Why do I write? Why is there urgency in my words? Why do I hungrily capture images every day?
Most people who really know me, know that I’ve been struggling with (currently undiagnosed) chronic pain. It began about a year ago in my neck and shoulders, causing almost daily debilitating headaches. It began wearing me down to the point of exhaustion. The growing emotional pain and frustration led me to having to take a month off of work to recover.
It was a very terrifying low point in my life. My body was angry and uncontrollable. I didn’t know why. It swallowed up my mind in the process. The harder I tried to regain control, the further it slipped away.
For a long time, I didn’t reach out. I didn’t seek help. I thought I could do it on my own. I didn’t want to complain too much. “Everyone has their own problems to worry about”, I told myself. In my role as counsellor and care-giver, It was difficult to give up that position to become the receiver of care. I isolated myself. At time time, I didn’t see it. I had convinced myself that I was “okay”. I took the weight on and cried in silence. This went on for months.
My depression spun rapidly out of control. It was now an issue of survival. I couldn’t fake it anymore. I began to walk around numb and disassociated, no longer part of myself or my world. The struggle had swallowed up every part of me. I was obliterated. I was a ghost. I disappeared through the cracks in the sidewalk. I was too small to even feel afraid anymore.
Some tiny part of me survived though. Some tiny part saved me. I don’t remember when or how, but I made the choice to reach out, to make myself vulnerable in order to begin the process towards healing.
These past five months since, I have been to physiotherapists, orthotics specialists, medical doctors, x-ray clinics, massage therapists, and chiropractors. The physical pain has ebbed and flowed, but still remains. It’s traveled more to my hips and spread out through my entire body.
I feel so tired every day. I feel so achy and creaky and heavy. My brain is so cloudy sometimes. On particularly bad days, it’s difficult to walk. My body is rebellious and my bodily experiences are shifting and elusive – every day is different, and many days I find myself grasping for a sense of balance and comfort.
Every day, I write about how I’m feeling and how I live in my body. Every day, I have been spewing out words on paper – venting, processing, and making sense of my experiences. Every day, I try to make the conscious choice to live through the pain, to THRIVE through the pain. Every day is a choice. Every day, I’ve been nurturing my mind and my heart. Every day, I choose to strive towards happiness and to find joy.
I have emerged on the other side with a heightened clarity for expression and heartfelt connection, as well as with a sense of wonder and awe with my world. I always had this vision, but now it has become more vibrant and more necessary.
Months ago, my life was out of focus. Photography and writing are tools to help me recapture this focus. I can express my insights and intentions through writing. I can capture meaning and beauty through the lens of my camera (or the screen on my phone). Within my focus, everything becomes vivid. Everything becomes love.
I participated in a writing workshop call with the beautiful Leonie Dawson last week on the topic of “Finding Your Voice”. She explained that connecting to your inner muse and telling your stories from a heart-connected place is the “most exquisite way to walk through life”. She urged everyone to find their kindred spirits, write vulnerably, and trust their gut. We should all get to the place where we can write something that takes our breath away and makes us cry. We must let the words flow and pour out of us. This morning during a writing session, we are asked, “What story have you left unwritten and unshared because you are afraid of the vulnerability that comes with your deepest truth?” This is one of mine.