keep moving forward.

I am slowly learning that the life with chronic pain or with autoimmune diseases comes with many unknowns. We might receive conflicting diagnoses from doctors or just generic diagnoses that leave you in a state of what the heck am I supposed to do with that. I firmly believe that we need to learn how to enjoy the times of remissions, no matter how short, and how to have peace when symptoms worsen or new ones appear. One very important lesson I’ve learned in the past is that there are always new treatments, exercises, skills, etc. which we can try to see whether or not they will ease our symptoms or decrease the pain. I plan on continuing to seek them out this new year and encourage you to do the same.

I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions probably because I find them difficult to keep 😛 But I wanted to share a few of mine for 2014 with you (Warning! They are very simple and not at all grandiose.) :

  1. To take one day at a time
  2. To celebrate the small successes
  3. To be gracious and patient with myself on the good days but especially on the ones when symptoms increase or new ones appear
  4. To have an attitude of gratefulness, especially for life’s small gifts

I could wish for you less pain and decreased symptoms this new year. But I would rather hope you have the will to fight for your health each day, to be at peace during the confusing and difficult periods, and find joy in the small, beautiful moments of life.


Is There a Reason for Chronic Pain?

When I initially read this blog post, I didn’t consider “reblogging” it. However, I found myself reading it again. The more I thought I about it, the more I realized how much the chronic pain community needs to hear this. In Scott Williams’ blog post, he talks about the phrase “Everything happens for a reason,” and how nonsensical and unhelpful it is. For the chronic pain community, in my opinion, this phrase is absolutely ridiculous. Doctors, even after a couple thousand years of studying the human body, still don’t understand what exactly happens in the nervous system when a person experiences chronic pain. They can’t tell you what causes chronic pain or where in the nervous system is the problem. They can’t even give you an exact time line on how long rehabilitation will take. Then we start questioning ourselves. Right? Why me? Why now? All you end up with is mascara running down your face and your hair in a matted mess. Or, you jump on that depreciating Merry-Go-Round ride of the “Could’ve-Should’ve-Would’ve,” and at the end, the only thing you can do is to keep yourself from puking. So, do we just give up on life? Throw in the towel. Should we put on our favorite sweats & t-shirt, grab some Cool Ranch Doritos, and morph into a couch potato? I hope you already know the answer to this, but I will say it anyways: NO! I will repeat myself: NO! So, what are we to do? In order to answer that question, here’s a little snippet of my personal history with chronic pain. A couple years back, I was very, very ill with chronic pain and also quite depressed. I was angry and bitter with God, myself, my parents, life, everything, and anything. It was at that point I realized that I could either wallow in pain and misery and end up making things worse, or I could grit my teeth and come to terms with my situation. I humbly realized that no good would come out of continuing to deny reality or defining chronic pain as something other than what it really was. Mind you this was not a flippant, easy, 1-2-3 process for me but was a several month process. However, that period was quite healing for me, more emotionally and spiritually than physically. As many of us already know, life with chronic pain is an endless roller coaster with highs and lows, twists and turns. I have more “blue” days than I care to admit, but I choose to put a smile on my face everyday and keep a positive, hopeful attitude. Hope, joy, and peace have replaced the anger and bitterness. I still have unanswered questions, even more than I started with a couple years ago. I know in this life I will not have all the answers, and I’m learning to accept that. So, I encourage you to read the following blog post. Then, take an honest look at your circumstances, accept reality, and continue with life!

English: Nyamata Memorial Site, skulls. Nyamat...

It’s called a cognitive distortion. We all have heard it, probably most of us believe it. We aren’t sure where it came from. It’s in the bible somewhere or the Dali Lama said it. Everything does happen for a reason.

Tell that to the six million jews who died in World War Two. Or the twenty-five million Russians who perished fighting the Nazis. Tell that to the children born in Mogadishu, or in starvation conditions in Africa. Tell that to the Tutsi’s hacked to death in Rwanda, or the genocide victims in The Congo.

“Everything happens for a reason” is a western, affluent, construct. It is a convenient and heartening way to explain away pain and suffering but it is, unfortunately, not based on any legitimate philosophy and it hurts people. It reminds me of my friend who was told, after his child died, that “God must have wanted another…

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