For whatever reason, I have always been hesitant to talk about pain. I live in pain, but I’m not bothered by that and I never felt the need to bother anyone else with it, either. I’ve always been of the mindset that if I take care of myself, and I see the best parts of life, then I can manage day to day. This method is working splendidly for me.
I have Fibromyalgia, which is categorized as wide spread pain. Not very specific. For me, it manifests in joint pain akin to arthritis, chronic fatigue, and extreme body sensitivity. This means hugs hurt me (sadly). It means that I feel a lot more pain when I am touched than the average person would.
That’s just an overview, not a pity party. I don’t mind having Fibromyalgia too much. Some days it’s tougher than others, but I have a really annoyingly positive attitude about it and I don’t dwell on it. I have it easier than a lot of people.
My friends are often annoyed with me because I won’t talk about it or say when I’m not feeling well. How I’ve personally lived my life is to keep my pains to myself and deal with it by myself. I’m not saying this method is healthy; it is just what I’ve done.
So, talking about it openly doesn’t feel great. But, I had a few emails from people recently asking if I would talk about it, so I have. And, I created two images that represent how pain feels to me.
1. I always get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. I don’t have kids so that’s point one. But nonetheless, I prioritize sleep like no one’s business. I usually go to sleep between 9-10pm, and wake up between 5-6am.
2. I eat a whole foods, plant based diet largely without sugar. That works well for me personally: I am not attempting to give nutrition advise.
(Speaking of…I’m about to go slice a fresh loaf of this bread that I’ll smear with avocado. My favorite breakfast!)
3. I see beauty in pain. I really do. It inspires me and I create from it often. I let my poses, my emotions be dictated by what pain feels like to me.
4. I carry light-weight equipment. This has made a HUGE impact in my life. My gear that helps me travel light is: Sony a7rii (mirrorless, full frame camera), 3 Legged Thing tripod (carbon fiber, folds really small), and a Microsoft Surface Pro (laptop under 3lbs!). I use roller bags where possible because I also have nerve damage in my back.
5. I have a gratitude practice.
6. I build downtime into my day. I know that I have energy and feel best in the mornings. I do not, unless it is absolutely necessary, work past 7pm. I let myself relax from that time until I go to sleep.
7. I exercise, lightly. I do yoga everyday and hike 2-3 times a week.
8. A common effect of Fibromyalgia is bad memory. I have it in abundance. I keep to do lists and charts to keep myself organized. This helps to get me excited about finishing a goal as well as keeps my brain straight!
I know that there are people living in pain far, far worse than mine. And there are people who have never lived in pain. No matter your experience, I hope this sheds some insight into working through adversity.
At the end of the day, I have a passion that cannot be silenced. I try not to let time get in the way of pursuing that dream. What I mean by that is this: It might take me longer than I think it should to get some tasks finished. I might need to rest and take care of my body before I can move on and conquer. I’m learning to be okay with that. Passion and dreams do not have an expiration date. Take your abilities one step at a time.
I created these two images based on how I feel in pain.
One, a ripping apart of the body, an explosion within.
The other, a sinking, suffocating feeling as time passes you by.
Maybe one of these images resonate with you. Maybe you know the feeling.