Breaking Free from the Prison of Chronic Pain

 cage chronic pain pic

Chronic pain is sneaky. It will creep up on you and hit you over the head like a hammer. It’s an invisible cage that imprisons: everyone else is outside having fun and you are miserable inside the cage.


After trying dozens of therapies for years, I settled into a life with minimized movement which has been my most successful attempt to combat the pain coming from my congenital back issue known (or not so known) as Bertolotti’s Syndrome. Although I am restless, I am beginning to feel joy and happiness. I found my “happy place” and it is like sunlight peeking through the clouds of an otherwise dark day.

sunshine through clouds March 2017










I stopped focusing on the problem. I left all my local friendships behind, (few people ever come and visit me). I have become immersed in a deep spiritual mindset which blankets me with no mind and bliss states. I let go of my judgments about “doing” anything. I let go of my stories about what a life means. In a word, I accepted my pain and I brought it into conscious awareness with my present-day life.


In accepting the pain, I discovered that I don’t need to do anything in particular. I know that my life has meaning even though when I’m in that cage, life feels meaningless. Even if my body beats me up, I refuse to let my mind do such a thing to me. Even if my body hurts, I can find peace and happiness inside my heart.


Sometimes I’ll get angry, the nerve pain seems to cause this reaction. I’ve never been an outwardly angry person. I was a happy-go-lucky person. I’m starting my sixth year of this pain and I have a much shorter fuse. I used to be patient, to suppress what I was feeling.  I would tell it, “Shhhh! Be quiet little girl. Just wait. Everything’s going to be okay.” It’s not a good idea to lie to your body. Firstly, you can’t seek the treatment that you need if you’re pretending that everything’s okay…when it’s not.


It’s understandable why we lie to ourselves when first experiencing chronic pain.  We just want it to go away. We want it to fix itself. We lived a life without pain at one point but now it’s like an unwelcome house guest that we did not invite and we want to leave now. The house guest stays.


I went through phases—alternative medicine shots, western medicine treatments, acupuncture, and PEMF. I tried surgery (wrong place) then sought second, third, fourth, fifth, and finally, sixth opinions.  It was the sixth opinion expert that found an answer to my problem.  I know a lot of people living with chronic pain don’t have hope for it to end and reading this could be like a sting but it is just one person’s story and as I write this I am still in pain. I’m waiting for the healthcare system.


 waiting for the healthcare system

Others may not agree with my approach but having tried a few pain medications I decided that I preferred a sharp mind to numbing medication. I don’t take any prescription drugs, just ibuprofen, Cardio Miracle (lots of scoops each day) and a topical pain cream with lidocaine.


I listen to podcasts and read. I’m finding more ways to work from home. I send loving thoughts to others who suffer different types of pain: caregivers of children with autism, the homeless mentally ill, mothers who have miscarriages. It’s easy to get sucked into the swamp of my sad story: I have to use my mind to redirect it to a bigger picture and to fill it with more positive thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m having a bad day, I cry. I’m isolated and lonely. I stare at the beach longingly, at the joggers and the teenagers playing football. I’m in awe that it never occurred to me that I would be nearly bed bound at age 37. Then I see a video fundraising a wheelchair van for Davey who was paralyzed in a trampoline accident at age 15 and I think, “Is my life really that bad?”


Caregiving my husband through brain cancer and my current back issue have taught me that the most painful, unjust-seeming circumstances can open the door to new states of consciousness. If I can let go and stop fighting the unwanted circumstances, I “put down my sword” and enable the mental and emotional state that allows me to be able to walk through that door and break free.


If you know anyone who is isolated, in pain, suffering and at home, reach out to them. Let them know you were thinking about them and their suffering and that you care. No matter how they respond, that’s what they need to hear: that someone cares about them. Because if they get that care from others, it might make them better able to love and care for self…and if they can gather up enough love for self, they just might be able to break free.

beach pic so nice










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