My e-book, offered by donation, is for anyone who would like to know how to support a loved one with a chronic illness and anyone living with a chronic illness. This e-book is filled with more than 100 pages of inspiration, ideas, insights, and practical exercises. Plus, my personal resource list from my wellness journey, interviews with doctors and health professionals who understand chronic illnesses, two pages of beautiful cutout bookmarks with inspirational words, and more!
My Raw Words for Anyone who has Experienced Pain-The COMPAINION Story
I've been sick. I've been very sick. Then deathly ill. And then I have been in the kind of pain that brings you to your knees, causing unrecognizable desperate primal sounds to come out of your throat, where the pain becomes too much, and you think: "If I must go, oh, God, please take me now." As the pain hastens your surrendering and melts the ego, you become every person who has ever been destitute, ever felt extreme pain, ever considered taking their own life because it felt like the only option left. You now understand what would lead someone to contemplate suicide, and you will never judge anyone for thinking about it. You are the collective pain, your pain, Pain, all at once. You want it to end so badly, whatever that might mean, yet, at the deepest level, you want to be saved, you want a chance, you want a miracle, you want to live.
The pain I'm referring to goes beyond practicing gratitude, reaching for a positive perspective, and praying for better days. It is HELL. It is a hell that no one can grasp unless they have been there. All you want is to make the nightmare end and the pain stop. It's a pain that makes you paranoid, panicked-driven, and psychotic. Every minute culminates in an unbearable existence, bringing you to a state of asking, "How can I end the pain?"
In Paul Kalanithi's book When Breath Becomes Air, he describes the act of dying: as you lose your breath, your breath becomes air. There were times when my brain felt like it was on fire, and my body stayed in a perpetual state of utter panic. I would think that maybe this will be the day my breath becomes air, my pain becomes air; perhaps this will be the day I finally have peace. The pain was so intense, and I had nowhere to go but be in my body and endure what felt like never-ending torture.
Those who have dealt with the worst imaginable pain may have also experienced spiritual bypassing from well-meaning people. The sad exasperation you feel from not being believed or being told to stay positive exacerbates the feeling of isolation and fear that no one can help you. Often lacking real understanding and empathy are the perceived limits to what the human body can endure. Pain-physical, emotional, and spiritual-must be held with the utmost tenderness, reverence, and humility.
Here I was a relationship therapist for fourteen years, a mindfulness expert trained under renowned gurus, and I had a private practice centered around helping clients heal from pain: emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual. I had had my share of pain and trauma to work through over the years-which had me believing if you do the work, you will heal, that it's how you respond to pain, and that suffering is a choice. Don't get me wrong-for a lot of pain, this assumption proved true in my clinical work and personal life. But there is another kind of pain that can take hold…
There is pain that can cause you to become more afraid of losing yourself to insanity than death itself. There is pain that is so dark, ugly, and terrifying that you will consider resorting to any means to have relief at last. The deepest surrender takes place as you fight your way back to the breath and muster the unbreakable courage not to give up.
Pain Is Transformational
When your health is beating you down and you are in naked pain, you are humbled into raw beingness and in a pure state of as-is. Which is to say, you show up exactly as you are, unapologetically, and embrace the contrast. You are angry, you are grateful, you are out of control, you are hanging on, you are tenacious, you are scared. You are it all. You're everything that constitutes the physical self, the terrain of human emotion. It is all spiritual and your very humanness. When you're broken open from pain and you see yourself, you're undoubtedly changed.
If you're in the kind of "hell-pain" I've been talking about, I want you to know: I've been there, I understand what you are going through, I see you, and I am holding you in so much love.
And when the long dark night lifts, I want to tell you about my e-book, The COMPAINION. I wrote this inspirational and practical guide for anyone with a chronic illness or any health-related quality-of-life issue and for anyone who wants to know how to support you better. It is my deepest wish to share with you what has helped me as I emerged from the darkness, day by day, and could see some semblance of possibility that I would feel the light of my being again and rise from the depths of despair, embodying more love and compassion for myself and for everyone who is in pain, Pain. My driving desire is to help you gather real support and alchemize even one painful moment into a breakthrough moment that brings you closer to your purity, where you can know that you are always being held. You are so loved and sooo needed. Never Give Up.
Writing The COMPAINION has been a big passion project of mine, and I am offering it by donation. I hope you download your copy today! All donations will go toward my medical expenses during my three-year devotion to wellness. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of my sacred journey. I want to honor all of you on your own courageous health journey and may be in the throes of an illness. We walk this path together. I am you, and you are me. We can do this, one breakthrough moment at a time.