The New Normal
When you graduate from High School, College, or wherever you graduate from you are supposed to take the world by storm. I was in that boat until I wasn't.
Two Months after I graduated from College I went on a two-week trip to visit family in Las Vegas and then flew home with my grandma who had been staying there for a few months. I was a week into the trip when we were on our way back to my Aunt and Uncle’s house after dinner. We started going when our light turned green and out of nowhere a car came zooming through a red and t-bonded us on my door.
She had been distracted.
My head hit the window several times before going in the opposite direction. We were pushed several feet and if it hadn’t been for the car my uncle had we would have not survived. My Uncle saved my life with his superior driving skills and the car he drove. I was in a lot of pain in my head where I had been hit, but EMS didn’t think there was a reason to go to the hospital and in hindsight, it might have been a blessing. I had been dizzy, nausea, and sore. I saw a doctor there, but at the time they didn’t see anything.
I finally went home a week later and felt very depressed as well as sore and not just all there. I went to the chiropractor often for my neck and stayed home mostly. I finally realized that I couldn't just sit around anymore and let the depression get to me. I started working for a party planner nearby and I was so excited. That had been my dream. I loved planning events and thought that was what I was supposed to do. I worked with her for about 6 months and during that time I started going downhill and ended up having to be taken off of work. Some people might think that it would be amazing to just sleep in every day, watch TV, do whatever you want, but it was horrible.
Most days I could not get out of bed and it wasn’t because of depression, but because of this agonizing pain that was attacking my whole body. I would feel like my insides were on fire. My favorite saying to describe my pain was that I felt like a mixture of the flu and being hit by a Mack Truck. This was every day, all day. I never got a break.
I went to multiple doctors, tests and therapies. Everyone was stumped and either said they had someone else who might be able to help me, or they turned it around on me and said it was in my head and I needed to move on with my life.
I cried constantly because how do you move on when you literally can’t move, or when you start having attacks multiple times a day that look almost like seizures. It was the worst pain I had ever felt and I bruised all the time from how hard my body hit. It didn't matter if I was home or out in public like at a store, or even Little Ceasar’s Arena watching a show. It was one of the most embarrassing points in my life.
Fast forward to a year after the accident I had finally found the right doctors for me and I had been diagnosed with Central Pain Syndrome, a Mild traumatic brain injury, migraines, and a few disc issues. Once I had been diagnosed I was relieved. I thought we finally knew what was going on and I could move on from this point forward.
The problem with my diagnosis and my thought process was that most people have never heard of Central Pain Syndrome and the people that have to think it is mostly associated with Stroke Patients. It is damage to your brain, brainstem, or spinal cord. My brain is so sensitive that it doesn't even know what pain is anymore. The littlest touch, a tickle, goosebump, and even the shower I feel like could jump out of my skin.
Over the next several months I continued to find ways to try and help me whether it was medicine, therapy, or infusions. It was a lonely time in my life even with my family, boyfriend, and friends always around to support me. It was hard because no one had been in my shoes and I felt like a burden to everyone no matter what they said.
It was just trial and error, trial and error, and more trial and error. To this day almost three years in I am in pain every day and I am learning new tips and tricks to be able to carry on in life. I don’t remember what it's like to have no pain and I am starting to be okay with it. I would never wish this one anyone, even on my worst enemy.
Central Pain, really any chronic pain, is hard and when people don't understand they don't believe because as a society we don’t understand what we can’t see. When you look “normal” on the outside it’s easy for people to believe you are being dramatic.
I am still me, but a different me. I think this has made a stronger person and helped me to see what I really want out of life.
This blog is called Forever Strong and I hope you continue to join me on my journey to help bring awareness to not just Central Pain, but all chronic pain. There are so many people out there suffering in silence and they shouldn’t have to be scared to ask for help for fear of judgment. Please help me bring awareness by reading, commenting and sharing.