Sharing My Story

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.



Background inspiration:

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.

18 thoughts on “Sharing My Story

  1. cravesadventure says:

    Beautiful post – thanks so much for sharing. Writing has helped me over the past few months with a difficult situation and for all my hard work went out and bought myself an all in one lens for more camera as a reward:) Important to lean into others in times of discomfort, embrace the small things and just CELEBRATE EVERYTHING! Have a Great Week – Happy 4th!!!

    • allthesoftplaces says:

      Aw, thanks so much for your response and support! Such great advice. I’m so happy to hear that writing has been a powerful and helpful tool for you as well. And *high five* for investing in your art by treating yourself to a fancy new lens, that’s awesome!! Enjoy your holiday! xo.

  2. EllieDi says:

    Oh, sweetie, thank you thank you thank you for sharing this. I’m also dealing with an undiagnosed pain disorder that’s got my body in an uproar, so I resonate deeply with a lot of what you’ve written here. Especially about not feeling able to give up your role as care-giver to be a care-receiver. It is SO HARD. But doable. Once I realized that the people around me *want* to help, that I’m not a burden or inconvenience, it became much easier. Writing helped. I’m so glad it’s helping you, too. ❤

    • allthesoftplaces says:

      Ellie! Your comments made me tear up here! It’s so comforting to find others who are going through similar experiences (solidarity!) and who are processing some of the same emotions and frustrations.

      And you’re right, I think we (myself, for sure) can be really hard on ourselves and resist reaching out for support and assistance. In our culture, we’re taught so much to value strict “independence”, “self-sufficiency”, “strength”, and “emotional suppression and control”, that it is terrifying to let others into our vulnerable places and ask for help. I definitely have been programmed to feel like a burden or ‘inconvenience’ when I ask for what I need, even though I always rush to support everyone else. It seems completely ridiculous when you think about it! I know that I have so many incredible people in my life who would be eager to support me. I have to keep telling myself that 🙂

      Writing is so cathartic and revealing. To me, it’s the best way to “unlearn” and “relearn”.

      Thanks so much for reaching out. Hope to keep in touch (sending you loads of love and support) xo.

  3. searchingtosee says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! It’s very brave. Keep focusing in on the things that you love and the things that make you feel good. Be kind to your body – I’m glad you decided to seek help xx

  4. settleandchase says:

    Beautiful words, and again, I very very much relate to them…wishing you much strength on your recovery..I admire your bravery in sharing these thoughts..

  5. oldsunbird says:

    Bless your heart! What a beautiful soul you are! How wise and brave I love your writing and your lively spirit. You are an inspiration! Keep writing and making beautiful pictures. You are helping others as well as yourself. Hugs, Mary


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