September: Pain Awareness Month

“When one is in very great pain and fear, it is extremely difficult to pray coherently, and I could only raise my mind in anguish to God and ask for strength to hold on.” – Sheila Cassidy

September is Pain Awareness Month, and although I am only indirectly affected, I feel compelled to share a few thoughts and experiences on chronic pain.

More than 100 million adults in the United States suffer from chronic pain, day and day out; some of them suffer silently. Today, we will take a look at the world from a different point of view.

Whether you are watching a loved one suffer, are suffering from acute pain, or chronic migraines, please know and never forget:

You are not alone


words with my mother,

A. Henderson

My bully waits every day for me to wake.

The goal of my bully is to find a way to torture me at every possible turn and if it could, it would take my breath away.

Every day I wake with strategies to stand up to my bully. No matter how hard my bully hits and punches me I stand and prove that I will not break. I smile in my bully’s face every time I walk by knowing there will be a punch.  Although I bend with the force, I am determined to have my day…somehow. After all I do have that right.

Today my bully got to me before I could use one of my faithful strategies. My bully cornered me and beat me so bad that I broke. I fell and all I could do was cry and pray that the beating would stop.

I wanted to cry out for someone to help me….but who could help….what could they do? I cried out but still no one heard. I had to take the beating….the bully cornered me.

This bully is so powerful that it can paralyze with one blow and make you question for a moment whether any human can find a reason to live if they must spend their days running from this beast….knowing there will be days when it WILL corner you….WILL win and WILL paralyze with a force that can only be measured by the number of tears it takes to cause human drought if that is at all possible.

Who can help you fight an invisible bully……an invisible beast? The only thing that brings a presence to my bully is it’s name. “PAIN”

Well it won today. My bully, named “Pain” cornered me. Only today I told it on my bully.

Telling won’t make my bully go away but at least I let it out.

No….no one will see my bully and no… one see’s my bully punching and beating me up and no….no one “Ever” see’s the invisible bruises left by my bully. Yes they do see me living in a world they can’t quite understand.

My diagnosis(s) appear to be just that….BULLIES.

In my mind they are bullies because they live with me and I spend my days trying to control them so they don’t get the best of me. Some days they corner me and remind me that they have the ability to take control so my daily fight is to survive the assaults.

Not all diagnosis are bullies. On average most people can live a life of productivity and not be bullied by their diagnosis. What a blessing! My struggle to do the things that most people take for granted is unusual because I look like I should be able to conquer the world.

My heart beats to a different tune than the average person… beats to the tune of understanding how to make my life work for me when I am faced with diagnosis(s) that have the power to take away my independence if I give up.

For those of us who live with invisible illnesses….don’t give up.

It is not so important that people don’t believe you. What’s more important is that you believe in yourself.

It is not so important that you can’t please others. What’s more important is that you are pleased with yourself for the daily accomplishments in YOUR world.

It is not so important that others may be disappointed when your abilities at times are limited to make them happy. What is important is that you recognize your abilities today and that YOU can accept today the way it is.

It is not so important that you don’t have an explanation for “why.” What is important is that the answer is inside you and there is no need for words today…your body knows why…that’s enough.

Do what you can when you feel like you can be what you want whenever you are able to give what you can when you have what it takes to do what you need to do to get what you need to be your best when your body says so. Then end.

All my love and prayers are with all who deal with bullies!

Thank you for listening!

A brief Interview with actress Blake B-A:

What is your condition?

Probable Rheumatoid Arthritis

Misconception about your condition?

That it’s the same as “regular” (osteoarthritis) and is the same as or comparable to having “bad knees”.  Also that its only part about it is pain.

How do you view yourself vs what people (may) see when they look at you?

Hmm.  Well I think people see me in, perhaps a variety of ways, but for the ones who don’t really know me…they would probably be surprised that I’m as sensitive a person as I am.  Most people look at the way they see me now and assume that I’ve never been through any real hardships or things of that nature in my life; that I’ve never really struggled with any issues and am always very confident.  Not the case.

I view myself as a very kind person, but not really very “nice”.  And I think that, depending on the situation or circumstances under which the person knows me, they may think I am very stern and serious, and intense.  Very orderly.  I am intense, but there is a lot more to me than the general intense face that the general world sees of me.  As an actress, lots of times, casting directors are surprised to find that I’m actually really funny and lively, because at first look, I don’t seem to most as being funny; I strike them as intense.

What do you tell yourself when the pain is at its worst?

I remind myself that I’ve been through hell and back.  I can make it though this.

What do you need more of from your loved ones?

Hmm.  I need more understanding, I think.  Of my condition and that, even though it affects them, that effect is INdirect, whereas, for me, it very DIRECTLY affects me and my life, and I need them (some more than others) to understand that I need to deal with it as best helps me.  Because it is such an “unfortunate” disease, some of them are living in denial that I have it and are unwilling to venture with me to the reality of what is.  So it can get really quite tiring and upsetting.  So I would say ‘more understanding’.  And probably a good bit of patience when I’m slow and/or plain irritable at the things I can’t do that day or just being in pain and having fevers and all other such nonsense.

