Song of the Week: “Slow It Down” by @thelumineers
This song stops me in my tracks every time it plays. I’ve used it as a pillow to lay my head down on during times when I’ve felt defeated, overwhelmed, and discouraged.
One of my favorite lines of any song is in this song:
And when she stood, she stood tall
It takes a lot to stand up every time you get knocked down–especially when you’re getting knocked down over and over again. And sometimes you just can’t stand up after every knockout. But I tell you this, when you do stand up to all the struggles life’s been throwing you, people will notice and stare in awe.
This song comforts me in a blanket of understanding when I don’t have the strength to stand, but encourages me to gather the courage to do so. Maybe it can do the same for you. 💙
Do any of you feel a similar connection to this song? Or have a song that makes you feel a similar way?
A word I love. A word I repeat in my head day in and day out. A constant reminder that I am stronger than any difficulty I am facing.
Physical strength is great. Without physical strength I wouldn’t have been able to get up to bat every time I had a migraine during a really important game. I wouldn’t have been able to endure the multiple nurses and endless prodding by needles when my veins were being stubborn during blood drawings. It’s a strength I’ve learned how to control and can be seen by others around me.
Mental and emotional strength takes a much stronger person to master. How many plans do you have to cancel, trips you have to miss, crying breakdowns you have to endure, anxiety attacks you have to conquer, etc, does it take for one person to truly give into the mental and emotional pain of chronic illness and pain?
I wish I could count on my hands the number of times I’ve broken down in extreme frustration, anger, sadness, the like due to health issues that piled on top of me until I felt like I was suffocating. But I can’t, because I don’t have that many hands.
It was worse in the years prior. With age, and experience, comes maturity. Lately, I’ve displayed more emotional and mental strength than I thought was capable of. It helps to have an encouraging support system who constantly tells you how strong you are. But instead of feeling like you’re getting an ego boost, you feel proud.
Proud that you are still fighting. Proud that you aren’t letting the difficulties that pile up, win. Proud that you are mentally and emotionally strong enough to show the world that no matter what, you will continue to walk through your journey with your head held high.
Fortitude is a word I repeat in my head every single day. I’ll be damned if I let my adversities beat me down.
Having to always cancel plans, be left out of activities, know that you can’t do some of the things most people can, and always having to explain yourself, it’s easy to become worried about what others think of you. I wonder what they think when I try to explain why I can’t go on the hiking trip with everyone (for example) because my head will start hurting just five minutes in and the rest of the time will be like a living migraine filled nightmare for me. I used to fear people would think I was just making excuses or something. I’d fear that they would judge me for what I couldn’t do, and not for what I can do: which is fight a debilitating battle against head pain. There have been multiple instances where people don’t understand the severity of it and will say something like “oh come on! Don’t be a baby!” In which case I try my best not to get upset and defensive, knowing some people wouldn’t last an hour with a migraine while hiking 7 miles up and down a mountain (and from experience I know it feels like you would rather pluck your head off than continue hiking)
I’ve gotten over that fear though, because I know I don’t need to explain myself to everyone. The people who are close to me understand and don’t need an explanation anymore. The people who are close to us won’t demand an explanation. I also know that everyone has their own battles. Why should I judge them when I don’t know what they’re possibly going through? The saying “you can’t really understand a persons experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes” couldn’t be more true.
If you get over the fear of what people think of you, you will do so much more in your life and feel so much more comfortable and confident 🙌🏼✌🏼️
Being positive about yourself is never a bad thing, so be proud of who you are! ☝🏼️Despite the past 10 yrs (or so) of dealing with these headaches, I still have a lot to be grateful for. I’m compassionate, kind and goofy 😁I’m resilient and strong💪🏼. I dance wildly in front of crowds and don’t care what people think💃🏼I smile even when it seems impossible. It may come across as boastful, but really I’m just grateful for how I’m able to stay myself throughout this crazy ride. 💖
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about myself. Not only due to the obvious causes (aging, growing, maturing, etc) but due to my chronic pain as well. My chronic pain has given me a lot of insight into why I think and act the way I do sometimes.
See, my daily headaches have taken control of my life. They control my day, what I do during the day, who I see, my ability to work, play and exercise. They control whether or not I have to cancel plans or if I can go out and be my social self. They control what I eat and when I sleep. I’ve lost a lot of control in my life to these headaches. They’ve taken the reins on this one.
Starting this blog has resulted in me really digging into some of my emotions, feelings and reactions that I have because of my headaches. I take a lot more time to actually think about myself and my situation. Recently, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more of a controlling person. Molding myself to where I have that personality trait where I want to control the things around me and sometimes try to control what the people around me are doing. It’s not the most endearing quality and can often make me come off as being unreasonable.
I hadn’t noticed this until pretty recently. While I’m not proud of it, I can try to explain it.
Losing so much control in your life to something like chronic pain results in you wanting to control whatever else you can in so you aren’t left feeling completely subordinate to your pain. It’s a subconscious thing I guess. Feeling like if you can’t control so many aspects in your day and life, why not try to control whatever you can? While my headaches control my pain level, I can control my reaction and feelings like anger, frustration, optimism, faith, etc. (although it’s much easier said than done.) However, because my headaches control my plans throughout the day, I think I subconsciously sometimes try to control other people’s plans so that I don’t feel totally left out. This is one situation, among others, that I need to work on. I’m sure I could think of many more examples regarding this idea of control.
Some people who know me may read this and laugh and think I’ve always been this way despite my headaches, but I like this explanation better. I’m hoping that other people in the chronic pain/disorder/illness community can tell me that I’m not alone in this feeling. That I’m not the only one who has noticed a loss of control in their life, while also gaining a more controlling personality.
Everyone around us has their personality flaws. While some flaws people are born with, others they have developed due to a situation we might not notice they’ve been through or are currently facing. Instead of brushing someone off because they’re too noncommittal, stand-offish, or controlling, try to be patient and understand that sometimes these flaws develop from a place of pain, experience and struggle.