Recently I had a major life change in addition to the chronic pain that has left me fearing my future. It is natural for anyone to fear their future when something happens that drastically changes their lives. However, when you live with a disability or chronic pain, the future can seem even more terrifying.
Because of my physical issues related to pain and the fact the stress has multiplied the pain to an unbearable degree, work is difficult for me. I am looking for part-time work and I write. I am trying to pursue a dream but the problem is dreams, and jobs for that matter, take a certain level of physical exertion that is proving difficult. I can handle a couple hours of sitting and about an hour of standing. Put together, that doesn’t leave a 40-hour work week in the cards at the moment.
Many people who live with chronic pain probably face similar issues. If I am 34 and have a hard time taking care of myself, what will my life be at 40? 50? 60? Will I ever be successful and if so, in what? I have always been told “You are taking a long time to find yourself.” When I got injured I stopped looking altogether. But what does it mean to find you?
Does it mean to find a job and make money? To find a passion? What if your passion and your job are not the same? And what if neither of those is possible right now? How do you find yourself when you don’t even feel like yourself anymore? I feel like, besides my few classes, that the real me disappeared a while ago. The core is still there, but the things that made me “me,” the passion, the desire, the go-get-it is gone.
There are people who live with chronic pain their whole lives and still manage to be successful, but the future is a terrifying prospect when it’s hard to see past the next procedure, doctor visit or test, all while hoping someone, somehow, will come up with a way to help you. Sometimes it seems as if my future is nothing more than waiting to win the “medical lottery” where someone will finally say, “oh, this is what the problem is, here is how we fix it.” And even so, the longer we live a half life in chronic pain, will we still be the same if they find a cure?