By Beth Stillitano.
I try to participate in daily meditation and relaxation exercises to help soothe the rocky parts of my daily life. When your everyday plans revolve around how much pain you will be in that day, depression, sadness, and many times hopelessness can set in easily.
Being stuck in a rut of self-pity can be a slippery slope and is a horrible and sometimes cynical feeling.
I used to ask “why” all the time and cried my past allotment of “it is not fair.” I was a “good” girl my whole upbringing. Didn’t drink, or do drugs, didn’t party and was a good student. I worked and saved my own money starting from when I was 12 years old, and was active in choir, the theatre, and my youth group. I went to college and immediately continued on to earn my master’s degree. I was following my dream; I was a teacher.
Life is extremely situational – one moment, I was so happy; I had everything – I was newly married to the most incredible guy, we had just bought our first home, I was doing what I loved, family was close by, and I had friends that we could socialize with on the weekends. Then one accident completely changed my life. Losing the ability to be a teacher was probably the hardest blow for me, besides the physical pain. For a long time, I couldn’t or just didn’t know how to “reinvent” myself. Finding positive things in my life were almost impossible to see. I was disabled and felt worthless.
I then discovered that my disability could become almost an asset. I have since become an advocate for the disease I now have, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. I have been educating and counseling people who have just learned of their diagnosis or are still trying to handle “reinventing” their lives. Deciding to help and use my pain and knowledge of what I have already gone/ or am going through for me was enlightening. I now had a purpose; I became a different type of teacher. My life, although maybe not the one I chose, does not have to be all negative.
My son loves the Beatles. He listens to their music a lot. It occurred to me recently that the Beatles were foreshadowing my life when they wrote Blackbird. Blackbird is now my favorite song because no matter what happens, I will fly.
Beth Stillitano, a former teacher lives with her husband, two children and cats in Charlotte, NC. Her family organizes the Fight the Flame 5k races, established a CRPS Awareness College Scholarship, and a local Support Group.