I have had more than my fair share of pain, and it all started in my 30s. I went six years undiagnosed with Lyme disease, which took three horrific years to beat with three additional years to rebuild my body after the war. Since then, I have lived with residual aftermaths and pains. Through my journey, I realized I am not alone. Upwards of 80 percent of the American population endures chronic pain of some kind every day.
Chronic pain can be debilitating even on the best of days as it wears on one’s energy and attitude. We put on a happy face despite the pain, press on, and do our best, yet the weight of it all gets pretty heavy. Perhaps you understand this type of pain or have a loved one who suffers on a regular basis.
I wrote a helpful pamphlet called Conquering Chronic Pain that might be of encouragement for those suffering in silence. I thought I’d share one principle from my booklet that I call MUD: Madness, Unhappiness and Depression. Chronic pain not dealt with from an emotional standpoint will become a poison of itself, destroying any chance of a normal life. I know because I fell into the MUD early on with Lyme disease.
I made the tragic mistake of asking “Why me?” This question doesn’t serve anyone any good and will lead you down a path of darkness. We may never know why we had to suffer or live with chronic pain, and it doesn’t matter. We must face reality and move on! Otherwise, we literally get stuck in the MUD. We will never feel better emotionally, mentally, spiritually or physically when in the MUD.
Anger helps fight the battle, but long term, anger is a cancer that erodes every ounce of joy we have. After my nine-year battle, I still wasn’t feeling as good as my medical reports said I should be feeling. My doctor did everything within in scope of practice and finally said to me, “You have issues you must deal with.” He was right – I was angry! I was so upset that I got bit by a tick and got a disease I didn’t deserve. I didn’t eat myself fat or smoke and get cancer. No, I got bit by a tick that transferred Lyme disease to my body while I was out in nature doing something healthy and good.
My anger prevented me from overcoming the last hurdle of health. It wasn’t easy to let it all go because I had years of it built up. I was angry at doctors who told me I was just getting old or it was all in my head. By the way, if a doctor ever tells you this, RUN! I was angry at myself for not fighting harder to get a proper diagnosis sooner. I knew within three days that I had Lyme disease, but “experts” said Lyme disease did not exist in California. Lesson learned: trust your gut and be your own advocate.
I had to peel away the layers of anger and deal with them one by one. They were harming me and became yet another enemy within. I had to release my frustrations to God and entrust Him to carry them for me. I couldn’t carry the weight of it all any more, but He could. It took some time, lots of prayer and journaling, but I freed myself of the anger. As soon as I did, I felt better.
I still live with weird and strange side effects of the disease, and I never know what is around the corner. What I do know is: I am not alone, it isn’t in my head, and hope exists! I have built up some incredibly strong fighting muscles and know that with God, I can conquer my chronic pain! My wish for you is that you would have the courage to believe it can be better because it can!
I share my entire health journey with warts and all in my latest book, Defy Your Diagnosis: Overcome Any Obstacle with the FIT Life Formula. I hope you get a copy, find encouragement and decide to defy YOUR diagnosis today!