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
- Giving Up Nicotine (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- A Letter of Fibro Musings (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- To Earn Trust After Past Mistakes (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)
- An Irritable So and So (fibrofella.wordpress.com)