1 Year For a Lifetime

On January 7th 2021, I packed up a suitcase and headed straight to Baltimore Maryland. When I arrived, I did intake at the chronic pain hospital at The Kennedy Krieger Institute. I then interviewed for a job at the FBI and immediately returned to start treatment. Little did I know that I would be starting a journey of a complete incline of my functioning as a human being. How is my life now? How do I do it? Am I cured? Well- let me explain.

It takes a lot through a day to maintain (let alone increase) the amount of functioning I do now. It requires everything from a schedule, to mindset, to sleep, etc. etc. I mean, I do so much in a day that without a schedule I would just burnout and have the second half of my day be unproductive. I have learned how to master my schedule and make it work for me specifically. I can say that even a year later, I occasionally struggle to figure out how to fit my life in a day. But don’t we all?

Now, I know people preach about this all the time- but mindset is KEY. Without the right positive mindset, we struggle to overcome our fears and obstacles. Let me tell you, when someone lives in pain all the time, fear rules their life. Fear of the pain increasing, fear of it changing, fear of it inhibiting more, etc. But something I was taught a year ago is that pain cannot control us. Whether it be emotional, or physical, we cannot live our life by it. People with chronic pain or illness struggle with the idea of control. But there is control there. As long as you take it from the pain and fear that is hidden deep in us.

It was one year ago that I decided fear of pain would no longer control me.

HA! Who was I kidding!?! When I was first admitted- I was scared of EVERYTHING. But you get the point-right?


A huge misconception is that since I was done with treatment and have had several improvements, I am no longer suffering. In other words, I am cured. Let me tell you. WTF. No way am I cured. I suffer from pain every day. If the weather changes, my pain increases. If I go to the gym, it increases. If I don’t go- increases. If I don’t drink enough water- increase. If I don’t get enough sleep-increase. If my body just decided to hate me that day-increase.

Wanna know the difference? It just doesn’t control me anymore. Pain increase- happens, change up my routine. More exhausted- take one 20 min nap and go to bed early. But what I NEVER do is predict. Predictions can absolutely destroy someone like me. Just because this weekend I am going to be outside, doesn’t mean I am going to hurt worse the next day. Who the hell knows! The next day I could have the best day ever! I have to live day by day. But I don’t see that as a weakness. Actually, we could all use this superpower.


Sure- I still fight for my life every day. I’ve got plenty of stressors. But- that’s not the important part of this anniversary. Here’s a list of things I CAN do:

  • Write
  • Drive for extended periods
  • Make it through a WHOLE day
  • Sleep well
  • Voice what scares me
  • Go out with friends
  • Live on my own
  • Make my own food
  • Shower without sitting
  • Go for long walks
  • Make it to the gym every day
  • Wear any jewelry I choose
  • Tie shoes (work in progress)
  • Speak about my experiences
  • Buy cotton balls
  • Take care of my dog 100%
  • Help others
  • Get a job
  • Go through Grad school
  • Dress entirely myself
  • Feed myself
  • Do new experiences
  • Participate in 20 year old stuff
  • Touch all fabrics
  • Understand pain cues
  • Make Youtube Videos
  • Blog

*Believe in myself*

I still have so many things I want to do. Things I feel like I missed or need to conquer. But I’d like to say- I’m off to a great start. You can do it too. No matter what you are fighting. I believe in you too-

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