Finding my Tribe

Dear Friends and Family,

For more years than I would like to recount, I have been battling chronic pain.  Since this adversity entered my life, my world as I once knew it, has drastically changed.  Every day I struggle with pain; it never leaves.  But, I still have a life to lead, a job to fulfill, and dreams to follow. 

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Yet, some days, it has taken sheer willpower to drag my happy butt out of bed.  The constant pain often has zapped my energy and made it difficult to maneuver through this life.  For a time, I took pain meds, but some made me feel as if I were living in a fog.  Others just created more issues.  One day after taking a pain pill, I felt like a volcano had erupted in the pit of my stomach!  Ouch and no thanks!

Depression followed in those days, and for a time, I started taking a generic form of Zoloft to numb myself from the anguish I felt, for I missed my former self.  I missed the days of moving and living.  My life before the pain was quite spectacular.  I was active.  Year round I lifted weights four days a week.  In the summers, I added daily swimming to the mix.  In the fall and in the spring, I would ride my mountain bike, and in the winter, I included the treadmill.  I was outgoing, and constantly on the move while spending time with family and friends.

Post pain days, I missed the exercise and my hobbies.  Gardening was difficult, and so was photography since I often took nature shots.  My social life deteriorated as well.  Although I still liked dancing, going to the movies, and hanging out with the girls, some days I was simply in too much pain, or just simply too exhausted from everyday living.  I would accept invitations and then would have to cancel.  Soon, the invitations slowed, and I would have to tell my friends that I wasn’t sure if I could make it.  They became frustrated, and I couldn’t blame them because I was also irritated with myself.

Even members of my family began to make me feel like I was a failure since I could no longer live the life I once enjoyed.  Unkind words cut to the core.

“Well, if you would just lose weight.”

“You can’t be eating healthy; you don’t even cook anymore.”

“I’m not inviting you over again until you have us over for dinner.”

“You always just stay at home.”

And my favorite, “If I am ever in that much pain, just shoot me.”1

And yes, this once outgoing social butterfly became a recluse.  But that was not necessarily a bad thing.  It has given me a chance to pause and reflect.  My life may not be perfect, but I have discovered family and friends who have stayed by my side and offered unconditional love, and acceptance, for which I am so very thankful.  Their tenderness and support have kept me moving even on my most difficult days when I just wanted to give up.  They wouldn’t let go even when I lied to myself and pretended to be okay.  They have given me hope.  Through this awkward journey, I have found “my tribe,” and a new family.  What a joyous blessing they are to me!

So as this New Year begins, I look forward to spending time with you!  I want to thank you for your love and kindness.  My tribe, I wish you a year of peace, love and unimaginable joy!

 

Love,

Annie

 

 

 The Daily Prompt – Conversataion
Photo by 小胖 车 on Unsplash

 

 

 

23 thoughts on “Finding my Tribe

  1. I so know this! I too have found great solace in family and friends who understand! I too have been down the same road, choosing instead to live with incredible sometimes excruciating pain, just to be present, not living in a cloud! May the New Year treat you kindly, with love and affection. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Ann Marie,
    I’m very sorry to learn that you are enduring this. I am entering my 2nd year with a version of the same thing so can offer specific prayers for your recovery in terms of life impact. This really challenges one’s ability to enjoy life. You sound like you are meeting it with grace & wisdom. Bravo & hang in there lady.
    🎩Just another distant friend

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your thoughtfulness. I do miss doing all the activities that I once enjoyed. Still, I am able to swim. And I have enjoyed my “newest” hobby doing family research and the writing too. I have been able to continue teaching too. I have more ood days tahn bad, so I a blessed. And thank you my friend for your prayers!

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  3. oh Annie, the people in your life now are the ones meant to be there. I wish you all the beautiful energy in the world, and based on how you write I feel there is a great strength in you, stay strong and never give up. Never.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So sorry to hear of your life altering pain, particularly when your life use to be so full of activity. Having been diagnosed with chronic fatigue over 15 years ago, I understand the frustration you feel and how you have had to pull back from your life in order to heal. It is a strange time and learning experience that ends up bringing unforseen gifts and deeper understanding.
    Without intruding, have you sought alternative medical help, e.g. try an anti-inflammatory diet, detox from preservatives, dyes, etc., acupuncture, rolfing, svaroopa yoga? I ask/offer these suggestions, only because I wasted a year with western medicine unable to help me (giving me ulcer meds that only made me sicker; suggesting I have surgery without any tests). Once I sought out an experienced naturopath, and DO trained in environmental medicine, I began the long road of healing. When I plateued at 80% recovery, it was acupuncture (and hand drumming) that brought me back to life. (My last post talks describes some of the health benefits from hand drumming.) Thankfully, I have been successfully managing CFS for more than 5 years now. While I do not think I had fibro, I have had times of excruciating pain which could be brought on by weather or diet changes. Having an extremely sensitive system, I pay closer attention to what my body is telling me. Unfortunately, its language is usually pain or discomfort.
    My heart goes out to you for your journey but it is always dark before the dawn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your heartfelt words of encouragement. Through this journey, I have discovered that I have to watch certain foods because they can cause extra pain. I have also learned that I have to do what I feel is right for me. Swimming is wonderful, especially in a therapeutic pool at my local YMCA. Unfortunately, even though I have insurance, the co-pays are too expensive for acupuncture. Physical therapy almost broke the bank. But that is just the reality of our nation’s medical care, so I have learned to go without specific treatments. Against my old doctor’s advice, I went off my pain meds. I just did not like the way they made me feel, and I didn’t care for the side effects. The only downfall is I tire more easily. As you know, the journey can be rough. We have good days and bad. But, I can honestly say most days are amazing. Since I have had to slow down, I appreciate the little things more. I am thankful that I can still work. I just take it one day at a time.

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      1. Yes, a sad state for our country’s medical system for sure. If they would only focus on health rather than disease, we would be getting more beneficial treatments than pharmaceuticals but that is a rant for another place.

        I am glad you are paying attention to your body as you know it best. I have also found that one of the gifts in having an illness that stops you dead in your tracks is that it does make you notice and appreciate the little things more, as well as decide what is really important. One day, even one moment at a time is all you can do but each baby step you take in honoring yourself is in the direction of wellness. All the best to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Live your life the way you feel deeply, in your inmost heart, that you should live. I believe everyone has the right to do what’s best for them, first and foremost. if your pain is bothering others, let them know that their judgementality is only adding to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Writing that piece for my blog gave me a sense of freedom from all the unkind words and judgements that other tried to place upon me. Life is to short for that nonsense, so I moved on with my life. Those that truly cared for me and my well-being have remained, and those that didn’t simply fell away. Lif’s good! Thanks for reading and thanks for your encouraging comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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