Hello. My name is El. It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a pain-free day. And I can’t do this anymore.
That’s how I imagine an AA-like group for people with chronic pain conditions would start.
For me, this can be a whole range of things. It’s my relationship with Oz. It’s waking up in pain every morning. It’s my academic career. It’s speculating about the future. It’s even as simple a thing as showering or doing laundry.
Sometimes, I just want to eject.
Because most days I feel like I am in a dunking booth. Like the ones they have at carnivals. I never know which throw or this that is going to send me crashing into the dirty water below. Some days it seems like no one can knock me down. Until someone does. Then I’m wet and cold and underwater. Sinking. And once I do get back up, I have to sit there, until things get better. Until I dry off. Until people stop throwing things at me.
My friend Red told me that I need to just let it go and not think about it. It was kind of hard to listen to her, when I was mentally underwater. But then she told me the secret to her zen-like state.
“Focus on 3 things you want out of this life. Only let one of those things depend on someone else. And work, everyday, towards those things. Some days I am failing miserably at 2 of my 3 goals. But as long as I am doing all right with one of them, I know I am moving forward. And that’s what matters.”
I couldn’t get that out of my head all night. I guess the fear of imminent failure kept getting in the way of setting my 3 goals. But then I came across this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:
“True credit goes to the one who makes mistakes, who fails but little by little gets things right, because there is no effort without mistakes. He knows great enthusiasm and deep devotion, and spends his energy on something worthwhile. That is the true man, who in the best of hypothesis will know victory and conquest, and in the worst of hypotheses will fall, yet even in his fall he is great, because he has lived with courage and stands above those small-minded souls who will never know victory or defeat.
Hello. My name is El. It’s been almost a year since I’ve had a pain-free day. And I can’t do this anymore. I’m worried about the effort it takes to make mistakes. And I’m hoping, little by little, that I’ll get things right.