I’ve Downplayed Life

I know, I know, you haven’t heard from me here in a while. I can explain. Life has been beyond crazy. Every day I am trying to balance my health and keep my life the best I can. That involves quite a bit of maintenance: scheduling, writing, working out, breaking, writing gratefully, on and on…. That alone feels like all someone can do in a day. But that only gets me to equal playing field with non-CRPS victims. I have also been doing graduate school. BUT most recently, I got a job as the referral program manager for the National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance. As you can see, life has been crazy. But it brought up quite a bit of thoughts and feelings. Feelings that I will share with you tonight.

Having grown up with chronic pain, I have learned not the healthiest coping mechanisms. Mechanisms that helped me survive. In the past blogs, we have talked about my tendency to avoid. Something I haven’t brought up is that I have figured out how to convincingly downplay my suffering, pain, and successes. Why does this pertain to now? Well if you haven’t noticed things follow you through life. Sadly, for me, I have suffered through my late teenage years to adulthood. As I’m discovering, I have so many things following me.

Downplaying the Bad:

My pain is known as the worst pain known to man. It is, scientifically, higher up on the pain scale than childbirth and amputation. That means, collectively, people have agreed that this pain is horrific. However, I would rarely actually discuss how bad the pain is. “pretty bad” was my go to. Now, why would I say that? Because the pain is actually only “pretty bad”? F NO! Between you and I- this pain feels like it is killing you from the inside out. It makes you want to physically cut off the limb that hurts. I remember being 17 and wishing I could get away from my body. No one deserves to feel pain like that. But I would say pretty bad because I didn’t want to believe the truth. That I was in excruciating pain. So, I would convince myself that it wasn’t that bad. That way I could keep moving and not stop to realize the truth.

This lovely quality even played into appointments. The doctors would ask how much my life was affected and I would play it down by not mentioning everything effected. Sure, that has to deal with acceptance of the situation. But it also is because I’ve convinced myself it really wasn’t that bad.

Downplaying the Good:

Last week, I received the notification that I got a job. I know, beyond insane! What would you say if I told you I didn’t flip out? I know, crazy right? Well that’s because I only ever feel like I’m trying to catch up with everyone else in my life who have had “normal” lives. That means every single accomplishment I have doesn’t tell me much about my successfulness.

This exact thing happened when I reached 1 year since treatment. Did I make a post? Yep. Did I tell everyone to celebrate? Abso-freakin-lutely. But does that mean I didn’t feel weird? Nope. I felt like an imposter for my own success. It felt like something weird to celebrate. I thought to myself “well it wasn’t like I came back from (fill in typically horrible sounding disease or accident)…..” or “so what if it’s been a year?!” I know, I know, not the most positive self talk I’ve had.

But this was only one case in my long list of successes this year. I no longer want to send to my team at Kennedy Krieger my successes because I feel like they would think I’m weird or need to move on. I sent the hospital Dunkin on my anniversary day- since they know I like Dunkin- and my team said that the hospital doesn’t allow them to accept any outside gifts. That’s literally just policy- but I take it as I am weird and need to move on. Ugh! I should be able to celebrate for life what I have come back from. Especially since so many people have yet to overcome it. I would say my brain shouldn’t work this way. But that would be downplaying the trauma its gone through. It makes perfect sense why my brain would work this way.

Long ago my brain started to give up on me. I like to picture that my brain started to turn into a pile of CRPS. The constant pain convinces you that nothing is good. No matter what I do, I’m in pain. So if someone has a success without pain? I am significantly below them if I have the same success because I did mine with pain.

So, as you can see, I’m not the best at cutting myself slack. All of this makes sense as I’m typing it. Of course I would have these feelings. No one gets a textbook to life and I certainly wouldn’t get one on mine. But, as you have seen I’ve been trying to work on myself lately. So here are some huge F’n successes I’ve had recently:

  • Getting a new job in Maryland!
  • Soon traveling for the job (on a plane- which I’ve never done!)
  • Working my ass off to keep up with Grad school
  • Going to the gym just about every day and increasing weights on arm machines constantly
  • Meeting with people to discuss their chronic pain and how they can help it
  • Almost to 50 YouTube subscribers
  • Moving soon to Baltimore!
  • Had my first viral TIK TOK and gaining new followers every day
  • Keeping up with friends
  • More willing to date
  • Taking care of me

As you can see, there is a lot I could celebrate. A lot I NEED to celebrate. My mom always says that I do so much more than I give credit for. I’m starting to think I should actually start listening to her. She always ends up right- but don’t tell her I said that 😉


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