Thoughts drift through my mind as I fight off sleep on the treacherous bus ride home. What does it mean to be strong? What does courage entail?
I recently read an article about people with chronic pain and how everyone should acknowledge their strength. I thought it was a nice article, but I’ve been thinking about it more lately.
Sometimes I feel strong, brave, optimistic, hopeful, and determined. Sometimes I take pride in my ability to walk through life and handle my pain without complaint.
Then there are days when my pain takes over. I let it get the best of me.
Days when I feel like the entirety of my existence is nothing but pain. Days when I have to take the day off of work because I feel like a disabled person, unable to move.
Sometimes the pain isn’t the worst, but anxiety decides to take the reins and makes me temporarily lose my sanity. I start obsessing over the the pain I’m feeling, my thoughts spiral out of control, they take me over and bring me to a state of panic. I feel like I’m dying because I’m so terrified of being terrified of being terrified. I feel like I’ve exceeded my brain’s capacity for panic in those moments. Even then my brain keeps panicing more and I start thinking I’m literally killing myself by feeling too much, which makes me even more anxious.
Losing control of thought is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever experienced. Yet anxiety has proven to be a frequent occurrence these days.
Will this last forever? I ask myself.
I want to say it won’t, that some day all of my pain and anxiety will dissipate. That’s what we all want to hear, isn’t it?
Time and time again, life proves not to work that way. Sure, miracles do happen. I honestly believe that.
If all my pain and anxiety went away someday, I’d like to think I’d be happy about it. Though as time goes on, I realize that this pain and anxiety that drives me to panic and depression… gives me a strange sense of security. I know that sounds incredibly contradictory, but it is very real in my own consciousness.
Maybe it makes me feel alive.
Remembering my childhood, there was always a strong emotion/thought in my mind that convinced me that no one cared about my existence. I had some very self destructive habits that caused me a lot of emotional pain because of that idea.
When I wanted people to talk to me because I was sad, I would leave the room or go outside and wait for someone to come looking for me. I would convince myself that it they didn’t come, they didn’t care about me. I’d stay out there for sometimes as much as an hour waiting, getting more and more angry with people for not finding me.
It was an incredibly unrealistic expectation, no one knew I needed to talk. From their perspective, I left because I wanted to be alone.
Yet day after day, year after year, I would keep doing that. I would set myself up for disappointment and pain.
I remember having a really low pain tolerance when I was 5 or 6 and my Fibro symptoms first started showing up. Everything hurt worse than it should. I remember my “friends” lightly punching or pinching me and saying that I was lying about it hurting because it didn’t hurt them. They’d elbow me for fun and when I reacted, they’d say “That didn’t hurt!”.
This frustrated me a lot, because back then I thought the pain I was feeling was normal. I thought that when you reach a certain age you feel pain all the time and light injuries hurt more than they used to. Which led me to believe that they felt the pain I was feeling and they wanted to hurt me.
Whenever I would get sick or have an injury of any sort, it would be incredibly miserable for a while. Then when it started getting better I would continue to act like it was still bad, because I didn’t want people to think I faked the whole thing. That later morphed into more pretending for the purpose of feeling like people actually cared for a while.
I realize now that a lot of people cared about me back then and still do. However, that pain that I inflicted on myself through unrealistic expectations still effects me to this day.
Sometimes I think that the reason why I’m not pursuing a cure.
Maybe I still feel insignificant.
I don’t know.