What could you use a bit less of from your loved ones?

A bit less coddling.  Don’t ask me on eggshells how I am ALL THE TIME.  I’ll let ya know when I let you know.  Give me some room to breathe.  haha

When you think of your frustration, what you’ve missed out on, what you simply cannot even consider doing: what would you say to the pain if for a moment your pain could “hear you out?”

“Don’t be shitty.”

What is something you have learned from experiencing what you experience?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  If you let it.

Capabilities once had

by Donesha Thompson

Seeping thru the cracks of the city streets and sewers are the capabilities once had.  Reaching for them as the mind says to let them disintegrate is written all over subway walls. There is no turning back from this. Wise ones have mentioned that if lives were lived differently this would not have occurred. Easier said than done.  This is destiny… everyone experiences bodily let downs at some point. The body is a liar and it destroys all sense of livelihood when it’s tired. This is understandable, but why the discomfort. Creeping up are shadows of resentment toward everyday life and interactions,  so media clouds the brain. Just sit here and let it shower the idealistic views of what is being missed out on from the outside world. Because this chronic pain prohibits capabilities once had.

Beautiful quotes from two amazing websites:

.”Few things a doctor does are more important than relieving pain. . . pain is soul destroying. No patient should have to endure intense pain unnecessarily. The quality of mercy is essential to the practice of medicine; here, of all places, it should not be strained.” -Marcia angell“Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” ~Orison Swett Marden“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” — James Baldwin“We so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” — Alexander Graham Bell

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today. -James Dean
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. – M.K. Gandhi
Whomever said, “No Pain, No Gain” never had chronic pain! by Amanda Lakso (ME)
Believe you can and you’re halfway there.
Change your thoughts and you change your world. Norman Vincent Peale
“When one is in very great pain and fear, it is extremely difficult to pray coherently, and I could only raise my mind in anguish to God and ask for strength to hold on.” – Sheila Cassidy

Great links for more information on Pain Awareness Month:

  1. You’ve really touched my heart – I went through very bad pain for about six weeks last year and it takes over your life. Even simple things like being comfortable whilst in bed become something to desperately wish for. Thinking of you.

    • I’m so glad you conncted with this post – I’m so sorry to hear that, about last year. Pain really does cause everything to become warped, and we do wish for nothing more than a dark, quiet room or sleep, if we can even get comfortable.thanks soooooo much for sharing.

      • Thanks you – hope you find comfort.

  2. Rosey said:

    My father-in-law has been in the hospital for a week now, and seeing him hurt is just awful for all of us. I cannot even imagine… I’m sorry you have to hurt.

    • Sorry to hear that. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

      Yes, they are very strong women, and despite their pain, they refuse to let anything keep them down. They are truly an inspiration. Thanks so much for commenting.

  3. Susan said:

    I can’t even begin to imagine what this type of chronic pain must feel like. I have read a few blogs over the past year whose author’s suffer : it is a tough thing to deal with. Thoughts and prayers!

  4. What a lovely and thoughtful post on this serious, and absolutely misunderstood topic. My complaints certainly seem minuscule in comparison to that of others… Many prayers for those living with chronic pain.

  5. Pain of any kind is simply the worst. Although it may make us stronger in the end, we should do all that we can to ease the suffering it brings. I still wish we lived in a pain-free world, but I guess that’s highly impossible

  6. Becky said:

    I think it’s so wonderful that you are honoring those with chronic pain. Thank you for bringing it to our attention!

  7. Pain is such a personal subject… not to just me… everyone. Chances are that everyone has suffered some type of pain in life, whether it’d be physical, emotional or even mental. This is such a tender subject. Grace, peace and blessings, Carla.

  8. Donesha said:

    Wow aunt ANN!! I was so touched by your thoughts. It is very easy to look at someone and say ‘she’s got it all together, and she looks so healthy. She doesn’t have a problem in the world. So why didn’t she show up last week? Why does she stay to herself at times? She has no reason to be the way she is.’ It’s sad to say that most people cannot see truths if it bites them on the nose. You brought out an excellent point when you said:

    “It is not so important that you don’t have an explanation for “why.” What is important is that the answer is inside you and there is no need for words today…your body knows why…that’s enough.

    Do what you can when you feel like you can be what you want whenever you are able to give what you can when you have what it takes to do what you need to do to get what you need to be your best when your body says so. Then end.”

    NO ONE could have said this better in my eyes.
    No one understands our individual struggles, but if we cannot emphathize with someone else, why should we expect someone to do it with us? Even when we don’t understand, there must be a reason why she goes missing for a few days or weeks…. she’s hurting. POINT BLANK. And each of us will have to give in to that horrible bully that attacks like a raging storm, at some point. But we should never stop fighting. Thank you so much aunt Ann for sharing your thoughts. It was very encouraging and eye opening for me.

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