As some of you may know I’ve been working on a graphic novel about chronic pain (very slowly) for a really long time, probably just over three years. I finally scanned in a bunch of pages onto my website as a ‘process page’.
I’m honestly not sure if I will finish this project, or in its current form.
But I do feel there is some very valuable information here, some entertaining storytelling and perhaps some of you will see yourself in some of these stories as well (the names are changed).
I really want to start a dialogue about chronic pain, the misunderstandings and the ignorance of such a serious condition that affects so many, to which people lose their lives, hopes; a condition that can sometimes end in drug addiction, suicide. Mine almost did.
I’ve had to work out for myself how to live. How to heal my mind enough to want to live and also thrive. (I have severe degenerative disc disease, occipital neuralgia and chronic osteoarthritis since my mid-thirties, where it would get so bad, I couldn’t stir a pot- another reason I don’t own a cell phone, texting gets too painful. I have also suffered from endometriosis my whole adult life, but that feels minor compared to the other stuff).
It’s not just about chronic pain. It’s about life, family, relationships and all the bits in between.
So, here are some random pages from my very rough, unfinished, draft.
This isn’t another neuroscience or yoga book telling you how you can heal yourself so you can feel bad about yourself -failing again!- when it doesn’t work.
It is a book to comfort those and their loved ones experiencing the unacknowledged quiet hell that is chronic pain.
You wouldn’t tell someone with cancer, MS or rheumatoid arthritis to eat more turmeric or ‘try osteopathy!’ (like you haven’t already!)…Or if you do, you’re either a trusted friend who really knows the person and their needs, or a dickhead stranger).
When you have ambiguous chronic pain, you are not taken seriously (even when you have legit proof), and every man/ woman and their dog / government service are willing to tell you what you must do, why you’re not getting better and why you’re simply not ok to be this way.
Also, how can you judge one person’s ability and pain levels against another’s? How can you know someone’s experience? An uncool psychologist told me once that I couldn’t handle pain compared to other clients- like it was my bad. But how could she have known my experience? Or if actor Kate Mulvany can still perform on stage with chronic pain, does that mean we all should? No. Different people, different pain levels and conditions.
I don’t want to be identified as a person with pain or disability. I have kept this in the closet because it certainly isn’t ‘cool’ or acceptable, and people’s constant opinions and judgements suck.
But in the end, all you need is a handful of healthy loving friends who understand you, and then you can just get on with it.
(Oh, and BTW folks, CBD & THC did not work for me).
This book is to console and share experience in a funny and heartfelt way.
To give practical advice for navigating this condition and managing the lows and even lowers of chronic pain…and how to sometimes thrive in the midst of it.