Invisible pain, is the worst kind of pain.

I’m a Christian, although, I don’t make a big deal about it for some reason. I’m not always a good one, so maybe that’s part of it; I don’t know, I’ll analyze that later. I think for non-believers, talking about God can be uncomfortable, and there’s some stigma wrapped around it too. I get it. I don’t think anyone wants other people’s beliefs shoved down their throats, and I promise you, I will never be “that” girl. Let me say this: everyone believes what they believe, and I’m not here to convince you that what I believe is something you should believe too. What I am going to do though, is share a small piece of my real life right now, and FYI, it involves God. If that makes you uncomfortable, then you’ll probably want to hit that little (x) on the top left real quick. I won’t even know – no biggie.

I’ve had a really rough last, almost two years, I guess. I’ve had lots of rough stages in my 39 years, but for now, I want to focus on the beginning of the last two. All the pieces to that puzzle cannot fit in this blog, but this piece is an important one in the process of how I got “here.”

It started with pain – physical pain, emotional pain, invisible pain, loss – every kind of pain. Then, some life events: I had a mild surgery. I was moving from the only real home my family has ever known, the longest I, personally, have ever lived in one house in my entire life. We had just opened business #2 while trying to maintain order at business #1. There was a betrayal of sorts on the work front, that totally blindsided me, AND created a huge mess. Added to the mix was a friendship loss, that even though had red flags written all over it, it still hurt. I was trying to sell my current house and pack and move while managing renovations at the new house; in-between visits to every doctor on the planet for what can only be described as a peak in my physical pain. That pain required several visits to the ER and left me with zero answers.

Then I had all the daily stuff, raising three active always hungry kids, being a wife, running a business….life, basically. It was just madness, plain and simple. While I was doing the best I could to manage it all, I was full of stress, anxiety, anger, guilt, shame, depression, loneliness – you name it. I felt like my world was out of control because my world WAS out of control. I didn’t really tell anyone the depth of my struggle. So, I did what I always do; I kicked my “get it under control mechanisms into overdrive. But, as is often the case, you just can’t do it all no matter how hard you try and that left me exhausted, and feeling like a failure in so many ways. I’ve been, as a friend of mine would say, “on the struggle bus”. I didn’t know at the time, the bus was just beginning to move on what would end up being a really long trip. *I’m really fun at parties, I swear*

I have lived with chronic pain my entire adult life. That’s just an unfortunate part of my journey, but we all have unfortunate parts, so I don’t want to sound like a victim or be overly-dramatic; I’m not a victim. Dramatic? I have tendencies, whatev. Overall, my life is actually really good, and I had a lot of good days during this time too, which is worth noting.  

All of my pain was invisible to everyone else, including my doctors, and despite having 20+ surgeries in the last decade, no one could figure out the source of the pain. I was beyond frustrated and sooo tired, but other than my immediate family and a few close friends, I didn’t talk about it with anyone. Invisible pain is the worst kind of pain because no one can see that you’re hurting and need help. No one can help you until they can locate the source of the pain, and that is a really lonely place to be. Outwardly, I looked normal (tired, I’m sure) but inside, I was BROKEN. B-R-O-K-E-N! I don’t even know if that word does my feelings justice, but that’s the best I can do right now.

I didn’t get to defend myself on the work front betrayal and that felt like an attack in every way. I’m a communicator and needed to defend myself because that would stop the pain of the betrayal, I thought. Wanting to defend yourself when you’re feeling attacked is a natural instinct, but professionally, it would have made a bad situation worse. I was forced to sit in that pain because that was the only option, but I was not happy about it *PG version*. I wasn’t given an opportunity to have any closure on the friendship front either. There were no “I’m sorry’s” or “let’s talk about it” no “goodbye’s” nothing, it was just over. Period. I needed closure because that would stop the pain of the loss I felt, and also, I like closure because it’s final; “final” should make it easier to move on, right? I was forced to sit in that pain too and I wasn’t happy about that either. Sitting in pain of any kind hurts, it just does. It hurts, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s hard! It’s also necessary sometimes as “here” has taught me.

