How to live life with chronic pain
My connection with my body comes and goes; it ebbs and flows. After a decade of fighting against this human form, I’m finally settling into my skin and getting comfortable with myself. I haven’t truly been in my body for the last five years. It’s like I’d disconnected from the neck down. I logically knew my body was there, but during the day I never really noticed energy in my lower half… it felt numb and outside of me, even though I could still feel things. It’s hard to describe in words, but I think it’s something you understand when you’ve felt it.
Disconnecting from my body was what I had to do to survive the last five years. It was how I was able to get through living with chronic pain almost everyday. After an intense year of doing so. many. things. to nurture my body, it seems like I’ve finally found a combination of treatments, practices and rituals that have significantly healed both my body and mind. While I still have pain many days, it’s become less intense most of the time and I often have time with no pain at all. I’ve been able to start moving my body again each day, starting many days with yoga, going for longer walks, standing more during the day. I’m beginning to be able to feel the intricacies of my muscles moving when I stretch, the energy pumping when I walk outside, how much better my body feels as it’s getting stronger. I never got why people loved working out before; now I do.
Another big thing is my perspective on the pain (& life in general) has shifted so much that I no longer have fear or despair around the pain. I know now that I can still create a great life even with pain. I do a lot to take care of my body now, and I’ve finally found practitioners that I vibe with. Chiro, massage, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, and floats are a regular part of my schedule. I focus just as much on my energetic body as my physical one, working with shamans, witches and energy healers along with my own meditation and spiritual practices. Since I can now sense how my body is actually feeling, I can feel what happens when I put food in my body. Does it nourish me, give me energy, make me light and sparkly or does it slow me down? Turns out the answer changes every time, so I’ve started eating very intuitively and asking my body what it wants and needs. My relationship with my body is now strong enough that she actually has a chance to be heard and have her needs met, and she’s reciprocating by causing me less pain.
When I have moments without pain, I’m able to appreciate and enjoy them instead of worrying about when the pain will return. I know that even if it does, I will be fine. I now know that cannabis will get almost any pain under control for me, so I’m not afraid of hurting because I know I can do something to stop it. Feeling in control in that way has opened up an entire life I had stopped thinking was possible for me. I’m slowly starting to get back into activities I used to love because I’m not scared to leave the house anymore. I trust my body to be able to do what I would like it to do, as long as I go gently, take care of my body, and respect where I’m at that day. Perhaps most importantly, I trust myself to be able to take care of myself and to know what to do even I do get overwhelmed with pain.
It took time for all of these practices to work. I’m talking doing well over a year. But when I was looking at being in pain the rest of my life, a year seems like nothing. I share my story with the intention that if you’re feeling lost in the darkness, it gives you a little hope. Things might not change overnight, but they will change. It can be hard to not give up hope, but you can’t see how all the little decisions you make moment to moment create your future. All you can do is make the best possible decision for you, in that moment, with the intention that you are healthy, happy and whole.