Interesting therapy session today which has struck me with another wave of acceptance and realisation of who I really am. Someone struck a chord today when they said they remembered WHO they were before chronic pain.
Some of you may know me a smiley, bright and obsessed with gardening. Gardening is my pain outlet. It’s my chance to achieve something in day to day life. It’s something to focus on when things get too difficult and the brain fog sets in. Truth it, I am in pain, day in and day out. OF course I do love gardening as I have found peace and solitude in it, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that I cannot escape pain.
I suffer from various pain causing illnesses. EDS, Fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint disorder, trigeminal nerve disorder and severe chronic pain in my face since my tumour removal. I get pain from environmental changes, weather, pollen count, noise, daily stresses. Triggers I can’t control.
I mourned my old life prior to pain today. That young woman who had nothing in her way. What would I have been without this pain? It’s not just a headache here and there; it’s infections, swelling, bleeding, congestion, full body pain, joint pain, not being able to communicate how I necessarily want to, extreme fatigue. It’s always there and I am not the person I used to be.I feel like my body is about 100 years older than it feels. I feel sick with pain, sick with the suggestion of ‘can’t you just take some pain killers?’, sick of those days where I still physically can’t get out of bed.
But today I realised that I have been trying to be the person I was prior to pain and I am never going to be that person.
I need to have the courage, the strength and the bravery to keep going and sometimes I am going to not be what you expect or were used to.
I can work towards my values to make my life as enjoyable as possible. I struggle. I struggle with normal, everyday things.
Finding that balance is hard. My gardening gives me a reason to give back to my family for their support.
There are good days and bad days but we hold special values in our hearts that drive us. They could be values of compassion to others and yourself, willingness, beauty or even ambition. You take what you want from those values, what you need to take from them, what drives you.
So my gardening isn’t about enjoying the process at all for me. That came with the persistence and drive to carry on, because of my values, my therapy. I didn’t just find something I loved and stuck with it. That all came in time. Enjoying the solitude and the space came first. Learning about what I was doing and making mistakes but still having the drive to carry on. That has all come from my various pain management therapies.
I do really enjoy gardening. But as I said, it came in time. It probably started when things actually went right (by pure coincidence!) and that gave me the boost to try that again or something else new. Then learning about wildlife came with it. Knowledge about pesticides. Just general knowledge about nature itself.
I suppose what I am trying to say is that I can base gardening around my values. I want to be as healthy as I possibly can, I want to spend time with my family, I want to learn about something that I enjoy and I want to do something good for the world to make a better future or our future generations.
So this is my accidental passion. I never expected to fall in love with gardening and wildlife as much as I have.