“I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU.” (Mayor Pappas, “City Hall” movie quote)
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I struggle with a severe chronic facial pain disorder. It’s bad. And currently incurable with no known definite effective medical treatments.
“Pain is no evil, unless it conquers us.” ~ Charles Kingsley
There are some treatments and home remedies that help sometimes. I’m not always in agony but I do have flare ups now & again that are just pure, raw agony. Agony beyond belief.
“Pain can be endured and defeated only if it is embraced. Denied or feared, it grows.” ~ Dean Koontz
A kind of anguish that brings me to the point of despair. I can’t believe my body is capable of experiencing so much physical anguish. I can’t believe anyone can endure this. It’s incomprehensible. It’s the most physically painful experience of my life.
“While there’s life, there’s hope.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
And when this happens, sometimes I feel that I’m wishing I were dead. But as I have also mentioned, I also struggle with a severe depressive disorder that strengthened me and enlightened me. It awakened me.
“Today I will see something positive in all situations.”
I have developed a life philosophy that helps me see that life is a true gift no matter what. No matter the wretched agony I am currently enduring.
“You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
So last week in the middle of the night, lonely & grieving over the loss of my previous state when I wasn’t in as much pain, I thought I wanted to be dead. It was a very brief thought. But I soon realized that it wasn’t true. It felt that way for a few seconds. And I remembered my own life philosophy that I have invested so much in, building and nurturing and maintaining. All of the things I learned. All of my strength & inspiration.
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words and never stops at all.” ~ Emily Dickinson
And I kept going, kept telling myself life is good and I kept my hope alive that my severe pain would end or somehow I would learn to cope even though I couldn’t even begin to imagine how anyone can cope with this. It’s just so agonizing.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” ~ Albert Einstein
It’s like the worst throbbing toothache anyone can ever have along with an earache & sinus ache all rolled into one all over my face and head. Just throbbing for hours or days almost nonstop, around my temples, eyes, jaw, sinuses, ears, shoulders, neck…. I was going out of my head, not knowing how anyone can live that way. It takes an emotional toll on me.
“Hope is the little voice you hear whisper ‘maybe’ when it seems the entire world is shouting ‘no’.”
I was pacing the floors. Running in and out of rooms, wanting to scream and scream into the night until my throat was raw but my mouth wouldn’t open because my jaw locked. I was devastated, furious, nearly to the point of insanity.
“I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.”
I am not an angry person, never have been. I rarely get furious and when I do, it subsides very quickly and I don’t deny or repress it but I almost never act on it physically other than civilized verbal/writing outlets, just telling people about my anger. I don’t yell or curse people out or cry and hit things. I don’t ever feel like doing that. Not because I think it’s wrong or because I’m too shy, timid, or meek. It’s just not in me to be like that, to express anger that way.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
But when this flared up last week, I was furious. I wanted to yell, scream, break things. I wanted to throw whatever inanimate objects I could get my hands on and watch it break into a million Little pieces. The way my body felt.
“Hope is the dream of a waking man.” ~ Aristotle
I did not want to hurt any living creatures. But I sure wanted to destroy objects. But I couldn’t because it was too hard to move. I could hardly open my mouth.
“Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.”
It took a lot to not crack my head against walls.
Not out of anger but out of near insanity because of the pain and just having absolutely no idea what to do. It was driving me mad. I stood at the wall struggling not to crack my head against it.
I kept telling myself that when the horror ends if it ever does, I won’t even feel relief or gratitude until later, the first thing I will do is throw things and break things (alone so no one else has to witness or suffer) to release the fury I couldn’t express while it was happening. I felt like I wanted revenge. Revenge on the pain itself. It makes no sense because the pain is not a sentient thing with consciousness. But it’s what I felt.
I kept reading stories and facts and poetry about chronic facial and head pain disorders. And I just couldn’t fathom the pain we feel. The agony we’re forced to endure. It brings me comfort to read about these disorders, to know they are acknowledged at least by some people and knowing someone somewhere understands. I love how we can take the tragedy of pain and turn it to beauty with poetry, drawings, songs….And if I could, I would take on all the facial and head pain in the world so no one has to ever feel what I feel. I can’t even begin to imagine someone else having to endure this. It’s unimaginable. Devastating.
TMJD headaches, Migraine headaches, cluster headaches (also know as “suicide headaches” because they bring people to contemplate or attempt suicide), Trigeminal neuralgia (also known as “The Suicide Disease” because it drives many people to contemplate and even attempt suicide to stop the pain)….
“When you come close to sellin’ out,
Reconsider” ~ LeeAnn Womack
It was so extremely difficult to focus on anything other than my pain. It is torture. It’s hell. But I kept telling myself, life is still a gift. I will still go on. Hope kept me going.
I realized then even more, how important it is to develop a life philosophy. A specific, firm outlook on life. So when things get difficult and devastating, we have our own life philosophy to fall back on. My life philosophy is all about love & compassion for others and myself and that life itself is a blessing no matter what and if I really try, I can find hope & strength deep inside to keep on going. I believe that no matter what terror and pain I encounter and endure, no matter how much pain I must experience, either physical or emotional, I will eventually conquer it and keep going and still be happy in general. And pain will strengthen me & teach me. Even when it currently does not seem that way.
