Depression and chronic pain, unfortunately, quite often go together. This is not surprising really as life can change in small, insignificant ways or it can change drastically, as I have experienced. I do not share this information for want of pity, I’m just stating the facts. How one copes with the depression is an individual thing, but it is not something you can just wish away. There are however ways to adjust to the life with chronic pain and it’s nasty side effects, which for me allows me to set future goals and provides me with dreams to aim for. I have always been a person who has set goals, usually in writing. They were usually work related but following a very distressing divorce in the year 2000 my goal setting took on more of a personal nature. I can still remember sitting and writing those goals, which at the time seemed so unattainable, but fortunately, these goals started to give my life direction and purpose again.
I now find myself now in a very similar situation. Life has taken an extremely huge detour that was neither planned for or expected. Due to illness I have lost my job, career, partner, 15 years of post grad education qualifications, my source of income and the ability to attend social functions as I once used to. Life cannot have changed more dramatically. However, I am beginning to feel some of my old passion and fight returning. It is a feeling that I have missed!! But I am so excited to sense its return. For me, this has taken almost 3 1/2 years with the assistance of a patient and knowledgeable pain psychologist. We all respond and will react differently, there is no one set time frame for coming to terms with illness but I have been a very slow learner when it came to accepting my illness and the restrictions it imposed. My biggest challenge will be not setting my goals too high, which can result in a chronic pain flare up, followed by an ambulance trip to hospital where we work together to get the pain back to a manageable level. I have also been taught to listen to my body more closely and not to keep pushing beyond the messages that are being transmitted via my body’s nervous system.
One of my pasts biggest struggles was that I have always loved to travel, anywhere and everywhere. I loved the experience of learning something new or being exposed to different cultures. My children are now grown adults in their mid-twenties, living independent lives. So life had now become all about my career and traveling. It was something I had witnessed my own mother do. Unfortunately, my life as I knew it means learning to compromise and make the most of the simpler things in life. Travelling via air for 12-15 hrs is no longer possible. However, last week I found a form of travel that may just have solved all of my problems. My son was on his way to attend a 3 day musical festival and had hired a Winnebago/ Camper Van. He invited myself and puppy Dakoda to take a quick drive with him. The van had its on shower, toilet, fridge & microwave oven, beds, everything “I” would need to travel on my own, without time restrictions. I cannot put into words my feelings of elation and excitement. I had thought I would never be able to travel in comfort, at my own pace ever again,just driving my car for longer than an hour causes problems. But here was the ultimate answer that would once again allow my freams to conitinue and to state that I was thrilled would be an understatement.
This new found vigor has motivated me to set up a budget, something I have put off for fear of seeing reality as it now is, living on a disability pension. But I am determined to begin planning a holiday, Winnebago in tow, and learning to live life again. My goals this week are to buy a map of Australia and begin researching where I would like to visit. Next, I will have to begin to strengthen my body to the point where ‘sleeps’ are not required morning and afternoon. I need to sincerely begin looking at nurturing myself with better nutrition and taking myself out of my apartment more often in order to build up my stamina.
Today, life has purpose!!!
Health & Happiness Everyone.