In grade one I fell ill. I cried out to my mother than my head hurt hopping into her lap, then hurled macaroni and cheese up through my throat and onto her blouse. This must have been day one of 4,745 sick days in a row. There were no longer sick days and well days they were just days. Days where pain was a given and crying myself to sleep was simply routine. I cycled through doctors all speaking the same words that grew to infuriate me over time “I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to help you”. Some would stare me in the eye, others would look away and scratch their head. “you`ll probably grow out of it” they said. The problem was they said this in grade one and they said this in grade ten, eleven and twelve.
I was told time and time again I couldn’t be helped and that even that most intelligent specialists couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I began to reason that I was simply a bad person who deserves the pain. This was my first of many core beliefs. This was the small pebble that caused ripple effects until the day the hurricane occurs. My young mind was just trying to reason my new reality and deciding there was something fundamentally wrong with me was all I could come up with.
These beliefs built and built over time. There was no one to tell me, teach me or show me another way. That it simply wasn’t true or that I have value purely because I am me. I needed someone to be there for me, support me or tell me that sometimes, bad things just happen and it doesn’t mean anything bad about you.
The lack of answers surrounding my pain planted seeds of depression and hopelessness in me. The lack of ease caused anger and fear to grow. By the time I was a teenager I asked myself how I could possibly continue living a life where I miss out on so much. There was the pain from the chronic illness and then there was the pain from the lack of life in me and the lack of joy.
I am one of the lucky ones; my pain is now absent. Now that I am not at war with my body, I am to be the person I need growing up. The person to provide a comfort and a support for those navigating the hardships of chronic illness.
It is my understanding that being in a state of constant pain must be managed and supervised not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I now understand that when you treat something with only one side when there is four, you miss out. As adults when a child is suffering, we must not join them in their low place, but rather teach them and show examples on how we regulate our pain and emotions.
I have learned what can go wrong when you ignore ¾ of the puzzle. I have learned what can go right when you finally give attention to the other pieces. I am dedicated to spreading the message that when living a life with chronic illness, we must first look at the entirety of the person, not just the body. I am dedicated to offering support where so many children need it.
Please support The Mayfield Healing Project and all the children affected by chronic pain. We are not alone.
Author: Kristen Lindgren