Bad Ass Chronic Pain Warrior: Taking off the Armour for a minute

Things have been hard, lately. Depression, anxiety, and chronic pain wise, I mean.

It’s the ebb and flow of things; some months are easier than others, and right now…it’s harder to keep my chin up. In addition to the chronic pain stuff, the mental junk is weighing me down.

Admitting that it’s been hard is something I don’t do all that often. I am guilty of trying to silence those parts of my reality because I was taught not to focus on my struggles, but rather my achievements. Nobody likes a Negative Nancy, right? But recently, I’ve learned how detrimental that is, and just how much it doesn’t help bring clarity or acceptance to the situation. So here I am; writing about it.

I’m exhausted. I’m stressed, I’m in chronic pain, I’ve just broken my toe–which is an additional annoyance more than anything. Not to mention, my youngest son is going to need surgery on his arm at some point in the near future and I’m trying to process/carry that.

It’s hard, you know? I can never wish away this disorder, because its through this particular combination of DNA that make up my beautiful sons. I am who I am both because of this disorder and in spite of it; and so are they, and I wouldn’t change a thing about them.

But it’s harder than I thought to constantly maintain a positive disposition about the real challenges my sons will face in their lives when I know exactly what those challenges are; when those challenges often smack me down.

In August, we’ll find out if my youngest can wait another six months for the surgery to remove the bone growth in between his radius and ulna before it becomes problematic, or if we’ll need to operate sooner rather than later. The bone growth is beginning to push his radius and ulna apart, and there is worry of potential damage to the joint.

The longer it’s left, the more problems will arise, but if it’s slow-growing, we’ll be able to put it off until he’s a little older. He’s only in grade one right now, and although I had my first surgery in grade two, I’d really like to put it off until he’s a bit older, if we can.

Also in August, I’ll be seeing my specialist to determine if the bone growth causing problems for me on my right rib cage needs to go, among other things. My surgery, if required, will be based around my youngest child’s surgery needs. If we’re good to wait on him, I’ll get mine out of the way so I can deal with his down the road without that looming over me.

Either way, multiple surgeries are in the immediate future, and that is constantly on my mind, too: the complicated matter of how best to navigate these previously uncharted and unfamiliar waters.

But it’s really not all doom and gloom around here. While depression, anxiety and chronic pain consistently make themselves known, I’m determined to not let them completely drive every aspect of my life. I guess I can accredit my stubborn willfulness there.

I just don’t want my sons to miss out on all the wonderful, good things life has to offer, so I try not to miss out on things. After all, kids learn best by watching; and if they see me constantly striving to do the things I love despite of my bad pain days, maybe that’ll help arm them with the coping tools they’ll need later in life to lead happy, fulfilling lives despite their disorder and pain.

But I also want them to know it’s okay to feel bummed out and overwhelmed, to need to set all that heavy baggage down for a moment and truly acknowledge the depths of your own strength and determination.

Living with chronic pain, depression, and/or anxiety isn’t easy; it takes a hell of a lot of effort and energy, and it’s okay and perfectly normal to not always feel strong. There are more people out there coping with similar situations, and you’re really not as alone as you think; so reach out. Talk about it, then acknowledge that you, my dear, are a bad ass chronic pain warrior.

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