A while ago on my forum Medical Musings with Friends , I posted a segment called “Any Questions?”
I wanted to invite my forum members to ask me anything about my life, my disease, my writing etc. It was an “open book” kind of segment.
The recurring question, or theme to the questions, was; “how do you manage to write when you are in extreme pain?”
Given I have just had my first major book published; My Medical Musings, A Story of Love, Laughter, Faith and Hope; Living with a Rare Disease it seems a very appropriate question.
For me writing and pain are so intertwined so my answer may not be expected.
I’m currently in an extreme pain cycle (which is a civilized way of putting it).
My bone disease is progressing and my entire skeleton seems to be under attack.
Put plainly, I hurt!
Pain Is So Personal
Pain is such a highly personal experience and while we can all relate to varying levels of high pain, we all have individual reactions to it.
Some people with high level chronic pain withdraw altogether. Some cry, some laugh, some are silent, some sleep, some can’t sleep, some eat, some can’t eat.
Writing Takes The Pain Out Of My Body
Others, like me, tend to talk or write about it. Partly I talk about it because it names it. Writing takes the pain out of my body and puts it into words. It helps me acknowledge it and make changes to my day, my week and even the month ahead in order to manage it….or to at least think I’m managing it.
It is so cathartic and as I write, even though my pain remains, I feel a sense of calm and peace.
Pain Can’t Have All Of Me
Another recurring question was; “How do you cope with the stress and anxiety of pain and disease?”
Pain is my constant companion but I am determined to remain joyful. Joy can be in the moment, or it can be looking ahead to anticipated joy.
A good dose of happy day dreaming never hurt anyone. It certainly helps take the focus from my pain onto happier things.
Pain takes so much from us, no matter your level of pain, no matter your disease.
I know, believe me I know, it’s not as simple as putting a smile on your face and thinking happy thoughts. It’s definitely not easy.
Living with pain is like walking through a battlefield. You try and move forward, cowering and wondering where the enemy is and where the next attack will be coming from.
Like soldiers though we learn to fight another day. Chronic pain keeps us constantly wounded, all to varying degrees but no one wants to be defeated. We want to find ways to reclaim our lives. We need to find ways to conquer our enemy.
Everyone’s battle is different but every battle story is so inspiring and encouraging. Muse upon your own story and look at what you have achieved despite your pain, with your pain, through your pain.
You’ll be amazed to see just how strong you really are!
If you love something, such as writing or any hobby, try doing it when you are in a high level of pain. See if the activity does begin to lower your pain and the anxiety it can bring. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving it a go
Any Other Questions?
The other questions posed to me were mostly related to my writing. One of my forum members asked me; “how do you come up with writing ideas and do you plan your blog posts”?
I tend to have blog titles pop into my head. Once I settle on a title I just set time aside to write. I don’t stew over it or structurally plan my blog posts. It’s literally writing from the heart, as if talking to friends, or jotting entries in a journal. My book was written in the same way.
I find this approach allows me more freedom. Once I’ve got it all down, I re read and edit and then pretty much publish the post immediately. In general a blog post takes me two hours from start to finish.
I was also asked; ” Did you write before you were diagnosed with a chronic disease?”
I have always written. I loved English and English literature at school and I later studied Freelance Journalism and Non Fiction Writing. I wrote a short book in 1989 about the history and restoration of a historic church building in our local community. I was the administrator for the restoration project to bring it back to it’s former glory, so it was told from my perspective. I interviewed many community members who had vivid memories of the building and it’s uses from 1916. It was such an amazing project.
In my Management/Leadership career, writing communications, speeches, training programs etc, was crucial, so my passion for the pen continued and was able to flourish.
A fun question asked by one forum member was; “Sam, if you could be a child again with a million possibilities for a career, country to live etc what would it be??? It has to be different to your actual life story so far! “
My answer was easy……I would stay in the UK, rather than immigrating to Australia, and run a boutique Bed and Breakfast in the English countryside…..or maybe move to France and buy a Chateau (Yes, I do watch far too many episodes of “Escape to the Country” and “Escape to the Chateau”).
There were a few more questions but I’ll end with this one; “What’s one tip you would share with the rest of us with chronic disease?”
I love this question.
I have a bit of a catch phrase for this…
“Chronic Illness is a part of our lives, not all of our lives”
I also write about my pain to encourage others to feel free to talk about their experiences. After all, “a problem shared is a problem halved” right?
As I ponder today about how I’m going to try and move through the next hour, day and week ahead, one thing is certain….my pain can’t be easily removed.
I also wrote a blog post on this topic a little while ago…A Case Of Chronic Illness Overload
If you have any questions you’d like to ask me, I’d love to answer them. Please pop them in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.
Here is the Publishers sale link: My Medical Musings..The Book
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story