Updated: Apr 14, 2019

On June 10, 2014, I was in a car accident that ended up changing my life forever. At first, I just didn’t understand what was going on except that I was in pain. I underwent tests, but there were no answers to my symptoms and no one could make it better. It came to the point where my doctor would see me in his office and shake his head saying “I don’t know what to do for you”. I feel so alone and I wish I could pretend the pain isn’t there, but it is just too overwhelming.

My psychologist tells me to take time for myself – self-care. With 2 active kids, a career, and a household, my me-time used to be spent at the gym. But now, my exhaustion and pain prevents me from going. Any free time I have is spent at appointments. It feels like appointments have taken over my life. Between physio, chiro, RMT, pain clinic, and counselling, there is no time.

Chronic pain has impacted every aspect of my life. It affects how I sleep, eat, shower, dress, and interact with others, it impacts my mood, activity, and social life. It not only affects me, but my family as well. Our life is organized around ‘how mommy is feeling’. Before my accident I used to be extremely active with the kids from wrestling, playing soccer, basketball, walking, biking, and running with them, but now I can’t. Having to tell my kids that they can’t keep sitting on my lap or asking them to change the way they hug me breaks my heart. This all leaves me with a feeling of never ending guilt.

I cope through distraction. Having to be a mother to my kids is the main thing that keeps me going. I don’t want them to suffer because of my pain. I am involved with a charity with my dearest friend that gives me so much purpose – Hannah and Amelia’s Angels Foundation which helps poverty stricken children have an equal chance to education. I continue to work for distraction, although I have moved to part-time. As a registered nurse, I have always been passionate about my work, but it was after my accident that I gained an interest in chronic pain management and have been able to apply my learnings through education for the senior population that I work with.

I have never felt so alone in any journey throughout my life as I have in this one. I have lost so much in my life, my choice and my ability. I do not know what to expect, I have no answers, and everyone has their own theories. I am lost in a system, that I used to believe wholeheartedly in.

When people ask “how are you” I want to say miserable, terrible, and scream or shout; but I just say, “I’m fine”. What else can I say? I don’t always want to talk about my pain. Friends and family mean well, but they don’t know what to say. Sometimes I just need a safe space to talk with a listening ear, which makes an impact that is so much greater than advice.

I am constantly trying to push through the pain, fatigue, brain fog, blurriness, dizziness, insomnia, fear, guilt, judgement, and the misunderstanding.

For me, ‘me time’ means staying in bed longer, lying on my heat pad, taking breaks while doing tasks, cancelling plans, and giving myself permission to put my healing first. What does ‘me time’ mean for you? I’m not perfect and I don’t have all the answers, but my challenge for you and for myself is to acknowledge that you are doing the best you can to cope and survive, and to find a way to be okay with where you are right now.

Sharing my story sounded so simple. I honestly didn’t expect it to be such an emotional task. Even knowing that people will be reading this scares me. But reading the stories on the LUMEN site has inspired me to know that I am not alone, that this journey has a purpose and that I am not defined by my pain.

Author: Suzy Dinsa

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