Giving a Voice to the Pain – Introduction (September 2016)



These blog entries provide recollections from 20 years of living with chronic pain and many more years of living with PTSD.

I began writing last year in an attempt to give a voice to the chronic pain and to the trauma of PTSD. The writing started as a creative project during a “Mindfulness For Pain Management” course in which we were asked to express our pain either through a picture or through the written word. I chose to write.

I selected one hour out of my 20 years in chronic pain and attempted to convey, in words, what it really means to live in pain, day by day, hour by hour, month by month, year by year.

I shared my writing with my classmates and discovered that the writing and the sharing was therapeutic – for me and for them. It provided a voice that said what they all wanted to say but couldn’t find the words to say it.

I decided that I would continue to write and continue to share with any and all of you who are suffering from chronic pain, or PTSD, and who are trying to find a way to voice it.

The writings are primarily stream of consciousness, during which I place myself back in time and into those moments that are representative of my life. They are voiced in a way that bares the heart and soul, leaving one vulnerable. They are meant to be read in the same voice.

Although not cheerful subjects, there will be moments to uplift.  After all, 20 years in pain, and many more years living with PTSD, and I am still here and life still has value.

Regarding the PTSD, I live, now, with greatly reduced symptoms thanks, in large part, to about four years of psychotherapy and courses on anxiety and depression and mindfulness.  There is, overall, less anxiety and depression and there are much fewer, and less severe, panic attacks.

Regarding the chronic pain, in many ways I am doing so much better, but there is still pain every day and it is spreading throughout my body.

I look forward to sharing how much a life can improve when one seeks, and is lucky enough to find, the help needed.

Thank you for visiting with me today. Share your thoughts if you wish.  And come back again any time. I’d love to share my journey with you.

A Cry in the Dark (1997)



A Cry in the Dark, Island Park Towers, 1997

Lying now, on my new carpet,
In my new apartment,
With pain the likes of which
I’ve never known before.

Two failed marriages behind me.
Ten years, at least –
A Workaholic.
Eighteen months of workplace harassment.
PTSD underlying it all.

A new, high stress job.
Great expectations of me.
That is the problem with winning major awards.
People then expect so much,
Too much.

Stressed out.
Reliving that first terrible divorce
And the violence and horror it entailed.
Going through the second divorce.

Something finally gives.
And I am in pain,
Pain like I’ve never known.
Lying here on my new carpet
In my new apartment,
Alone and in pain.

It was the divorce, I think, that finally did it.
The straw so to speak,
Compounded with everything else.

And now I am here,
Lying on the carpet,
Staring at the ceiling,
My back burning –
Lower back,
Mid Back,
Shoulder Blades,
Upper Back,
Like I’ve never known before.

Worried about my job.
A divorce to get through.
A new apartment to furnish.
Organizing all the many details
Of a new life.

And I can barely move,
Barely dress myself,
Barely do much really,
Other than lie here on the floor,
Stare at the ceiling,
And cry.
Cry in the dark.

I’ll give myself two weeks off work, I decide,
That should do it.
That has to do it.

But it doesn’t.
Twenty years later,
Nothing has done it.

I’m functional now,
Live what appears to be a normal life.
But still the pain goes on,
Sometimes like it was then.
Fortunately, often less.
But there every day,
Or parts of every day.
To a great extent
Ruling my life –
What I can do
And what I can’t.

I never would have imagined,
Back then,
In my life before pain,
That I would spend the rest of my life,
Or at least the last 20 years of it so far,
Dealing with pain,
Chronic pain,
Unrelenting pain,
Life-altering pain.

And yet here I am.
Typing this.
Preparing to share, finally,
Some bits and pieces
From those years.

Putting it out there.
My cry in the dark.
Just to see who is there,
Who is listening,
Who knows and understands,
From their own experience,
What it means to live with pain,
What it means to cry in the dark.