Last year, I was asked by the self-improvement site, Better Humans, to write about how I cope with chronic pain (I've had severe spinal arthritis since I was a teen).
I have finally written that piece. It has been getting an enthusiastic response and many people are finding its contents helpful, so I thought I'd share it with Boing Boing readers, too.
You Are Not Your Disease
I came to see Patch Adams because I'd become suicidal over the extent of my physical pain and my perceived future of increased, debilitating suffering. Desperately trying every Western medical, legitimate alternative, and even quack-a-doodle cures I could get my hands on, I'd become overwhelmed by it all. And ever-frustrated by the lack of any meaningful relief. I felt hopeless. I had fallen into the trap of defining myself as my disease.
For me, the first step in my overcoming it was giving it up as the central feature of my identity. I had to convince myself that I was not my disease. And I had to reduce my identification with my arthritis. It seemed like the more desperately I tried to find some "cure" for my disease, the more hopeless I became, and the more pained.
I had to let a lot of this go.