We have to make the distinction that we are more than what we battle with. I am more than my pain. More than my migraines. More than my fibromyalgia. More than this battle. It is important to cognitively separate ourselves from our conditions. To know we have a life to fit into our illness. Choices to make that ensure we have a life in there. Living With our illness.
Yet, when I think about the fact we are more than our battle… I think that battle is a massive portion or our Daily Existence.
Not our Identity. Which is significantly more substantial. I am a so much more than my illnesses. My illnesses have, of course, changed me as I have adapted and reacted to the constant stressor in my life and compromised to enable myself to cope with the illness. Naturally changed me in many ways. But obviously I am a fully developed person that goes far beyond my illness.
But the battle is a massive portion of our Daily Existence and that is something that is pretty fundamental. I am constantly wading through pain of around 7-9 on the pain scale. That means my choices on what I do and how I do it in the day are limited and inhibited by that pain. So while I may say I am more than my battle the battle molds my day. Mold how I think, how I act, what I do, what I plan on doing and when I do things and certainly how I do things.
So people say at times, in different ways, don’t let the pain choose your life for you. Don’t be afraid to live your life. Don’t not do things because of the pain. Live your life, because the pain will be there regardless. Fact is this; pain designed this game and we have to play by its rules in order to survive. Some of those rules? Pacing. Moderation. Don’t exceed limitations. What happens when you don’t play? More pain. So the battle is a constant game of trying to keep the pain from exploding into more pain. It is the rules. We know we are not in charge here.
We also know as long as we follow the rules we can live our lives… as gently as possible, within moderation and carefully pacing. We do not fear living. People who believe we fear our pain, like doctors often say, such that we fear living… don’t grasp that we have to live differently. It isn’t that we didn’t want to go out with you, but we decided to do a different thing… and we can’t do two things… not with pacing. We don’t live in fear of the pain, we Are in pain. We are not lazy, we are doing exactly what we should be doing to not increase our pain. Just a pained lifestyle is all.
That is how I see the battle. As a specific lifestyle we are locked into. One that means we have to live slower than our fast paced society deems normal. One that demands we look at our limitations and not exceeding them. I am more than my battle… but I live By the rules of my battle, so as to maintain less flare ups of pain. And we have a lot of rules we add in there to help reduce our suffering. We add to the game. The lifestyle becomes ingrained in us, just as the battle is a permanent fixture. Bringing the pain and us trying to reduce or manage it as best we can. It is a significant part of our lives. Continuous and endless.
Nevertheless, we are more than what we battle with. We are also vastly changed by what we battle with. Pain experienced for a long period of time changes people. This battle is a brutal one. One we don’t always want to survive. We are more than our battle And our battle made us more than we were.