For something else better to begin!
Well. I guess I ought to give an explanation for where the entries in this section “Straight from the heart” come from.
I had previously created a blog entitled: ‘Journey through a painful body and a depressed mind‘, and I used this forum to write about my on-going battle with various health problems. The title says it all really, but I have to clearly state that that, is who I was (and still am to some degree), but I have travelled far since then.
In the end, about 4 years ago, I decided that it was time to close to door on that chapter of my life. Not because I was better, but because I recognised that virtually every single word I wrote, was bleak and gloomy. It was all about the darkness. Even though at the time, it was very beneficial for me to write this way, I realised that it wasn’t really who I was anymore. And I certainly didn’t need reminding of having felt that way. This all being at a time, when I was both at my lowest and my strength was coming back, when my marriage was ending and I needed to feel hope in my heart.
The blog was very important to me, it helped me to survive and win through a very onerous period of my life. I therefore, believe it was a necessity that my entries from it be included here, as the foundation of where it all began. It was the beginning of my healing process, and allowed me to speak openly about the frustrations and anger that crippled me. So, all good things must come to an end…
Journey through a painful body and a depressed mind:
The ‘painful body’ is due to 4 conditions that I suffer with, Fibromyalgia, Allodynia Sciatica and Spinal degeneration in my upper and lower back. Fibromyalgia, is the condition that I struggle with most, as I have it severely from top to toe. It is horrible disorder to live with, as for me it entails being in chronic pain anywhere throughout your body. Basically ‘Fibro” refers to the fibrous tissue surrounding joints and muscles, and ‘Myalgia’ refers to pain. This can also be referred to a chronic pain syndrome, so it’s not just a few minor aches.
The severity, duration and locality of pain is different for each and every person, and I am now classed as being ‘End stage – severe’. The pain from this can be so bad, a person can be completely incapacitated or even bed ridden by it, and I am very thankful, I have not reached that point yet).
There is no cure for this condition.
The best I can do for me, is to look after myself, by keeping my body as mobile as possible. For that, I do a lot of stretching and yoga postures, and anything else that helps to keep me standing on my own two feet. The only relief I can sometimes get, is by using strong pain killing drugs, which only dampen the pain down, and in turn create other problems for me.
Fibromyalgia: Is not a problem inside my head. It is very real. It is very painful. It is debilitating. It is the silent burglar.
And it doesn’t just affect the physical body, it also grabs hold of your mind, and controls daily activity.
These are just some examples of how I am affected by Fibromyalgia:
Forgetfulness, easily stressed, lack of concentration or focus, confusion, being clumsy, being unsteady just standing up, easily tired through constant lack of or disturbed sleep, eternal fatigue, terrible balance, being drained of energy, sensitivity to light, sound, smell and taste.
This list could go on and on.
I suffer with symptoms quite literally from head to toe on a daily basis. I am always in pain, FULL STOP. I am always worn out, it takes me forever to do things, and it has robbed me of many simple joys in life. But I, like everyone else, don’t have a choice, I have to live with it.
The Fibro, has also brought on a condition called Allodynia, which makes me incredibly sensitive to the slightest touch. The severity of this, varies around different parts of my body, and in some cases I am now 23% more sensitive to pain than the average person. What that means is that what might feel like a light touch to you, could feel like a punch to me. Something as simple as stubbing my toe, could end up with me being in absolute agony for weeks. So, I am always very cautious and somewhat scared of how people may touch me, be it a hug or an accidental brush. My senses are on such high alert for this, and no one would know just by looking at me, that something was wrong. But my body automatically tenses up, in preparation of being hurt unintentionally in this way.
It has made my life unbearable at times, and I now understand that I have had it for most of my life, but something triggered it off for it to become full blown. It took nearly 4 years of being left untreated and being in agony before I received a full diagnosis, that finally gave me a name for this monster. By having MRI scans, it also showed that I had degeneration going on in my upper and lower back, and not before long, Sciatica was added to my repertoire of illnesses.
As for the depression, that really took hold of me about 16 years ago, I literally skidded, then crashed and burned. Again, with the help of hindsight, I recognise that this too was something that stemmed back from my childhood. However, this time I really was a train wreck.
It is something I know will never entirely leave me, but now, I can’t help think that with everything on my plate, depression is/was a natural gravy. Today, I use the strength I have gained through recovery to be open and frank with others who are suffering – whether they know it or not.
It is a strange sensation when your mind is still wanting to speed along but your body takes over the decision-making process. Not being in control of my own frame of mind, left me feeling powerless, hopeless and defeated. I have often said,
‘It was the best thing that could have happened to me’.
Because had I carried on with my life the way it was, then things would have truly ended up being a lot worse.
In just a short space of time, my life changed forever, I was plunged into the darkness of a sound proofed arena, where I could hear and observe everything, but nobody heard or saw me.
It was the start of my ‘incredible journey’.
A mordacious opportunity, that helped me revisit my life. My past, my ‘past’ past, my present, eventually leading me to look forward at my new future. I’ve had decisions to make, and many other issues to deal with along the way, but one thing was for sure, changes had to be made.
So here I am, this is where I’m at, now aged 49, about to embark on possibly the most exciting time of my life…starting over again. I am not out of the woods yet, but I can clearly see a bright light ahead of me.
I stopped writing the other blog, because I know I am not that person anymore. All my physical health problems, as expected have naturally and progressively gotten worse, and deep depression is still a regular visitor. But now, I see it for what it is, a ‘visitor’, something ‘temporary’.
I’m in a whole different place.
I have created a new book, with many blank pages.
I’ve rewritten, what was my then future.
I refuse to allow it to drag me too far, back into the abyss, it is not a place I want to spend time.
I see now, why back then, it was so crucial for me to have retained my positive outlook on my recovery and life.
(Originally written 29/09/2014)
(Updated: 9th January 2019)