“Take that first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
There’s always, always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for, something to smile about, something to look forward to….things can be handled positively. Life itself is pure blessing.
I don’t just tell myself this occasionally. I live it. Every single day. I write about it, meditate upon it, find quotes, books, writings, people, blogs, videos…that support it, nurture it, confirm it.
“Some people see a hopeless end, others see an endless hope.” ~ Unknown
I keep up on it constantly. In good and bad, beautiful, ugly, painful, everything, it is my life.
It’s a conscious, intentional decision, habit I have formulated. It often comes naturally to me but sometimes I have to force it, remind myself to maintain it even when it’s so difficult.
If I really try, I can summon those hopeful feelings.
I have little lapses now and then where I falter or fall and forget or ignore my life philosophy that I have established. It goes right out the Window. But it’s ingrained enough in me that I always come back to it. Find it once again.
“I will keep a smile on my face and in my heart even when it hurts today.” — Og Mandino
I heard of this goal or project people do every year. They choose a word for the new year and make it a point to constantly live up to that word everyday for the whole year. I never felt compelled to partake in this activity because there are various words, not just one, that I intend to live up to. Hope, gratitude, compassion, love, ALWAYS LOVE, kindness, honesty, inspiration, strength, positivity, HAPPY, optimistic, HELPFUL, the list goes on && on….Many of these individual words contain multiple other words… and I don’t want to only plan on living this word for one year but for always. Forever & for always.
“And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you” ~ Mariah Carey
But if I were to choose a word for 2014, it would be HOPE. This is something I need. It’s something I have been feeling so much of lately. And when I feel that my hope is gone, I remind myself that it’s just temporarily misplaced, not forever lost.
Hope keeps us going. Even a small slither, a tattered string, a frayed thread can be enough…..
“When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit –
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”
I find it usually more difficult to live in hope when I’m deeply depressed than when I’m in a lot of physical pain. Physical pain & illness often feels hopeless but it can also instill in someone, a strong, fierce will to survive, to do whatever it takes to live. Depression, true depression that isn’t just a low mood is often the opposite. It often saps the will to survive, the desire to do whatever it takes. So it’s extremely important to remember and keep reminding ourselves over and over that depression feels hopeless but it’s not. It creates lies and delusions that things are forever hopeless and can never get better and that life isn’t worth struggling for.
“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.”
But even with the severe agony of depression, it’s possible to have some sort of glimmer of hope, enough to keep going. We may have to work harder to tap into it, to believe it. But it’s possible!
“Embrace your challenges with an open heart because through every challenge, strength forms.”
I even bought a notebook recently, on one of the days my pain disorder was at its worst. On the front cover it says “Live in hope.” and I bought a candle holder that says “HOPE.”
I found both of these accidentally but at the perfect moments. A perfect coincidence.
“I hope to stand firm enough to not go backward, and yet not go forward fast enough to wreck the country’s cause.”
Sometimes I can’t be happy and I can’t be completely positive or cheerful or pain-free but I can have hope. Hope for something specific or just a general state of feeling hopeful.
“You are not the victim of your body. ” ~ Dr. Christiane Northrup
And even if the thing I hope for can’t or will not happen, I can have hope for something just as good or something even better. I am surrounded in hope. Filled with hope.
“In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs man’s torments.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Even though it benefits us to have hope though, it’s detrimental, I believe, to put off current happiness & peace of mind hoping for something better or hoping for something impossible. Hopelessness isn’t always despair; sometimes hopelessness about something we know can’t happen or won’t happen, is just acceptance and liberation, then we can move forward hoping for better things.
Hope should be exhilarating and motivational and inspiring, not something to hinder us, keeping us in invisible shackles. So when we find what we have been hoping for just won’t happen, we can move forward to new hope. Live in hope.
“We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.”
“A Picture of Pain”
by Bear Peterson
“I tried to paint a picture,
Of how I really feel.
But I could not find the colors,
To make it all seem real.
Not one color was hot enough,
To show the burning pain.
Not one color bright enough,
To make me wince again.
Not one was dark enough,
To show the isolation.
In the end saw one thin line,
Worn, frayed and almost broke,
To my mind that one thin line,
Is a single thread of hope.”
(poem about migraine headaches)
– See more at: http://www.ahmablog.com/2013/05/ellen-draft-3.html#.UrsePZpOnHw
Much happiness, love, & comfort to you all. I hope you find healing if you need it. And if you are struggling with any kind of pain, temporary or chronic, physical or emotional, please know I am very understanding. I can’t know, literally, how you feel, even if we have the same thing because we are two different beings, but I have some sort of deep understanding and much compassion.
“You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt
Will disappear” ~ Mariah Carey
P.s. When the worst of it finally ended, I felt relief & gratitude and did not throw things, scream, and break stuff. ;-D
“Be happy not because everything is perfect nor because everything goes your way. Be happy because everything sucks but you are doing just great. “
“You could go the distance, you could run the mile, you could walk straight through Hell with a smile.” ~ The Script