It’s not the pain you’re afraid of.
It’s not the tragedies.
It’s not the outcomes either.
All of them are predictable.
After a while, the pain makes sense. Throughout time, you become comfortable in your discomforts because at least these things make sense.
I have spoken with others that have lived with abuse and depression. I have spoken with others that have survived loss and those who live with chronic physical pain as well as addiction and other disorders. And there is a common thread which bonds us together.
I remember back when Mom was undergoing surgery for her spine. At this point, I had lost count of the surgeries she went through. She was always in pain. She was in terrible pain to say the least.
She was in the kind of pain that could only be managed by heavy medication. And she was tired of it. She was tired of the pain. She was tired of the surgeries. She wanted to feel better but each time someone came to offer hope, unfortunately, Mom was disappointed.
Before one of the last surgeries she had before Mom passed, she told me, “I’m afraid to let go of the pain.”
She told me, “I’m afraid to believe them when they say the surgery will help me because what if they do help me? What if the pain goes away and then it comes back again?”
She explained that most days the anticipation of the pain is worse than the pain itself.
“I’m afraid,” she told me.
“I’m can’t let go.”
The Old Man used to work with tools. I’m sure I’ve told you this before. One day, I watched The Old Man hit a chisel with a hammer. He missed a few times. He nearly broke his hand too but The Old Man didn’t stop. He wouldn’t stop. He just kept swinging down hard with the hammer until he finished with the chisel.
I remember watching him and wishing he would stop. I remember cringing the few times I saw The Old Man hit his hand.
I asked why he didn’t stop.
The Old Man told me, “Because when you stop, that’s when it starts to hurt.”
I often combine these two stories to make sense of the things I see happening in the world around me.
I understand why people continue with their life the way it is. And it’s not that they don’t want to stop. It’s not that they can’t. It’s the fear of the pain. It’s the fear of the unknown. It’s the fear of the, “What am I supposed to do now,” questions.
At my worst, my depression was strongest. I was afraid to smile. In fact, I hated smiling. I was afraid to laugh. I was afraid to have fun. In part; I was afraid because what if I looked like a fool? What if I laugh, only to find out that the joke is on me?
So I refused to laugh. I refused to try. I refused to smile because what do I do if I smile or laugh, and then all of a sudden, the depression comes back again.
Right now, there is a young man, dope sick as ever, wishing he could be anyone else.
Right now there is a young mom, nodding off.
Right now there is someone at a doctor’s office about to be turned on to a brand new (but acceptable) habit.
And meanwhile, the reason they stay sick is the same reason why Mom wouldn’t give in to the surgeons. The reason they won’t stop is the same reason the Old Man wouldn’t stop swinging his hammer. No one wants to feel the pain. No one wants to fear the anticipation of pain or sickness.
And maybe they want to stop.
Maybe they want to be better
but they can’t do it
because they can’t believe it
Meanwhile, there are people anxious and hoping to be helpful. Meanwhile, there are programs and centers established to help people become well again. But these programs come with hope and when you’re in a bad way, hope is a terrifying thing to have.
A very valuable friend of mine once told me, “Everyone is recovering from something.”
I agree . . .
Life happens to everyone.
Pain happens to.
I was reading an article the other day. The concept was based on the idea that everything happens for a reason.
I’m not sure what reason there is for a kid to be sick. I can’t say I understand what reason could possibly explain cancer. I can’t understand why good things happen to bad people and I don’t understand why bad things happen to good people.
It is hard for me to say, “Well, I guess this is just God’s will,” especially when someone senselessly dies or when tragic hits us at home.
I don’t know what reason could possibly explain some of the tragedies in my life. But to say they happened just so I could change, at least to me, is inaccurate.
I can’t always say everything happens for a reason but I can say everything I do happens for a reason. Whether my actions are regarding fear whether I act to better myself or whether I choose to simply remain and suffer, I can say, everything I have done in my life was done for a reason.
Am I stronger because of my past journeys?
Maybe . . .
Am I smarter because of my experiences?
I believe I am . . .
Just like my Mom, I was always afraid to let go of the pain because what if the pain came back?
What do I do then?
I was afraid of the anticipation.
Was afraid to feel better because what if I only feel better for a little while and then just like that, I’m right back where I started?
I was asked about my biggest catalyst in life.
I was asked what led me to make changes.
Want to know what happened?
People died. I lost things. I felt pain. I went through dark times. I went through unfortunate times and suffered losses that were not my fault. No one can tell me there was a good reason for these things. However , these things were a good reason for me to create change within me, for me, and by me.
Because me, I was just tired of feeling beaten. I was tired of being afraid. I was tired of feeling angry. I was tired of waiting for the next thing to go wrong.
When The Old Man passed, I had to learn to take care of myself. And when Mom passed, then I really had to learn how to take care of myself. When life happened, I learned to make changes; not because everything happens for a reason. No, I happened for a reason. Who I am is because of who I was and where I came from. I can see benefit though. I can see light in some of my darker memories. But as for reason; I am my reason for being me.
I know there is a reason why I talk. There are reasons why i struggle. There are reasons why I have fear and reasons why I sometimes stop when I know I should keep going.
The hardest thing I ever did was work to get out of this cycle.
And equally, the best thing I ever did was get out of this cycle.
I had to replace thought with action.
I had to learn how to continue.
I had to endure
I had to persevere
I had to keep going
And above all . . .
I had to learn how to stop giving up because quitting yourself can be habit forming. (Trust me on this)
As crazy as it sounds, pain can be habit forming.
After a while, the complications become simple and then dependable.
After a while, temporary becomes permanent.
I guess this is just my way of saying I didn’t want that for myself.
So is this the reason why bad things happen?
I don’t believe so.
I say bad things happen no matter what.
It’s what I do in response that happens for a reason.