The One Positive Thing My Pain Gave Me

Dec. 28th 2015

I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years. When I was in high school I worked in a kennel, a retail store and even worked a few years as a bicycle mechanic. While in college I helped support myself by working as a model. It paid well, was a lot of fun, and I meet some really great people in that industry. However my favorite job was working as a research assistant in a molecular biology lab. While modeling was a lot of fun and good for my self esteem it was far more rewarding to be appreciated for my intellect than my body. Only a couple months after having my first scientific publication however I had to make the most painful decision of my life and quit my job at the lab knowing that was likely the end of my career in science.

A year later now it still hurts thinking about everything that I lost. It’s easy to focus on the things we lose because they are so obvious, there is a sudden void in your life that you can’t pretend doesn’t exist. And the stress of increasing medical bills and decreasing income just feels so unfair. I didn’t ask for this, I want to work, I want to support myself but I can’t. You get to a point where the loss of control leaves you feeling utterly helpless, especially when all your doctors have made it clear that can’t (or won’t) do anything to help you.

Therapy seems like a joke when things have gotten so bad that you are constantly depressed and know nothing will get better. It felt pointless but I went anyway simply because I had run out of things to try. To be fair my therapist did a fairly good job since I know I didn’t make it easy. After being told over and over again by various doctors at multiple pain clinics that there was nothing they could do for me I had no hope on my life ever improving.

Through therapy I realized that there had been one positive shift in my way of thinking because of my pain. I used to put my work above everything else in my life including my health and my relationships. I thought that was the responsible thing to do, that everyone should put their career above all else. I was raised to think that if you didn’t work hard you were lazy and if you weren’t utterly exhausted at the end of the day then you weren’t working hard enough.

This obsession with work had caused some issues in my relationships a few times and had I not been forced to change my view it likely would of kept causing me problems and could have even ruined my marriage. Now I am so grateful to have someone in my life who will support me no matter what and to have supportive friends and family. Losing so much has made me realize that I still haven’t lost the things that really matter in life and for that I am very grateful.

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