*Anytime my heart gets involved in anything, the feelings that coincide are fierce. My heart is an “all in” type of heart because it just is. My brain leads its own life entirely and would proclaim “it’s complicated” maybe even “single” occasionally when describing it’s relationship status with my heart on Facebook* 

As I often do when I’m feeling broken, I went to the lake house with my sister. We listened to music, *”Maybe it was Memphis” was my anthem that weekend 🤷🏻‍♀️, and I belted it out as if I was auditioning for American Idol. The kind of belting where you realize you actually do have abs, and they hurt because you’re singing so hard. I was in the zone, man* we drank mimosas, and I just sat there in the sunshine with my eyes closed, with all my pain, a solid day buzz, and tears just pouring down my face. My body was broken, my heart was broken, and my soul was tired. What else is there if you don’t have those things? I was convinced that my big sister, the perfect iPod shuffle, endless mimosas, and a whole lotta’ tears would put all my broken pieces back together, but they couldn’t. I went to bed that night and prayed that God would fix it all “preferably soon, because I can’t take anything else right now” but, I woke up just as broken, with a headache and sore abs as an added bonus. I repeated those tactics the next day, and again, woke up just as broken.

I started to head home from the lake and honestly, was in such a daze of thoughts that I don’t even remember driving. I was on autopilot and in my head: “how did I get here? why am I so broken? why does everything hurt so bad?” “why am I feeling loss over a friendship that was obviously not genuine, to begin with?” I made it about 20 miles before I got a call from hubs that not only burst my thought bubble but sent me further into the downward spiral. He said “the people we were in negotiations with to buy our house, had just opted out.” I hung up the phone and just remember thinking to myself “anything else?” I was so overcome with emotions that I felt like I was suffocating. I was suffocating, in fear. #Anxiety101. 

I was afraid of so many things. Mostly, that I was ALWAYS going to feel all this unwanted, uninvited pain, and I’m afraid I’m not equipped to handle it for one more day. I’m quite sure I’m not, actually. I cried the ugliest cry; the kind where you can’t catch your breath, and you can’t even fathom how you can produce that much snot. It was so ugly that I actually had to pull my car over on the side of the road to try to pull myself together – and for the love, find myself a wad of napkins STAT! I remember sitting there, in all my glory, screaming out in tears to God – “You don’t have to break me every time you want to teach me something, you know!!! I’m sorry for ——-! I’m sorry for ——-! I’m. So. So. Sorry! Listing all my wrongs as if he’s unaware of my mess. Please don’t make me hit rock bottom again, we’ve been through that already and I just can’t do that again; it’s too much. I’m doing the best I can right now, what more do you want from me? Please just help me! I need you to help me. I’m broken, and no matter how hard I try to fix it, I. just. can’t. fix. it. I DON’T WANT TO HURT ANYMORE, GOD! Get me off this bus!” *Tears are flowing down my face now as I feel that day all over again*

“May I have vision and courage to join God in the places He’s already working, rather than feel responsible for bringing Him with me.” – From Prayer: 40 Days of Practice

I had a good cry in the car that day. I prayed some genuine prayers, I called my dad as I often do when I need a pep-talk, *dad is also a communicator* and then I pulled myself together. As I drove the rest of the long drive home I decided it was time to “buck up and be a big girl” get home and handle it. I can’t fix all my problems right now, but I can manage a day, and maybe tomorrow I can manage a day too. My brain knows that everything is going to work out in the end, and baby steps are fine right now. “Just do what you can do to get through” is a phrase that was on repeat in my mind. I managed to get through even though nothing had really changed as far as my brokenness was concerned. Stuff had to be done, and I was going to have to do it in spite of my pain.

