My life changed five years ago on Halloween. I accidentally hit my head on a locker. I thought I was fine, but the pain progressively worsened throughout the day and night and when I woke up the next day, I knew I wasn’t myself. After getting diagnosed with a concussion, I was told to expect about a month of recovery. No big deal, right?
Wrong. My journey to recovery was complicated. After my concussion I also developed “runner’s knee,” and then started experiencing pain all over my body. Going to school became increasingly challenging. I had constant migraines, brain fog, fatigue, nausea, as well as anxiety and depression. I was eventually diagnosed with pain amplification syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and some other related autonomic nervous system disorders.
Programs like the Comfort Ability workshop were instrumental in my rehabilitation and adjustment; I learned how to cope with my pain and thrive despite it. For example, despite missing many days of school, I still did very well. I also learned I could find happiness and peace in my life through self-care and meditation.
My journey to managing chronic pain included a fair share of ups and downs. While I can’t say I’ve moved past all my medical issues, I can say that I have learned how to manage and accommodate them. I am a stronger, more empathetic person because of the pain and medical issues I’ve faced, and I am proud of how far I’ve come. Through treatment and rehabilitation, I learned so much about myself, my values, and the importance of friendship and family during tough times. I can confidently say I wouldn’t be who I am today without having experienced chronic pain.