Something’s Gotta Give

Graffiti on a wall reading "Follow Your Dreams" with a red "Cancelled" sticker on topBack at the beginning of this year, I came clean with this site’s readers.

I confessed that I felt bored writing about pain.

That I was feeling a good bit of resistance to the label of “chronically pained” – a label I’ve been living with for over 10 years now.

That the combination of these rather complex emotions was behind my absence from this site for several months.

I wrote another post after that one about the external life stressors that also kept me away from the blog.

And then I didn’t write another post for this site until this past Sunday – six months later.

Something about the road to hell and paving stones made out of good intentions…?

Anyhoo. That’s a post for another time.

What I didn’t ‘fess up to back in January – and couldn’t have, anyway, because frankly it didn’t even really register with me consciously until a few weeks ago – was a deeper, darker thought that was probably behind all that boredom and resistance.

It’s such a dark thought that even now, after becoming aware of it, I don’t really want to write it.

But like a reluctant witness in a mafia trial, I swore to tell the truth in my writings here, so – with a not-insignificant dose of trepidation – I’ll come clean(er) now:

I feel like a fraud.

There. I said it.

Scones, anyone?

What?

Oh, ALL RIGHT.

I feel like a fraud because this site’s tagline promises that you can thrive – not just survive – with chronic pain.

Yet for the last several years, all I’ve been doing is surviving. And not just surviving – barely surviving.

To be fair, for the first few years after the Cat-5 shitstorm made landfall in my life, all I could do was concentrate on survival issues – reflected in the plaintive, slightly panicked tone in this post, for instance.

But for the last two years, survival has been slightly more assured. We have our own digs for the first time in a long time, and even without the Section 8 benefits that should have started for us back in February (thanks EVER so much, Republicans), I’ve been able to make enough money on my own to cover the rent and associated bills.

It occurs to me now that what I was feeling back then about the time of the “The Truth Hurts” post, and for the intervening years between then and now, was a heightened form of acceptance.

In truth, it was more like resignation.

I was resigned to surviving, and resigned to not thriving.

Which made this whole site – or at least, my continued publication of its articles – a fraud, in my view.

My days are like carbon copies of each other. I wear yoga pants – I sleep in yoga pants – and shuffle around in pink fuzzy slippers with grosgrain ribbons and sparkly crystals that my daughter gave me last Christmas. My ass is planted so firmly on the couch that it’s permanently taken said ass’s shape. I work. I write. I make dinner. I spend a half-hour talking with my daughter. I go to bed. In between, I take medication to stave off the worst of the pain. I hurt in between doses, but for the most part, it’s manageable.

It’s … acceptable.

It’s tolerable.

And I think it’s killing me.

So, now that I know that’s what’s been going on for the last few years – that somehow I’ve become resigned to merely coping with my pain – I have a few options. As far as I can tell, actually, I have three:

  1. Change this site’s tagline to “coping with chronic pain.” This option leaves me cold and thoroughly uninspired.
  2. Change the way this site gets updated. Stop writing for this site completely. Let other people take it over (people who haven’t lost hope) or just let the thing die altogether.
  3. Change my life.

Something’s got to change, one way or another. And I don’t know what, and I don’t know how. I have loosely formed clouds of ideas – malleable cotton puffs that twist and shift just as soon as I start to examine them closely. I have very few answers. I do have questions – but not all the questions.

But I do know that when I contemplate living the rest of my life in this sad state of resigned nothingness, I feel incredibly sad.

And that feels unnatural to me.

So: Something’s gotta give.

Photo Credit: Chris Devers via photopin cc

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4 thoughts on “Something’s Gotta Give

  1. Shannon

    Annie,

    I know exactly how you feel. At last, we are settled here in Vegas and I feel like I am barely surviving. No family, and no friends… yet. Just putting one foot in front of the other and trying to tackle my list of over 50 things (truly, I’ve counted them) that I have to do but I never seem to make any headway on. It depresses me every time I look at it, and especially when I add another item. Between the stress, the heat, and all the unpacking I’ve lost over 15 lbs.

    I’m going to start up my news blog again (‘Nip Pain in the Bud’) today even thought I don’t know how long I can keep that going. But I feel like I have to do something, give myself some kind of purpose, because if all I do everyday is my physical therapy, calling doctors, doing laundry, watching TV (alone), and managing crises – then all I feel is trapped in a blah existence.

    The’Nip Pain’ blog is a lot of work but I do find satisfaction in it, particularly if I get lucky enough that someone sends me a comment about how a posted article or a piece I wrote has helped them. Sometimes, just one thankful phrase is enough to brighten my life for a week or more, and push me forward over a depressing patch. I really need that now, since I’ve been feeling so lonely in my day to day life.

    You know I love my dahlias, but nearly all the plants I’ve brought with me have died which makes me so upset. I can’t work on any crafts since we are still a house filled with boxes and no space to work. I have no friends to meet. I’m hoping the online community with embrace ‘Nip Pain in the Bud’ once more, and I’ll again feel like I’ve not only got a useful existence but a meaningful one.

    You are not a fraud any more than I am. It’s easy to give advice but not always so easy to use it yourself – but it doesn’t mean your words shouldn’t be spoken. There are so many people who can be moved and lifted up by what you have to say. I was. Maybe by talking about how to thrive as well as survive, you’ll eventually find your own thriving niche. It cannot happen unless you acknowledge it (which you just have) and it cannot change for the better unless you face it and find not only the right words for yourself … but also a little hope that things can be better.

    I don’t know if that helps you, but whatever you decide to do, l’ll certainly be watching this site. You absolutely did help and advise me when I needed it, and I’ll always be grateful.

    Blessings,
    -Shannon
    Shannon recently posted..Tuesday-Newsday #107. What a doll!

    Reply
    1. Annie Post author

      I heart you so much, Shannon. Thank you. I’m so sorry your dahlias didn’t make it. (I kill plastic plants, seriously. NO green thumb ability here. I’m envious you had plants to move.) Your new digs WILL start to feel like home sometime soon, I believe that wholly. And the readers will come back to Nip Pain in the Bud, I believe that too (and I’ll do whatever I can to help that along). We’ll figure out a way. Somehow.

      Reply
  2. Jen

    I just found your site. I love it! You’re NOT a fraud even though you may feel like one. Sometimes sharing our experience, strength and hope helps us to “practice what we preach”. I used to tell my clients (when I was an outpatient mental health therapist) “The best therapists have their own therapists.”.

    I have my days of “just coping” and thankfully they haven’t turned into weeks or years of it. Of course, I was just diagnosed 2 years ago with the chronic piece so that may be in my future. I just try and live one day at a time. 🙂 For me, I don’t need all the answers right away and may never get them (part of living one day at a time).

    It sounds like you’re in a good place. I find that life seems to be about taking a step back and re-evaluating and making change where necessary when things feel “unnatural” like you said.

    Hugs
    Jen recently posted..June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month!. What a doll!

    Reply
    1. Annie Post author

      Thank you, Jen! <3 This site, sharing my story and hearing other dolls' stories, has definitely been therapeutic for me, in every sense. Hope you come back now and again!

      Reply

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