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Living With Chronic Pain

This time last summer I was suffering with chronic pain! During grad school, I was

diagnosed with a herniated disk on my L5, talk about a pain in the buttocks. Just imagine

lower back pain that never goes away and a herniated disk strumming my sciatic nerve like

a guitar solo to the point where I could not sit, walk, stand, or lay down. I swear no position

would give me mercy or relief from this ongoing pain. My chronic pain became a formidable

companion throughout my adult development and a frustrating barrier to living my life to

the fullest. The chronic pain was exacerbated by simply just doing too much all at oncetrying

to be a go-getter and always going above and beyond. Does that sound familiar? This

pain caused me to white knuckle through grad school, and internship, while working 40

hours per week, which exacerbated my pain tenfold and would leave me crying in child

pose for most of the day. Chronic pain transcends physical discomfort, permeating every

aspect of life—mental, emotional, and social. As someone who has witnessed its profound

impact firsthand, I believe shedding light on this often misunderstood condition of living

with chronic pain is crucial. I wish someone would have told me to go to the doctor sooner,

to slow down, to take better care of myself.... but... I don’t know, now that I look back at my

life during that period, I just didn’t have the capacity or time to take care of myself. Coulda,

shoulda, woulda. Well, let’s be honest, I put myself in this situation to be vulnerable to

chronic pain because I never took the time to appreciate 30-minute breaks, lunchtime, or

just simply relax on the couch because I was filled with anxiety and so hyper-focused on

obtaining my graduate degree, working, and being an adult. What a hard lesson to learn for

not slowing down and taking breaks. I finally got my break and a hard stop to slow down!

My body took me out of the game of life due to needing back surgery which made me sit

and recover for 6 weeks at home, watching Bravo shows and eating ham & cheese

sandwiches. Today, I sit here and reflect on how all of this could have been prevented but

at the same time, I’m grateful for this hard lesson because I take my rest and downtime

now very seriously. It’s a full-time job when it comes to taking care of our physical and

mental health. However, it is the best investment you will ever make in this life and the

upside is you prevent chronic pain from getting in the way of your summer. This is your sign

to step outside of the hustle culture, slow down, and remember that there is no time like

the present. So, take THAT VACATION, take THAT 15–30-minute break, take YOUR LUNCH

BREAK, get OUTSIDE, and APPRECIATE your body aka temple- nurture and love your body!

We only have one in this lifetime. Learn from my story, your body will thank you later!

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