I wrote this little book during my Erasmus semester in Spain and on a research cruise in the Indian Ocean.
This time made me realise the beauty and importance of intercultural communication, universal love, trust, and respect.
Every experience facilitates connection.
Every day we make a choice.
To either see ourselves in everybody or no one at all.
Connection is the key to healing.
Who this Book is For
This book is for you if you suffer from cramp-like muscular pains or other physical pain you struggle to accept.
If you are like me, you will at some point feel devastated by chronic pain impacting your passions, social and professional life.
Loneliness and despair have become good acquaintances.
The mind and soul are beginning to suffer from the strain constant physical pains put on your body.
You’re looking for help and hope.
You want to learn from people you can relate to.
You want to know how you can work with the pain to overcome it.
My hope is, that after having read this book, you feel accompanied in regard to handling chronic pain emotionally.
You understand that you are not alone in case of a lack of diagnosis and effective treatment.
I wish for you to have a strong positive story and first-hand experience to refer to when life feigns no reason for hope exists.
My aspiration for you is to take away beneficial approaches to how the mind and emotions can deal with physical pain.
If my book is successful you will have strategies to guide you and view your situation as the temporary experience that it is.
You can live without fighting with your body, worsening the pains or wasting your precious strength.
Including pain in your everyday life will take away stress and fear, allowing you to use your valuable energy to heal emotionally.
This, in turn, will provide you with the spare energy necessary to dedicate to the physical healing process.
Sadness exists so that happiness can exist.
You are the cumulation of your experiences.
Nothing dies, unless it dies in your heart.
As long as you love, the world will love you back.
Every tear is a diamond.
Hearts break, hearts heal, and hearts grow wider.
Beauty is in everything.
Hi, I'm Hannah. I am 27 at the time of writing this. Four years ago, I developed strong abdominal pains. As the pain didn't fade away like other stomach aches, the doctor diagnosed an ovary infection as the cause. I was treated with antibiotics and painkillers. However, the cramps in my core continued even after all culpable bacteria had disappeared. This book describes the following year and includes the advice and wisdom I didn’t have and searched for at the time. You can look at my words as the words I would say to my younger self to help manoeuvre a new life restricted by constant muscular pains and increasing emotional isolation.
I am not a doctor, physical therapist or body work practitioner like Rolfer, osteopath, etc... I neither have a traditional nor an alternative medical background and I cannot explain to you the logic of pain, the responsible biochemistry or why the emotional processing of pain matters so much. But I know that you need to adjust in order to survive and that emotional processing of painful experiences plays an important role in finding back into life. I speak from my experience as a young woman that didn't want to live in pain and didn't know how to live with pain, let alone facilitate it's departure or increase the distance between it, the pain, and my emotions and lessen the impact of the physical situation on my mind and emotional life. What you will read in this book are the lessons time taught me. Those lessons are too simple in hindsight and still, they lay hidden when I needed them most. It’s worth writing them down, so that you may add to them all that works for you and neglect what doesn’t help you.
This is my first book attempt, so forgive me for lack of structure, linguistic acrobatics, and other flaws. I apologise for spelling mistakes, as this is not a professionally edited book. I'm an ordinary person without a writing background but like everyone, I have something to say. I feel honoured, that you are taking the time to read my words.
What is my aim, if it isn’t to produce a flawlessly edited traditionally published book? My goal is to put my story, lessons learned, advice and thoughts about dealing with physical pains in the shape of a small book so that hopefully it will make you feel less alone, less lost and encouraged to explore ways of helping yourself with the possibilities that lie in your power. My story is about chronic muscle pains. Pains that weren't understood. I know what it feels like to be "alone". Alone with my experience, without a category, I fitted in, without people to ask questions to or receive advice from. I want to answer the question: What do you do when you feel stuck in such a situation? I used to wonder how I could find a solution when I don’t understand the problem.
This book is based on my experience with muscular pains but a big part of it is about how to deal with the unknown and what to make out of the absence of an explanation for pain. The lack of apparent cause for my symptoms made me unable to explain what was going on in my life. Rational problem solving threw me straight in a dead-end. The more rationality I applied the more frustrated I became.
I wasn't meant to have these complaints.
They weren't supposed to exist, and they certainly didn't to match anything my doctors had ever heard of or learned about. A logical solution was far from sight.
Three Pearls of Wisdom
When I started the project of writing this book, I didn't have an inkling of how to compose and edit a book. So, I took some advice. The advice said to start with the first three things that come to my mind that I want you, my reader, to know. So here we go.
The first wisdom I wish everyone knew, is that there is no point in striving for happiness at all times. Happiness only exists because its opposite exists by its side, and we know how it feels to be unhappy. Therefore, happiness and unhappiness are two poles of the same thing: your level of joy.
Happiness comes from the appreciation of your level of joy. Appreciation of joy comes more naturally after a struggle for happiness, simply because it’s easier to feel grateful for something that’s absence is a known experience.
The second wisdom is that everything passes. Neither the good nor the bad lasts forever. We do not need to worry that things will stay miserable forever. The next second will be different from this one.
The third wisdom is, sad is beautiful. Being sad is an emotion. Emotions are life and life is experience. Feeling alive, feeling raw emotion is a beautiful experience in itself if you allow sad emotions to exist. The truth is, life is not always “nice” and that is okay. It will deepen your gratitude for the good and understand the lessons of the difficult times. Easy is boring. Experience is what enriches lives. Everything has a place, even if it doesn’t make sense right now.
A more poetic person than myself said this wise quote I saw in a temple in Hong Kong:
„When dealing with matters, don’t seek the easy way. Without difficulties, one will become proud and extravagant. Such thoughts will override everything else. So, a holy [wo]man regards tribulations as a way to liberation. “
Eternally equal levels of contentment would create the exact same feelings every day for the rest of your life. Those feelings wouldn’t have the power to make us happy, even if they once embodied happiness for ourselves, or are happiness for someone else. The struggle for happiness determines our understanding of happiness.
Mountains exist as a response to valleys and plains. If mountains didn’t exist, the earth had an even face. Would walking the plains feel pleasant? No. Walking the plains of the planet would be all you knew; it would be entirely normal. Appreciation of walking a plain comes from knowing what it means to climb a mountain.
Peaks are hard to climb because we may be more accustomed to valleys and plains. If we only ever lived the life of a mountain goat or rock wallaby, rock climbing would feel familiarly unremarkable and not very challenging at all.
“Both light and shadow are the dance of love”
Rumi, Sufi-Mystic (1207-1273 AD)
The same relationship that exists between mountains and valleys, exists between darkness and light. The darkness looks eerie because looking at a light makes the darkness appear more sinister than it really is. When I stare into the night from a well-lit house the outside seems blacker than when I walk in the middle of the forest, where the moon and the stars light my way. Only because the sun shines brighter than the moon, the night isn’t dark.
No night lasts forever. Some just last longer than others. Once you find yourself within an extraordinary starry night, watching the moon rise in the sky, you will realise, life is not so frightening at all.
Few people can see the stars like you can because few stay in the darkness as long as you did. You possess your own unique way of looking at the world. You will see the beauty the darkness holds, you might otherwise had never known, for fear of leaving the light.
Experiences aren’t difficult or bad. They are just there. What you do with them, determines what they will mean to you. They will be with you to look back on for many years to come. They make you who you are. But it's your choice what you make out of the challenging and painful experiences. The choice is between connecting to the whole world through your understanding of pain, and isolation from a perceived hostile world. There's only one way to heal. To know that you are not alone, even though others might suffer differently.
You’re special and unique. Experience is what makes you you, and valleys only paint the future golden.