Nickie Coby (puppybraille) wrote,
Nickie Coby

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Not a prisoner anymore

I watch a TV station on regular (not cable) TV that features only classic shows like MASH and others. One of the more frequent commercials is for a Back surgery place. It's all about how awful back pain is. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it really sucks. But there's a line in there that really get's me going. One of the women in the commercial says "I'm a prisoner to my pain!"

I used to think that way. All I ever thought about was my pain. I never experienced joy, never thought about other things than how bad my life was because of my RSD/CRPS. I'm glad that my life has changed. I still think about my pain a lot. I'll tell you how much my pain sucks, and I'll tell you when I have a migraine or my pain is bad. But I also experience a full joy.

I laugh. I enjoy things like beading, conventions, laughing, fighting about politics and watching MASH. My pain isn't the only part of my life. I enjoyed convention, even though I didn't have much energy. I had fun, laughed hard, stayed up to late, got up to early and had too much fun. It was a blast!

When I graduated, I enjoyed myself. I experienced pride over what I've accomplished. I saw friends and overall, had a great time.

Now, I use my skills to help others as a volunteer at our church's community care events. It's wonderful to know that all of that education was worth it. It's also great to see that I'm making a difference in someone's life. Even though I can't use my skills to do a 8-5 job because of my health, I can do something. As Helen Keller said, "
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do."

I use DBT skills to understand my emotions. I still need help managing my pain. I'll still end up blogging about my pain, my depression, my anxiety and my PTSD, but I'll also find other things to blog about. Mind you, I don't know what those things will be just yet.

My pain is a part of my life, but I'm not a prisoner. And you don't have to be either. In other words, to the person on that commercial… Get your life back, how ever you can. You're only a prisoner if you don't get help. Note that I'm not saying those cruel cutting words that are so often used to shame people or make them feel guilty. I've heard the line "You're only a prisoner if you want to be." To those who say that, I say "Come on!" Who wants to be in pain? And do you really think someone wants to feel like a prisoner?

I'm not saying it's easy. It's not your fault, and you're not a failure for not knowing what to do. And it's okay to not know where to turn. If you need to talk about it, do so. It may be a long journey, and people won't always understand that right now you may need to talk about it to process your feelings and they'll push you too hard to just forget your pain, but remember that there is hope out there. There's a way to get out of the prison even if you have to take pain with you. Just don't let that pain be your jailer for the rest of your life. And remember that you're not alone.

If you're not in pain, be a good friend. If that person's still in that prison, be there for them. Gently visit them, keep the world in their corner. Give them opportunities to leave the prison. But by all means, understand where they are and how they feel. Be gentle with them. They may not be ready to leave the prison, so instead of trying to get them to leave the prison by guilt and shame, keep giving them reasons to leave. Shame and guilt are like moving them to another jail or prison. It's not giving them freedom, it's another form of slavery and punishment.

So freedom is just ahead. I'm living proof!
Tags: chronic illness, chronic pain, coping skills, dbt, dialectical behavioral therapy, disability, disability related, goals, healing, health, hope, life milestones, migraines, pain management journal, personal entries, rsd sucks, success stories, tool box

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