Living with chronic pain and illness is hard. It is physical hell and mentally exhausting. It is also extremely isolating. Chronic pain takes over your life in every possible way. Your friendships suffer because your health is unreliable. You become bitter that no one else understands what you feel, they don’t understand why you can’t go, what you can’t do. There is no real way to explain it. How can you possibly put these feelings and sensations into words?
I spent quite awhile looking for a support group. There are lots of support groups for many different chronic conditions. There are not a lot of support groups for 30 year old Mothers who have had more than a dozen Frankenstein spine surgeries spinkled with episodes of MRSA. <SIGH>Maybe I was looking for something too specific.
I gave up looking and just accepted that I was the only person in the world (or, at least, the immediate area), under the age of 60, that has had something even relatively similar to the freak show of procedures I have endured. No one understands what it’s like and I am not going to keep trying to explain it. And so I began to withdraw from everyone around me. I have met some truly wonderful, beautiful, amazing souls over the last few years, but the pain was winning. I accepted that this was a cold, dark, painful road and that I was basically alone.
About 2 months ago, by an absolutely random set of circumstances, I met someone, in my age range, with a story that almost perfectly mirrors mine. MIND BLOWN. There they were, in real life, finishing my sentences about what it is that I, err, WE, feel. Just like members of some top secret, super elite, private club, we had this instant bond that no one else could possibly understand.
My friend has been on this journey for a longer than I. They are more accepting of the challenges we face in life, the permanence of the situation. Having already found the balance between what can and cannot be done, understanding the limitations and restrictions. Seeing this person living a life, that is not full of misery and resentment, is such a beautiful sight. I am weary to use the word hope for fear of its toxicity in my life previously, but it makes me feel BETTER. It motivates me to want to move past the sadness and loneliness. It makes me want to find the peace in accepting that this is my life. Most of all, it makes me want to beat the pain.
Having someone that gets IT has helped me make more progress in 2 months than I have in the 4.5 years since I started this journey. I was convinced feeling lonely and isolated was just another pitfall of chronic illness. Never in my life did I ever expect to find someone who could relate so well, and help so much. I do not believe everything happens for a reason. That’s just a bullshit phrase people use when they don’t have anything of real value to say. However, I absolutely believe that this person was brought into my life for a reason.
As much as I hate that someone else has been through the same hell as I, I am grateful to have found my Injury Twin.