Today’s challenge is to video yourself describing your pain journey and what lead you to advocacy. I think I’m in to much pain to travel that far out of my comfort zone. But I can still share although I don’t think the question is not as simple as it seems.
March 2005 I had my first migraine. It caused me to pass out. Every day following I had a migraine and within a week I was in constant pain. The pain worsened and I still have the same headache. I think it was September 2005 I had my first seizure. The sunlight hit me and it triggered the worse pain I had ever felt and I dropped in front of the library.
When I was in kindergarten it bothered me that I didn’t know God’s plan for my life. One day I decided it must be to make people smile, if its not fun for someone it can’t be within God’s plan for me. All I could see in every bible story was God wanting or finding pleasure or having fun. The only logical conclusion was that is what he wants for his people. It stuck. Everything I did was to that purpose. Even when I caused mischief I did things that made my male parental units laugh. I was a happy person who made others happy just being around me. I was optimistic, gullible, helped others see the good in bad situations, befriended the “wrong” people even though I got bullied because of it. My Grandpa Fred called me Giggle Fritz. My Grandma called me a rascal with good intentions. I was full of jokes and antidotes. I was one of those people others didn’t like because I smiled to much.
Then the pain changed me. I stopped giggling then laughing then smiling. I became someone who had to search for the silver lining. Suddenly I was having to comfort people because I was scaring them and bringing them sadness. It was devastating. My gramma became angry and disappointed in me and called me a failure. For the first time she was glad Grandpa Fred isn’t here to see me like this. I broke my Grandma’s heart. She felt like she failed me because she couldn’t heal me and I was loosing me and all my dreams. My youngest sister doesn’t remember healthy/happy me, she was 4 when it started. I’m not as smart. I hurt all the people I love. Lost the majority of friends my own age. The only thing I could do for my people was to get better, protect them, focus on staying positive, remind myself “I can do this” everyday, practice smiling and laughing, and to never stop trying to accomplish something. I tried my hardest. Then the doctor told me it was impossible to get better, I shouldn’t, I can’t, to not get my hopes up to high,pain management, vigilance, signs of depression, and don’t isolate myself. Everything is in shambles. My eight year old self would be shocked and disappointed. I can hear my Grandpa Fred, “Why so serious Giggle Fritz?”
Something unexpected happened. I broke down in front of Uni and she got angry then sad. I got a talking to. Since I started having seizures random people would tell me the strangest things and ask me “stupid questions” and I blew it off or got angry. I do what I have to, I can do it, and I’ll show you (irresponsible me said I do what I want) but that is not what other people see. Uni says I’m useful because I make her laugh and I’m the smartest person she knows. Professors and peers saw a good and determined student. I’ve been called strong, courageous, brave, inspiring, headstrong, insightful, and other adjectives I would never ascribe myself. Questions like “how do you do it” “why haven’t you killed yourself” “how do you smile” and “where is God” are not stupid or intentionally hurtful questions. It is honest curiosity. It is proof I haven’t lost hope or my optimism. That living in Hell doesn’t have to make you miserable or bitter. That even though it looked like I lost my purpose I hadn’t, it looks different. A person can miss or not understand the impact they are having on the lives of the people around them.
I didn’t decide to become an advocate, it just happened gradually. I became an advocate when people start seeing what they think is the impossible being accomplished by someone who answers their questions and does their best to explain what the person is witnessing. I became an advocate for people in pain and people with seizures on accident. I didn’t realize that that was what I was doing. I was just answering annoying questions with patience. Then I realized I could try to educate people who refused to understand the impact of these conditions have on a persons life through Facebook. I read that I had to be an advocate for myself. I tried to explain to people why their preconceived notions are wrong and how their actions do physically and emotionally hurt people.
I started this blog a year ago. I read blogs trying to learn from people in pain. The doctor had a talk with me about isolation and about sharing my health issues with someone. I had a random thought. I could try a blog. If one post helped one person deal, learn, or smile it would be worth it. Then I saw a migraine blog challenge and I ended up here. I had fun with that blog challenge. Every relevant to me awareness season I search for a challenge and that is how I found PAM and became an advocate for PAM last year.