Young, Sick and Invisible

My illness has shaped me,
But it does not define me.

Using Pain to Unlock Passion: Step 1 = Grieving


Mourning

“No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.”

- C.S. Lewis

Well, I’m stuck again, or, with practicing my new approach to speaking, I’ve hit a roadblock and need strategies to get over it or go around it. Whatever works at this point I’d take. I’ve read several articles over the years about death, loss, significant change, illness, disability, and other related topics. They all seem to point to a key starting point to using my pain to unlock my passion- the grieving process. I need to let myself feel the pain. I need to face my new reality and grieve for what I’ve lost. I need to go through all of the emotions to get to acceptance, adapting, and how to pursue my passion.

Denial quote

The problem is I don’t think I’ve ever properly grieved for anything and there are several emotions and stages in the traditional “5 stages of grief process” that I’m not good at feeling. With every loss I’ve experienced I may have cried or felt sad for a bit, but to cope in the end I went numb. Locked my feeling away so that I could keep going. It’s become part of the pain and baggage I’ve been dragging around with me that’s hold me back.

So if I’m going to use my pain to unlock my passion and I need to experience my pain how do I actually do that? When I was in therapy one moment that really stuck out for me was after explaining how detached I often feel and how I remember some of my most traumatic moments not looking out from my own eyes but as if I’m watching myself from the outside the psychologist explained that it’s my own subconscious’ way of survival. That it has to shut down during difficult moments because if it let me feel what I would truly feel I would break down and not survive. So my pain, including the diagnoses I’ve gotten in the past few years for my chronic conditions, is all packed away. I don’t know how to face it or process it. I know I need to though because it’s like putting a band aid on a broken leg and trying to keep going. It’s not going to heal right if I don’t face it. I’m just scared. I’m scared if I face my pain, my traumas, everything packed away, the truth about what having these chronic conditions means for me and for the rest of my life- I’m afraid if I actually face that I’ll break down and I won’t be able to keep going.

Grieving quote

I’m planning to try therapy again. Not just talk therapy like I did before and didn’t really help me. But I’m planning to try different forms of somatic therapy that will incorporate a more holistic approach to mental heath that will include my body in the processing and healing process. I’m scared and I think the fear that it won’t work is the worst part. But I finally signed up.

Has anyone else been able to go through the grieving process for your chronic conditions, illnesses, trauma, pain, or anything else in the baggage you carry around? What worked and what didn’t? I plan to continue following up with this post and this process and welcome any feedback anyone has on it. Because knowing I’m not alone helps me feel less scared.

Grief quote

Until next Friday,

Amy L.

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