Learning to not taking anything personally will and has been the hardest agreement for me to master fully because I am a people pleaser, super emotional, and want to be "good" enough for every single person on this planet. The littlest thing someone says to me can set me off. I can take your words, twist them around, bend them over, and take it totally personal. I've always wanted everyone to like me and be my best friend but it's exhausting. I am who I am. You either love me for my flaws or you don't. I have some great friendships that still stand even over two decades but other friendships, I've lost. I'd say one or two friendships ended in tears and disappointment but other friendships that have dissipated were because of distance, time, and just growing up. However, I also end up taking this personally when a good friend of mine stops communicating with me or we just grow apart. I begin to panic and ask myself what I did wrong, why am I not good enough for this friendship anymore? I take it way too personally. Six years since I have graduated from college, I only communicate and socialize with two friendships I made in college. The other girls were so great, kind, and fun. Slowly, the past six years we have all gone our separate ways. Usually, I tried very hard to keep us all connected but everyone became moms, got careers, and moved away or got married. We've grown up and sadly grew apart. Not in a bad way. There were no arguments or tears shed. Only a few tears because at times I do truly miss them. But, they were the greatest college friends I could have ever asked for and I have so many positive memories. To be brutally honest with myself, most people are only thinking of themselves. I do it! We ALL do!!! So, as long as I love myself and know who I truly am, I can't take what people say personally. If it is something negative towards me, it's most likely because that person isn't feeling very good about themselves and they are living in fear. And I know the people in my life from my past and present have truly loved me or love me now. People come and go. Enjoy them, and if they go because of a reason you can't control, love them anyway and think about the good times you had. They probably still love you or miss you just as much as you love and miss them.
Life at 20 changed when I was diagnosed with Thoracic outlet syndrome. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a rare disorder, a condition in which most patients complain about pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arm. There are three types of thoracic outlet syndrome; neurogenic TOS, nerve compression; number two is when there is compression of the main vein and number three is compression of the artery and only 1 percent of the world suffers from this type. My body dealt with types one and three, having surgery on both sides of my body. My right cervical rib (extra rib) was removed in the summer of 2011 and my left cervical rib was removed in the spring of 2016.
Pills, pills, pills. Appointments, needles, massage, pain specialist, dry needling, physical therapy, acupuncture, more doctors, chiropractor and the list goes on and on. Thoracic outlet syndrome, nerve damage and complex regional chest pain are the many invisible complaints my body deals with day in and day out.
Never at twenty-eight would I have thought chronic pain would try to consume and take over my life. The pain each day tries to fight and push me down but guess what pain? I am a fighter and I’ve been pushing back since the day you came into my life. At some point in my day though, sadness, frustration, or confusion to why I have to suffer every day can eat away at me. The frustration settles in when my daughter wants to play with me and all I can do is lay on the couch and watch a movie with her because my body feels like it’s been hit by a train. Chronic pain is a daily struggle from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep. But I keep going because I have a family who loves me dearly and needs me in their lives. I keep going because I want to prove to pain that I can win this war. I want to keep going to show others with chronic pain that they are not alone.