I’ve been through some hellish times in my lifetime. Tragedy, loss, sadness and abuse to name a few. Not that I’m any different than the normal person. Well, normal people probably didn’t grow up with literally crazy parents. My point here is that it took me a long time to break the bad cycle and learn the elements of happiness.
Happiness can be described as the stillness that comes when a person is genuinely appreciative of all they have and can be immersed in immense gratitude for even the smallest thing.
There was a short time, five years or so, that I was extremely happy. Having left a deep dark world behind. I managed to find a perfect man, a good job and a promising college education with the dream of doing something fun for a career. The world seemed to gleam with possibilities. I was fully aware of the world and all the beauty in it. I lived each day with laughter, love and light. Even though I didn’t have everything that I wanted, I had everything that I needed. I knew that if I thought good thoughts and prayed to the Lord that everything would turn out just right. I married my prince charming and armed with two dogs and a cat; we moved into our dream home.
It was here that I fell on my sacrum on asphalt. I was kicking a ball for my dog, Joey. I hadn’t realized that I was standing on ice. I could have won Americas Funniest Home Videos. As I kicked the ball, both feet flew up in the air and I smacked down hard. I felt the impact on my sacrum and the pain traveled all the way up my spine and I ended up with a splitting headache.
I’d always been clumsy. I’ve always had a hard time recovering from falls. Usually, when I fall, it takes months of physical therapy to recover. I’ve learned how to take care of myself after a fall. Ice, heat, motrin, tins unit and repeat. I settled in for a few days of post fall pain and knew it would be over in a few days. However, the pain never left. In fact, along with the expected back muscle pain, my hands became numb. Then my arms started to hurt, then my shoulders, then legs, hips, knees. Everything hurt!
Thus, fibromyalgia took over. I had always endured pain. As far back as I can remember, I have dealt with pain. I thought that it was normal. Any time I would complain, I was told that I was too young to have pain. So, I stopped complaining. All doctors wanted to do was give me antidepressents.
After the fall, it took multiple doctors, a spinal fusion, months and months of physical therapy and a whole lot of complaining before I was allowed court with a Rheumatologist. I hadn’t worked in months, I had dropped out of school and I was living day to day on neurological pain medicine. Codeine pain killers didn’t work, Motrin wasn’t working, I couldn’t sleep and I was in the deep, dark depths of depression. Finally, I had a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia along with Degenerative Disk Disease and Osteoarthritis. Add this to the pituitary tumor, ptsd, anxiety and depression that I had been diagnosed with previously.
I had lost happiness. No glimmer caught my eye. My God had abandoned me. I was lost.
I’m not saying that I’ve found the happy again. I can see it just out of reach. Sometimes I can even smell it. But, she’s across a vast chasm and I cannot reach her.
I mean, I know what it means to be happy. I know how to be grateful. I know what it feels like to have a light inside, the mindful clarity of my feet under me. But I don’t feel it in my heart any longer. It’s like looking at a menu, you know what the meal is supposed to taste like, but you cannot actually taste it, it doesn’t quench your hunger. The pain has taken it’s place. I’ve only realized this today. Almost a year and a half after the fall… I’ve forgotten the key to unlock my happiness. As in, I cannot get my brain to accept even looking for it. All I get are pain signals like putting your hand in a fire. Geez, if you’ve never felt this sort of nerve pain, you really never know what it’s like. And that makes me so sad, overwhelmed and hopeless.
I will leave this on a positive note… I now have multiple doctors that understand my position. They cannot fathom the pain. Nor can the understand that I have limited capabilities when it comes to advocating for myself, ordering medications, making appointments or remembering to take them. But, they listen and take action. For that, I am thankful.
Dear Father, if you have chosen to make me keep this pain, at least give me happiness as you have promised in Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”