Perhaps it came from moving a lot when I was young.  My father was a preacher, and in those days preachers and their families, shifted churches every few years which meant moving to different parts of the country.  These shifts became more traumatic for me each time they happened because I was having to leave behind people who had become very important to me, as well as facing the daunting task of getting to know new people.

I eventually found myself a way to take with me the people I had to leave behind.  I still use it today.  When I was 12 we left yet another home and I found that move particularly hard.  Part of the reason for that is that there were two people who had become like surrogate grandparents to me and I couldn’t bear to think of not having them around.  Both of these people would be over 100 today if they were still alive, but to the 12 year old me, they were gold.  One was my Uncle Cyril.  Actually he was my father’s uncle and my grandmother’s brother, and he was the closest person I had anywhere near me to a grandfather, particularly a grandfather who I felt loved me.  The other was an elderly lady called Thelma.  Even as a 12 year old I called her by her first name, and she kind of adopted my brothers and I as extra grandchildren.

When we left, what I learnt was that while I couldn’t take them physically with me, I could take them in my heart.  And that’s what I do today for the special people in my life who I can’t have with me.  I carry them in my heart.  And for me, it works.  It feels like they are with me.  It feels like I am not alone and it can be enough to give me the strength to do the hard things that otherwise I would struggle to do.

Yesterday I had a really hard day.  For the sixth day I was in a whole lot of physical pain, which left me unable to do any of the things I normally need to do.  The pain was getting worse by the day.  I knew the cause of it.  It was being caused by nicotine withdrawal combined with existing fibromyalgia.  It was much worse than what I am used to, even on a bad day with fibro, and was complicated by having no access to adequate pain medication.  See my previous post To Earn Trust After Past Mistakes for why that is.

I felt very alone and what scared me is that I could feel my mood slipping into my boots.  That feeling of mood slipping is always a pretty powerful indicator to me that I need to do something to correct the situation.  I couldn’t afford to let it slip further, especially because I recognised in myself that I had the urge to self harm, and that was one thing I just didn’t want to let happen.  And don’t worry, it didn’t.

The reason I felt so alone is that I momentarily (well, for more than a moment) lost sight of the person I was carrying in my heart.  He wasn’t there physically and in my pain, I lost sight of him in my heart.

Why?  It was that I lost the ability to hold onto what I know, that I am loved.  I lost my ability to hold onto what I knew, and actually that was much scarier than dealing with the physical pain.  That’s why when I realised my mood was slipping, and that this was the result that I knew I had to do something.  And I did.

Much to ‘stubborn Cate’s’ disappointment I decided to smoke again.  If you’re disappointed in me then it is nowhere near as big as my own disappointment.   But I realised that I was trying too much and so I will bear my disappointment.  I am already in the process of weaning off medication, and then to deal with this worsening pain without the help of adequate pain medication, was simply setting myself up to fail.

Admittedly when I stopped smoking last week I didn’t realise the analgesic effect of nicotine and I didn’t realise the effect that the nicotine replacement patches I was using would have on my fibro.  It had just never crossed my mind.  Now I do know, and I can plan a way of making quitting possible.

I was reminded last night that it isn’t a good idea to try to quit two things at once, which I had inadvertently ended up doing. So once I have finished coming off the medication I will try again, but not without having a long, hard talk to my doctor and getting adequate pain relief.  By then he will have one less reason to not give me some.  I will also be arguing that I don’t want long term, heavy-duty pain medication.  I simply want enough to make the quit process happen next time.  That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

There were lots of tears involved in getting to this point yesterday, and then, I admit, I feared having to admit here what I had done.  I felt so alone because I lost sight of what I knew, that someone loved me and would stand by me.  And he did, and I don’t feel alone.

Going back to childhood lessons I remember being taught that faith is the promise of things unseen.  I didn’t really understand that as a child.  Actually I’m not sure that I have understood it that well as an adult, but I’m beginning finally to understand that love, and people, don’t need to be seen to be experienced.

PS.  And if you’re wondering, the pain levels are much better today.  They’re back to a ‘bad fibro day’ and I can cope with that for now.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” 

―    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,    The Little Prince


10 thoughts on “Unseen

  1. John Richardson

    Sorry you’re in so much pain, but don’t worry about the set back because that’s just part of life and as normal as can be. Just keep at it. I don’t know how the cigars would work with your other conditions but I do think they will work with respect to stop smoking cigarettes. Just don’t inhale them. I bumped into this cure by accident. I had tried to quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey several times and just couldn’t do it. This was years before the nicotine patch. I was going to law school at the time and working 50+ hours per week. I knew I was probably going to be called on to recite in class that evening and stayed up all night studying. I then went to work and worked all day before class. My friends were stopping off for a beer after work and I decided to go with them since my class didn’t start until 7:00 P.M. Well, I had so much fun I cut class. Afterwords, I decided I had to make something good out of this. Afer all, it’s pretty stupid to stay up all night studying only to end up cutting class. I had given up quiting smoking cigarettes. I was up to almost 2 packs a day and hadn’t been able to quit, but I thought I could at least minimize the damage but switching to cigars and not inhaling. It was about 6 months to a year later after I had burned another hole in one of my shirts that I decided to stop smoking cigars. When I did I was quite surprised. I had no withdrawal from the cigars at all. I found this cure for myself entirely by accident. I quess all that I can really say is that it worked for me and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for everyone else. Also, in your pain, don’t forget that we all live in a world surrounded by love and magic. I love your tender caring heart and I’m sure that many others do as well. So never forget that while you may be carrying around others in your heart, many of us are carrying around you in theirs. God Bless!

    1. Thank you for that John. It means a very great deal to me. I’m thinking about your idea of cigars. My problem is that I had an aunt who smoked them and I just couldn’t bear the smell of them when she would light up. I think there is still a mental block there, that I need to work on. But I fully intend to quit, and having done it once a few years back I know I can do it. I just need to get the right time. Thanks 🙂

  2. very proud of you…you are self aware and knew that you couldn’t do both the withdrawals at the same time. No need to beat yourself up. You used your ‘wise’ mind. I wish you well as you talk to your physician. It is more painful to know when we ‘forget’ who THE ONE is in our heart. But luckily, he loves us, he loves us, he loves us…no matter what.

  3. We all have addictions in life we struggle to overcome. And sometimes you do have to admit when it’s too much to try quitting so much at once. I’ve done the same thing. I think this post shows that you are getting there – you didn’t ignore the set back but you didn’t beat yourself up either. That’s very healthy. I hope your pain gets better soon.

    1. Thanks Alice. I really appreciate your comments, and actually the pain is a whole lot less now, for which I am very grateful. I can actually live my life again and do the things that are important to me. Yay! 😀

  4. Pingback: Is There a Sign On My Back? | Infinite Sadness… or hope?

  5. Pingback: Quitting Cold Turkey | Infinite Sadness… or hope?

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