“Pain Changes People”
Pain certainly changed me. For the worst while I endured it. For the best when I came out on the other side.
Much of the pain and suffering I have experienced in my 51 years have stemmed from my Bipolar Disorder and addictions.
Whether it was the excruciating mental and emotional pain of sustained toxic shame, ruminations, Depression, distorted thinking, wicked obsessions, isolation, estrangement from my children, financial crashes, legal entanglements, and failed marriages OR the brutal physical pain of second and third degree burns over 20% of my body from falling into a vat of bear boiling sodium hydroxide, the self-harming I did with cigarettes, and the sheer torture I inflicted on myself with my obsessive running, nearly all of it was caused or driven by my mental Illness.
Having searched for and striven for brain health and spiritual fitness since 1993, I havevfound a daily regimen, a support network, meds, therapy, exercise, healthy coping mechanisms, and the spiritual recovery of AA that have lifted me from the raging waters of my unchecked illnesses and gently set me down on a calm, safe, sheltered shore. One day at a time.
And while I was miserable for many years, today I have come to realize that those experiences imbued me with an empathy and compassion that had been lacking AND, with the application of AA’s program of spiritual recovery, made me a far better person.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote, “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
When I was “down with the sickness” (a line from a Disturbed song), I was an ugly person. Pain, my journey through it, and the blessed fact of my spiritual transformation have changed me and made me a much more beautiful person on the inside.