I come to this table as a well-seasoned warrior with battle scars and memories of the many fights I have fought and overcome. I was blessed with a stubborn refusal to give in and succumb when challenges present themselves. Some may call this resilience or a survival personality type. I’ve also read that it can be considered a growth versus fixed mindset. Regardless of the title, the point is that I don’t give in or give up. There have been many times where I was crawling on my hands and knees, or clutching my gut from an unexpected life sucker-punch, but I’ve kept going. I knew there was something better, something more than the environment I had grown up in. I chose to thrive.
Then I started hurting. The pain started off quietly, happening only during my monthly cycle and manageable with a heating pad and some rest. I chalked it up to being in my very late 30’s/early 40’s and bringing four children into the world. I figured the parts were simply starting to get rusty. Then the pain started to happen more often, catching me off guard. It was still mostly manageable with over-the-counter pain medicine and moving a little slower.
I can pinpoint when the game changed enough for me to realize I was no longer in control of the ball. It was when my oldest child came home from college, and I was in the process of trying to move away from chemical-laden feminine products on the market. The first two months were challenging as I tried a few different alternative natural methods. Things went south in the beginning of the third month, during an evening out with my daughter. We went to the movies and little did I know that a war was starting to rage in my uterus. By the end of the evening, my daughter had to drive us back home while I was hyperventilating in pain and trying my best to convince her that no, I didn’t need to go to the hospital and yes, please drive a little faster so I could lay down.
This was just the beginning of my personal battle with Endometriosis.
Fast forward to my now – the pain is daily and I never know what to expect. Often times, I will wake up feeling decent with a discomfort level of a 2-3 which then rapidly escalates if I get too sassy and try to do normal things like grocery shopping or being out and about for more than 3-4 hours. The pain gets unbearable and my energy downshifts like the main power breaker with a big handle and bolded words, “ON” and “OFF”. The strong sensation of being pulled to the ground overwhelms as I can feel my features on my face reflect pure exhaustion, which for the record I found out recently also can look like I’m drugged. It takes everything I have to move.
This is the norm when you are in constant pain, it is exhausting. Your body is working so hard to deal with all of the pain signals that are being transmitted on your neural pathways that it drains your energy faster than a cheap dollar store battery.
Between always being in pain or discomfort and drained, it has become very difficult to adult as well as be a mother and try to earn a living. It’s been like this for almost 3 years now, and here’s where I’m going to do the big, scary thing and be authentic – I fell into the rabbit hole. I struggle to this day with frustration, shock, anger, rage, depression, and impatience. Some days, any or all of these could eat me alive if I allowed them to. This puts me a dark and negative place, which in turn escalates the pain in my physical body.
I recently learned to practice focusing on the good things in my daily present. To look for the blessings, big, small and even the micro ones that we may take for granted as “normal”. Doing this gives me a boost of strength to keep going, to keep fighting to get better. I learned all of this by accident, it was not a blast of enlightenment heralded in with the requiem of angels singing and blinding white light. One day, I got really mad. I mean the really ugly, this shit is going to scare someone, kind of mad. The negativity of the whole situation, the frustration and anger of not being able to live how I want to live, and the helplessness and weakness caused by the pain itself proved to be too much, and I broke. I raged, I cried, I swore at everything, and threw a downright absolute fit. Then as I was huffing and puffing and blowing all of the houses in, a thought very quietly crept in and made itself known – “Do I accept this as my reality, or do I reject this?”
It stunned me with its simplicity, and admittedly at first I told the thought to bugger off, in no uncertain terms. I was allowed to feel crappy damn it, let me feel what I want. Then another thought came through, as quiet yet firm as before, “Does this serve me? Is this helping me in any way?” Now, my inner child is a strong little lady who is made of fire, and the flames burn anything that comes in its path that it doesn’t agree with. However, when that second thought came through, it caused the little one in my unconscious to pause and consider. After a short while, the conclusion was easy – no, it did not serve me to focus on any of this, it only made it worse.
The natural evolution moved forward in asking and seeking out what DID, in fact, help me to feel better. Day by day, I started looking for the blessings. It started off in the micro-blessings range, such as being grateful for a hot cup of coffee in the morning or being able to walk around my house that day. This groundwork of recognizing the micro blessings paved the way into opening my eyes to the bigger blessings and good things that I was surrounded with, and had been all along if I had the proper eyes to see them. I have a loving and supportive husband who understands and helps me without question or resentment, I am blessed with my two younger children (the older two have grown and flown the nest) who give me hugs and unconditional love every day, I have everything I need and a lot of what I want, and I am surrounded by people who live their lives in examples of being positive. Those are only a few to mention, which is an even greater blessing to me in itself. I am surrounded and uplifted by a plentiful amount, enabling me to select a few as examples. It wasn’t always this way, taking a lot of work to get to this place.
It takes practice, and the willingness to try when we are adjusting how we perceive things in our immediate environment.
It always feels slightly painful at first when we begin seeing things in the light, versus in the shadows of negativity. The most important part that I’m learning out of all of this is that I’m worth doing all of this inner work for. The immediate benefit is that I’m able to balance out the pain in my physical body with the strength and the love that I have in my soul. It no longer crushes me, instead, it gives me hope.
I think hope is the beautiful cape that our inner-hero wears which then lifts us up and gives us the power to fly.
Blessings to you,
Copyright 2015-2016 Heather Durling – Flames to Feathers. All Rights Reserved.