Last January, I woke up with a very bad pain in my lower back and it didn’t go away.
Denial, doctors, tears, scans, misdiagnoses, treatments, injections, depression, destruction, anger, hopelessness… it all ensued for a year.
I thought it would get better after a couple of weeks, then a couple of months, then I didn’t think it was going to get better at all.
I was angry and mad at my body and basically didn’t handle anything well at all. I spent most of my time crying and acting out to my loved ones. I had never had pain that lasted so long and I was really scared. I lost myself.
I didn’t know how to identify with myself anymore and all I could see was a girl in pain.
It felt as though my entire life was flipped upside down. I used to be able to run, do lots of active things, work on my feet, sit without pain- things I took for granted before all of this. My family didn’t know how to help since they lived far away and we fought as I screamed and cried to them on the phone about how they didn’t understand. My relationships with people suffered as I couldn’t and didn’t want to do anything with them anymore because of the pain, and my former career…I lost passion for it, all at the same time as everything else was going so wrong.
I gave up.
I didn’t really want to live. I remember driving home from work some days and daydreaming of it all being over and ending my life so I didn’t have to endure this pain anymore. That’s how bad it got.
During this time things got worse before they got better. But I kept researching…desperate to find something, someone, anything that could help me. It was a year of orthopedic doctors, spinal specialists, neurologists, physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, pain management doctors, alternative body workers, spiritual healers, and friends, family and random people telling me what the answers were.
It was a lot. I felt overwhelmed. But nothing was happening.
I couldn’t fall asleep or wake up in the morning without my mind instantly going to how I was going to help myself get better, what doctor I could see, or something I read online that was going to help me. I was consumed with thoughts every moment of every day about my pain, when it was going to go away, and why this was happening to me.
Each appointment I had, I thought this..this is going to be it. I will see this person and I will be on the road to recovery.
They’re the ones that can help me, this is IT. I put everything I had in them. I convinced myself that this one person held my dreams for getting better in their hands. But to be honest nothing was making any difference at all. The pain was bad and actually it kept getting worse no matter what I tried. I was stretching for hours, then not stretching at all. I was active, trying pilates and hikes, and then completely sedentary. I was so confused on what I should do, move a lot or not move at all. In fact, for months I did nothing. I actually laid on my couch all day everyday watching the entire season of Parenthood. That was the extent of my life. I didn’t like myself during this time at all. I knew something needed to change, but I didn’t have the power or worth in myself to get there.
I was miserable, sad, and unmotivated. I felt bad for myself, and I wanted everyone else to feel bad for me too…all I could think all day was “Why me!?”
A pattern I didn’t have the knowledge of until later.
A pattern I was undeniably stuck in that was not serving me and was dragging me down more.
Finally one day, there was a shift, a small shift, but something that pulled me in the direction I needed to be going. Something clicked. Something deep down didn’t want me to give up. Somewhere I knew to trust my life, to make friends with the pain I had been fighting against and to give in. I started to understand this was happening to help me and to show me something, to change the way I’ve been living my life once and for all. To bring me into a career that brought me life instead of drained me. To help others, to serve.
I decided to put my fears and self-doubt behind me-what always held me back and get off the couch. I began pursuing the career I’m now practicing. I quickly started to feel more motivated, excited, and passionate about this then anything else before in my life. My pain was still present but my vibrational frequency and the way I felt about myself, improved for the first time in a while. I started to feel again and want to wake up for the day. I felt a zest for life that was missing for a really long time.
A lot of my fear stemmed from the fact that I hadn’t figured out what was wrong with me, I wasn’t “healed” like I thought I needed to be to be a practitioner in the health industry. I had chronic pain, issues that were still present around disordered eating, and overall struggles with my health in general. I thought, who is going to take any ounce of advice from me.
Early on in my program towards becoming a nutrition coach, I attended an event for my program where we were encouraged to put ourselves out there and get to know everyone. I was nervous that everyone I met was going to be fit, healthy, and have it all figured out and I wouldn’t belong. I didn’t consider that they too maybe had been through the kind of things I was struggling with.
I definitely was wrong- the people I met were dynamic and had been through it all- serious health conditions and illnesses, were of all shapes and sizes, and were absolutely the most inspirational people I had ever met.
These strangers helped me more in one day, then anyone I had seen for my back all year.
They gave me the encouragement I needed, listened to me and offered priceless insight. I trusted them, because they were just like me- they had been through things and I didn’t feel alone anymore in my pain. I finally got to see that I could heal, I felt hope again. I thought if they could get through all of their stuff, so could I. And I realized this is exactly how I can help others one day- people will respect me for going through the things they’re struggling with as well.
I learned that my experience with my pain, and my various health struggles through the years, would make me a wonderful practitioner.
I could relate to those who were seeking my help.
I would be able to help them no longer feel alone and misunderstood, but supported, heard and acknowledged, because I will of been just where they are.
During my time in school, I learned that trying to “fix” myself wasn’t the answer. I couldn’t force myself to get better and one treatment or one doctor was just going to heal me and it’s over. There was a greater lesson that I needed to learn.
My pain is much more then physical, and that is why I have devoted a lot of my time in the last two years to emotional work and trying to heal from past resentments, anger, and hopelessness that has lived inside me for far too long.
I have worked with someone talking about it all, reading books and learning from other’s stories, and breathing through this process. I just keep going. That is really my only advice to give. I have been conscious of my patterns, what triggers me, and the space I go when I am upset, stressed, sad and anxious and how to get myself out of it.
The reality is I am still hurting. I still have chronic back pain. But I believe that my mess is my message, and I am not going to play victim anymore. I am going to pay it forward and serve others. I am going to trust in my journey.
Do you suffer with chronic pain? Please reach out to me and let me know if I can support you in anyway.