From Chronic Pain to Health: the Transition Nobody is Talking About

There are sick people, healed people and people in between.

When talking to people and browsing blog you will meet many people who are sick: suffering from a chronic disease or several, lack energy, overweight or perhaps underweight, lacking energy, dealing with emotional issues, mental illnesses and simply put, suffering in their bodies, minds and soul. They want out and they want to heal.

Then there are the people who are searching for their answers. They are on a healing journey. Perhaps they found some answers and they are continuously feeling better and better. They are healing or at least controlling their issues. They likely have increased hope and increasing life quality.

Then there are the healthy ones. Maybe they were always healthy: lucky genetics, always a good diet, the right exercise and overall care. (Or otherwise they only seem healthy but only not yet sick.) Maybe they had a health condition before, perhaps they were incredibly ill, maybe nearly dead before, but have found the right diet, right exercise, right attitude, right life-style, right support, did and doing the hard work and are now healthy. Healing is a life-long process, but they are more in the maintenance phase and the phase of creating even more amazing health from good health. They have high life quality, good health, more happiness, more self-confidence: they are feeling good.

When you talk to someone from this last group or read their blogs you may feel jealous or may feel inspired: their life is (now) perfect. They eat the right diet. They exercise. They have awesome relationships. They love their jobs and often in the helping profession. They are vibrant. They are always energetic. They are perfect or damn near to it. They are an example and inspiration. They are hope. You want to be them so damn badly.

I used to have chronic pain for years. I have emotional trauma from abuse, bullying and a bunch of other issues. I did not have the easiest life (though surely there is always someone suffering more, it is not a game of comparison!). Now I am a the health and life coach behind HappyHealthy365. I must be just damn happy, healthy and perfect all the time, right? Wrong! I have written about not being perfect so I will not repeat myself.

But there is one thing no one talks about: what happens after healing?

So you don’t have chronic pain anymore. You are not depressed. You do not have an eating disorder. You do not have anxiety. You are not overweight. You are health physically, emotionally and spiritually. You are happy in mind, body and soul.

That is just awesome.

As said, there is always something to work on: challenges come up, life is not perfect, you are not perfect, healing is life-long, health and happiness is conscious and continuous work.

Still, your quality of life is better. Your general being is happy and healthy. You are pain-free. A lot has healed and everything else is healing. For the most part it is all good and the rest is just life that now you can deal like a champ.

But how do you really deal with being healthy? How do you deal with from going sick to healthy?

For one, I lived my entire life abused then dealing with the trauma of abuse, deep depression, some anxiety, anger issues, problems with eating disorders, some self-harm and so on.

Aside from the emotional, I dealt with chronic physical pain for 5.5 years of my life. (Ok, actually I had frequent headaches since I was 10-12, but I will not count it until it became my life every minute. If I counted the frequent headaches – 2-4 days every 3-6 weeks – I would talk about 20 years of chronic pain actually.) Chronic hip pains taking me out of my beloved running for about 2.5 – 3 years. Chronic, non-stop, deliberating headaches for 4.5 years. Chronic should and neck pain for 2 – 3 years (along with the headaches). Frequent nausea (along with the headaches) for 4 – 5 years (and with most headaches before). Lower back pain for over a half a year. Yes, there was overlap.

My quality of life sucked. Trying to teach a class, but being not there for your students and being nearly unable to read from the book, hear their words, then eventually quitting. Constantly canceling appointments and avoiding friends due to the pain. Being uncertain how I actually managed to get home. Being in so much pain that I hate to sit down or even curl up on the curb of the road before continuing my walk home. Walking up for some amazing view in Naples, but feeling dizzy and nauseous along with the headache and actually closing my eyes while trying to push myself to walk. Almost getting hit by a car as result. Having a picture standing on the top of a hill with a volcano and a beautiful view in the background, yet not remembering the scenery but only the pain. Having the experience of pain attached to every amazing experience I had: often only remembering the pain and looking at the experience on photos without having much of a recollection of it. Numbing yourself with mindless movies. Being unable to sleep from the pain yet being unmotivated to do anything. Spending a summer in bed while others enjoying the beautiful summer in one of the most amazing cities, Barcelona. Being called a liar regarding your pain. Being misunderstood. Having to be apologetic. Living in pain and fear. Desperately going from professional to professional searching for help. Not finding it. Losing hope. Wanting to end it. Feeling like even death would be better.

It sucked. But it was life. My only life.

Now I am pain-free. I am healthy. No, I am not perfect. There is more healing to be done: I could use even more energy, there are little issues to take care of, I am always up for personal development, I am all into challenges, I can improve and of course maintain. But what I described above is not my life anymore. I am okay.

But how do I deal with that? How do I deal with moving from chronic pain from healthy?

Noone is talking about this… you are pain-free, healed, it all must be easy and perfect.

Pain is not holding me back. I can enjoy my travels. I can meet with my friends. I can make happy memories. I can do meaningful work. I can test my boundaries. And I am more positive that I can deal with challenges. I am happier. I am more in the now.

But it is still new. A part of me is still afraid. When something new comes, the old voice wants to say “let’s see how you feel”, “you can’t do that because you are sick”, “it will be too much”, “maybe another time”, “I hope I survive”, and so on. There is a small fear that I will be in pain or I will lose the moment. My painful old life sucked, but it was my life for so long and the old voices and fears sometimes want to creep back.

Then I catch myself. I recognize that I am different. I realize that I am not in pain. I realize that I can do it. I realize that my excuse isn’t needed and not valid. I recognize the old voice.

As I recognize the old voice, I shut it off right away. I realize that I am good now. I realize that I can do it.

I am grateful for my journey. I am grateful for how far I’ve come. I am grateful for my pain-free life. I am grateful for my opportunities.

I stop listening to old voices: I jump, I do it, I smile, I fly, I risk, I try …. I live.

Starting to live again after years of chronic pain (physical or emotional) is amazing, but also challenging. It is not smooth, but a bumpy transition. But it is beautiful and it all worth it.

I am grateful to say: I am happy to feel alive.

(Written: August 29, 2014)

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