Monthly Archives: December 2019

The darkness of my soul

I’ve slowly come to a realization–my life is becoming darker.

I remember in younger years, I loved watching shows like Cheers and Barney Miller, and movies like Airplane!, all light comedies that made me laugh. We watched sitcoms as a family, even The Simpsons and other laughfests, enjoying the warmth together.

But now I don’t. The trailers for comedy movies don’t appeal to me. Neither do tv shows. All I seem to want to watch are darkly-atmosphered programs like Fringe and X-Files and others of that ilk. These are my PEOPLE. Life is shadowed, bleak and horrible things happen to average people every day.

Keep in mind this is not a reaction to the current American political scene, though I’m sure that doesn’t help.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the main catalyst of this change is living with chronic pain. This change started perhaps nine years ago, when the fibromyalgia began to coalesce in my muscles and trigger points. It has been joined by osteoarthritis in multiple joints, chronic fatigue (which isn’t painful in itself but exacerbates dwindling abilities), sciatica, destroyed knees and more.  It’s a vicious cycle where pain causes inability to exercise and carry on normal life, which causes stress, which causes pain, which means you push yourself to even try to feel normal again, which causes pain, which…you get the idea.

Now, before you throw handfuls of advice at me–which everyone does, meaning to be helpful, and I know they think they’re trying– just….don’t. “If only you’d…” Yeah. If you’ve found something that works for you, that’s wonderful. My sister, Shawna Coronado, has become a guru on the anti-inflammatory protocol, which helps her osteoarthritis, incorporating diet, walking, etc. That’s great if you can walk more than 15 feet without an ice pick in your hip. Not necessarily something I can do.

Gluten-free? Tried that. Supplements? Take a dozen or so. Opioids? Thank God and the doctors for them, they take the edge off and I use them responsibly. Frog eyes? Maybe that will be the next suggestion. Maybe I’ll be desperate enough to try them.

Note that “chronic” pain doesn’t mean “constant.”

Some days it feels just like this picture looks. Really.

Some days, the pill combo makes the pain almost negligible. I almost always overdo then, just because I’m driven to try to catch up with my old efficient, multi-tasking, ACCOMPLISHED life.

Some days, it’s only the back/ wrists/ neck/ whatever it is today. Some days it’s cold and rainy and the barometer sets off a flare. Some days, like today, it’s sciatica, which for me is the worst pain ever. Worse than childbirth or pulled teeth. Intolerable and really untouchable with any of the meds, or heat, or cold packs.  No wonder the days and nights are sucked dry of any joy.

But apparently there is some science to this. Because the chronic pain keeps your brain firing on overtime, you lose gray matter, fear and anxiety and depression increase, and your brain loses its ability to turn off pain. See this article from the Carolinas Center.

It comes down to a fairly common feeling of hopelessness. Even things I used to find happiness in have gone by the wayside. Not only comedy shows, but other hobbies. Gardening used to be a true joy for me, but physical limitations make it difficult. I slug through on better days, but it will never be the same for me. Crafting becomes a temporary distraction from pain, rather than pursuit of a wonderful art form. I’ve lost a lot–a marriage, a career, the ability to travel freely, and more.

But one thing that still makes me happy, when I can sit long enough to do it, is writing my stories. Creating people, places and plots gives me a real escape, and I can enjoy the escape that faraway places and wild action provide. I hope you can enjoy them, too, especially knowing at what cost they are created.

For those of you who share these afflictions, I wish you warm days and many spoons. For those who don’t, please take a moment to understand those of us who wish things were different. Remember, you don’t have to “cure” us, but see if there isn’t something you can do to bring a little joy into the lives of anyone you encounter. You may not be able to see what’s happening inside their skin, and your effort may be the best thing that’s happened all day. Be someone’s best thing.



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