Make no mistake—no matter how much one thinks he or she has accepted being in a state of chronic pain, the bad days cause reflection on those that were better, before the unacceptable occurred and we were unalterably changed forever.
And it’s on those days that I realize that at my core, I’m still just so profoundly sad about it all. While being in pain has unquestionably deepened my compassion for all living things and has perhaps made me more human in many ways, I’m still just so fucking angry that this is how my life has turned out, and it doesn’t look like anything is going to change—certainly not in the short run.
Maybe I’m blue because I’ve undergone yet another change in my pain medication regimen, and I sometimes feel like I’m sleeping around the clock. Even though I’ve attempted in the last month or so to take steps back out into the world—like joining a gym, joining an internet dating site, painting up a storm in preparation for an exhibit and going back into therapy—the bulk of recent weeks has been spent in front of the TV set, where I get to watch other people have lives, which in turns reminds me of who I used to be before this trial set in.
I suppose my gentle forays out into the world haven’t been going so well, which is just adding to my frustration. At the gym, it can feel like a herculean effort to do just 30 minutes walking on the treadmill, I rarely check the dating site as I just can’t imagine myself being the flirty girl anymore, and my painting has hit a creative wall. And as for therapy, this new therapist has an extremely spiritual bent—something I’ve never experienced before with previous professionals.
On the one hand, I could say that she’s a perfect pairing for me, as the reason for my crippling depression when the pain struck in ’04 was complete spiritual devastation and the total unraveling of my faith. But such a statement would imply that somewhere deep within I believe some type of magic is at work—that this person has come into my life for a reason and that there are no accidents.
That’s certainly what Glori (my therapist) believes, and at times I find myself getting angry at her for such crazy statements. The old arguments erupt—like why would any loving creator allow such suffering in the world?—but I suppose I’m tired of hearing those tapes run in my head, which is a lucky break for Glori, as I’m more open now to hearing what she has to say than I would have been, say, three years ago.
Oddly enough, my reasons for entering therapy again have had nothing to do with spirituality, but rather have been an attempt to get to the core of my intimacy issues with men. It’s a complete coincidence that Glori has this spiritual slant to her work, which seems to have superseded my original intentions for returning, at least for the time being.
She’s an extraordinary woman who speaks five languages fluently, has studied the kabala for over 30 years, and is well read on nearly every religion that exists, so when she speaks, her words carry a certain love and authority that can be soothing, even if I don’t necessarily believe them.
Glori believes that in order to deepen our humanity, we must go through these trials, and the further down they go, the further we will ultimately rise. This is life’s cycle, she says, and if it didn’t happen, we would become stagnant. In a sense, I can tell she believes that my pain is a type of gift, in that I now can connect with all suffering in the world and thus be a force for good, should I accept the assignment.
It’s certainly a nice thought, but hard to comprehend during the days I feel so utterly useless. Today, for example, is yet another day I’ve yet to get out of my pajamas. This new medication is so strong that I woke up with a borderline migraine headache and nausea. I’ve been taking considerably less today, which means the pain is greater, all while I watch a Law & Order: Criminal Intent marathon.
The only way I can think of to make use of today’s particular trial is to write about it here, in the hopes that someone else who is suffering will read it and not feel so terribly alone.
I see Glori again on Tuesday. As I write about her, I’m reminded of the positive affirmations she gives me to say, none of which I’ve done.
I do have a favorite though, which comes from the Hawaiian HoOponopono religion, and it’s one we’re supposed to say to our creator as a way to take responsibility for our lives. It goes like this:
“I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”
When I feel lazy, useless, jealous, or whatever, it does have a certain power to it that soothes me. Maybe I’ll pull out her affirmations tonight and give them a spin, although my exhaustion level makes even the utterance of words feel like lifting weights.
I’ve got to try, even though I’m so fucking sick of trying. Maybe what I need is just a good cry, even though I just had one last night. The purging of tears, especially with a good friend, seems to be the only thing that truly gives me solace, peace and contentment.
If only it could last.