It was days of searing pain up my neck, wrapping around my skull and weaving through my face. The pain throbbed in my teeth, tightened along my nose, squeezed behind my eye, and pinched in my inner ear. How could I escape this?
There was no other word for this level of pain, but I called it a headache, yet that felt like such a soft word for this degree of discomfort. GOD HELP ME.
During those days, I used the tools in my arsenal as directed by my therapist to be able to manage my pain, but none of them worked. I prayed constantly. Repetitively. I just needed a release yet I did not know how to get one. After hours of prayer, sleep, and agony, I woke up to the pulsing throughout my head and neck, and with the last ounce of will I could muster, I said enough. I commanded it to stop. The palms of my hands reached to my head and lingered an inch away so that they were not touching me. Heat radiated off of the afflicted side of my face as I said, “This pain is not welcome here.”
Over and over I repeated this, demanding the source of this agony to flee my body so that I could function. Life does not stop. I can take breaks, but I cannot be brought down by continuous hurt.
This pain is not welcome here.
I repeated those words until exhaustion overtook me again. When I woke this time, the throbbing had diminished. I sat up, slowly, tentatively so as not to jostle loose the pain from its hiding place. That’s what I thought at first. It was hiding from me, waiting to knock me down as soon as I let my guard down, as soon as I thought that I was over this stretch of chronic pain. But I stood up, turned my neck and head, did slow and minor rotations. Nothing happened.
This pain is not welcome here.
I thought about those words. The command it held. While I don’t expect this to happen all the time, maybe a part of me knew that this went deeper than anything physical. Perhaps a part of this pain rested in an emotional tie that was still knotted up and refusing to leave. Was I holding onto something?
Maybe I still am. I gave up on being who I was a few years ago, not liking to recall that individual. There was so much anger and sadness bundled up into a small body that continually sought other things to bury it. I can see now that I was really burying myself by not confronting the layers of torment that lurked within.
I believe that much of my physical turmoil is tied to past emotional struggles that I never faced. There is hurt within that goes deeper than muscle and bone. Trauma thrums in my sinews and tarnishes my soul, but lives in my heart. This heart that once loved too easily, gave too freely, and now feels like it barely beats most days. It is far past time to work through it and let it all go, but first I needed to realize that the wounds were still here. Now that I do, it is time to face them with grace and forgiveness. Let the tears fall where they may and let the wind carry away the sorrows.
I want to enjoy what I love again. Writing, dancing, music, entertaining my friends and family.
For the time being, the severe physical turmoil has faded. It is background noise and manageable, yet I still catch myself saying, most especially to my heart, “This pain is not welcome here.”