What I really want to do is tell you how it all played out, because I have gotten answers to some of that, and it seems unfair to just leave you hanging on that prayer. “Here” though, is going to take way more than one blog. “Here” is a painful phase that God is still walking me through. I’m not unbroken yet, and some of those prayers are still being worked out in my life right now. You know since you’re reading this that I have survived so far. As I mentioned in my “Does I am Blanche qualify as a bio” blog I bounce between thoughts, but I’ll eventually circle back around. That is true. I will add more pieces to the puzzle because I haven’t even put a dent in “here.” For now though, I want to leave you with a few things I’ve learned from my most recent pains:

Pain is an unpleasant, but necessary part of the journey and no one is immune. There’s growth in pain, there are lessons in pain, and there can be healing in pain too.  Sitting in it, which I think is a great metaphor, is sometimes necessary if your goal is to heal from it. Pain doesn’t just go away because you ask it to, or you want it to; it will remain with you even if you pretend it doesn’t exist. At some point, you have to own it, and actively start looking for solutions. I take anxiety medication every day, I pray all the time, I take my own inventory regularly. I apologize a lot. And I ugly cry, snot and all, whenever I need to, and then I have faith that I will eventually figure it out (the purpose behind the pain) sometimes that takes years, and that’s ok. Sometimes the answer is that there isn’t an answer. There’s growth in that kind of pain, even if you don’t notice it until you’re able to see it in the rearview mirror. 

With faith comes peace. Your puzzle will inevitably put itself together even though you don’t know how all the pieces fit right now. You don’t need to know how all the pieces fit in order to believe that they will. That’s faith. 

Grace is real, and I don’t think often if ever, deserved. I could write books on all the messes I’ve made in my own life, and I could write books on how God has worked me through them too (even when I made zero effort/investment back). Grace is a gift that we should be more thankful for, and also something we should pass out like Halloween candy. Kindness and forgiveness will never go out of style.

If you’re broken and you’ve tried everything to fix it, and it’s not getting fixed, you can always ask God for help. Even if you don’t believe in God, you can still ask. Having a conversation isn’t going to set you back any further if you’re broken already, and you don’t have to go to church to have it. Whatever your pain is, and no matter how broken and ill-equipped you might feel today, just know you’re not alone. We all have pain even if it’s invisible to others. “Just do what you can to get through” and sit in it until you figure it out. 

PS: If you look back up to my prayer when I was screaming out to God in the car, I said something very specific: “I’m doing the best I can right now, what more do you want from me?” The answer to that prayer was simple: ME. He wanted ME. Once I figured that part out, I was able to start working through the rest. ❤️

T.

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12 thoughts on “Invisible pain, is the worst kind of pain.

  1. Thanks for the article. I too am mourning the loss of a friendship of 10+ years. No talking, just silence and definitely no closure. Like you stated, it wasn’t genuine, but it hurts so much. I put tons of energy and love into it, but it was was not reciprocated and that sucks. Her birthday was yesterday and even though I didn’t wish her “happy birthday”, I somehow felt guilty not doing so. Why do I even care because I’m pretty sure she probably didn’t even notice?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jamie, I am so with you, sister! I am going to write a blog for each of the pieces of “here” and one will specifically be on friendship loss. I think that one will definitely resonate with people. I’m sending you virtual hugs! Friendship loss is painful, especially when the friend doesn’t seem bothered by it. Hang in there! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You are so wise way beyond your years. Thanks for sharing. Not everybody can express their most intimate feelings outwardly. This shows great growth and courage. I know this came from “God”, he will never leave us or forsake us. Love you Traci

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful! We are all spiritual beings and I suffer with constant pain too, due to 2 failed surgeries. But it’s my spiritual being, my Warrior Princess, as I like to call her, she comes to the fore and pushes me through. People call me strong, but I’m just determined and I will live it, with or without this pain (in my arse)!!😊 Great read, love your non-judgemental view 🙏💖

    Liked by 1 person

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