Author Archives: jfisher09

When the Pain Wins

I’m laying in bed, begging my brain to go to sleep, but my thoughts are too focused on the hundreds of tasks left undone. The laundry that still lies, unfolded, in the basket. The dishes that still sit, unwashed, in the kitchen. The table, covered in papers and crayons, that needs to be cleaned off. The floor, sprinkled with dirt, that need to be swept and mopped. 

But here I sit, not doing any of it. And it’s not because I don’t want to do it. Because I want, more than anything, to have the strength and energy to get everything cleaned, put away, and organized. But I can’t. My body physically can’t do it. The pain I feel on a daily basis. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. Second by second. The pain destroys me. Little by little, the pain pecks away at my joy and happiness and excitement. The pain steals my abilities from me. The pain is a slow and silent killer.

I don’t even know how many times I’ve been told, “it can’t hurt THAT bad,” or “it’s not even possible to be in that much pain all the time,” or “just think positive,” or “be more active,” or “it only hurts that much because you let it.”

Most people, if they can’t understand something, will deny what you’re going through. If it makes no sense to them, then it must not be an issue. 

Chronic pain. “Well, at least it’s not cancer.” “You’re so lucky that you get to lay in bed all day.” “It must be nice to be so lazy.”

I would literally give anything to have my life back that I had four years ago. I was able to run. I could lift. I could eat. I could enjoy my life. But my health took a downward spiral. Surgery after surgery after surgery…each knife has taken more from me than the previous one. And now, I’m painfully holding on to my ability to walk. 

I look back at my life and I think about all the times I took my body for granted. I used to be a runner. I used to be a personal trainer. But Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome took that from me. The constant pain takes a mental toll over time. 

I’ve always struggled with depression and anxiety – I think, for as long as I can remember. But as I entered adulthood, I seemed to be able to control it. Running and working out helped a lot also. But after a while, I was in constant pain, so I finally went to the doctor. That’s when I was diagnosed and subsequently had multiple surgeries. After 3 years, I regret almost all of the surgeries I have had. I’m in more pain now than I ever was to begin with. Most days, just walking has me on he verge of tears. 

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next. I can try another surgery or I can take pain meds. But nothing will ever actually solve the root of the problem. 

But I’m the midst of my pain, I’m also a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an employee, a coworker. I’m a lot of things to a lot of people. But sometimes, I’m in so much pain that I can’t be anything to anyone.

Thankfully, those closest to me are understanding. They accept me even when I can’t get out of bed because the pain is so high. My kids have had to be more mature than others their same age because of the things that I’m unable to do. I can only hope that as they get older, they’ll understand the value of their health and of their bodies. 

I just don’t want to hurt any more. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next. I don’t know how I’m supposed to keep up with life. I just wish there was something to look forward to. But I know that I will never in my life get to experience a day without pain. 

So now what….

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Hope in the Emptiness

When you live with depression, nothing in life is as it used to be. You try pushing through the pain and living your life as usual, but it becomes a nightmare you can’t wake up from. The people closest to you may notice something is wrong, but they don’t know how to help you. 

Someone once told me that depression is like a broken leg. If your leg is broken, you stay off of it, you use crutches and allow it to heal. You don’t try running on it and then get angry when it stays broken. Depression is the same thing. When you’re depressed you need to give yourself time to heal and recover. You can’t just push through it and keep living your life as usual – it won’t heal that way. You have to acknowledge it and care for yourself. 

The hard part about caring for yourself when you’re depressed is the guilt. No one else can see the pain you’re in. No one else knows how bad you’re hurting. The people around you just want you to be happy and they don’t understand that that’s physically not possible for you. So you spend time in bed even though there are dishes that need to be done. You sit in the shower for an hour, crying, even though the house needs to be vacuumed. You watch TV even though the laundry needs to be put away. 

You’re trying, with everything you have, to appear to be a functioning member of society, when in reality you’re just wasting away. 

Nothing makes sense anymore. This isn’t the life you once knew and you’re wondering where you went wrong. You have a good life. You have people who love you. So why are you so miserable? Why can’t you find happiness? 

Well, it’s not about you. It’s not about your life. It’s not about how loved you are or how many people care about you. It’s a legitimate medical condition. It’s the chemicals in your brain. It may take medication to help you fee whole again, and that’s okay! 

You are worth so much more than what depression tells you. Don’t let yourself believe the lies. Don’t let yourself succumb to the emptiness. Seek help. Let others in. Talk about it.

 
I promise, it won’t last forever.  


Because I’m Still Here

The blog has been silent for some time now. I really haven’t felt much like writing. I’ve been so busy with just living this crazy life, that I haven’t had the time to make time to writing. And a non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. So needless to say, I’m writing now just to remind myself that I still know how to do this thing called writing.

This past year has been chaotic with surgeries and treatment. But now that my life has regained some sense of normalcy, it’s time for chaos again. As I type this, there are boxes filling up my house. All of our earthly possession will be getting moved into a truck tomorrow and be taken from Texas to Georgia. The Army says move and we follow as ordered.  

I’m excited for the move and a fresh start, but I think a part of my heart will always belong in Texas. We owned our first home here. We put down roots here. We’ve made friends here who have become family. Leaving isn’t going to be easy. It’s one part of the Army life that I dread. 

For someone as introverted as I am, it’s hard to make new friends. It’s hard to get out of my comfort zone, in a new city, and experience new and different things. However, introversion aside, I am excited for this move. I’m excited to go back to Georgia and see friends who I haven’t seen in six years. I’m excited to be near the beach! I’m excited to start this new adventure with the people I love the most. 

Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to be a family that doesn’t move every few years. What it would be like to settle down in one place and raise a family. Growing up, we moved every two years for as long as I can remember. I guess that’s probably why I hate it so much, because I’ve done it so many times. 

Life is chaotic. There are so many unknowns and what ifs. Nothing is certain. But it’s beautiful if you just embrace it.


Will You Hope With Me?

It’s been over 7 months since I penned my last post. If you want to know the truth as to why, it’s because I’ve been fighting an intense battle within myself. A battle of whether or not to eat the meal. A battle of whether or not I should run the mile. A battle of whether or not I should continue living. 

As most of you already know, I struggle with debilitating mental illness. For many years, my life has been a struggle of ups and downs. I’ve been okay and I’ve been completely crumbled and broken. I’ve been happy and I’ve been engulfed with despair. And now, I’m in a place where I have never been before. I have no fight left in me. I’m tired. I’m scared. I want to be free. I want to feel joy. I want to be healthy. But to move on and experience life, I have to push through all the things I’ve spent nearly 29 years running from. 

So, in order to be the me that God made me to be, I’m taking a leap of faith and going to a residential treatment program for eating disorders. I’m leaving within the next week and that terrifies me. But THIS is the only life I have known. THIS is the only me I have known.

I am a control freak. There are very few things in this life that are within my control, but one of those things is my eating disorder. I hate my eating disorder, but I love it at the same time – which is something that most people cannot understand. It’s like being held hostage and unable to break free, but once it takes its hold, the captor becomes comforting and reliable. When the rest of the world is chaotic and nothing makes sense, ED brings me comfort. ED is like a trusty friend who will always pick me up when I’m down. ED loves me and I love ED. It’s a dangerous and toxic relationship that I don’t know how to get out of. 

I feel like those closest to me want answers. They want to know why. The want to know how. They want to know the “truth” about why I feel the way I do. But explaining these things to someone who has never stood in my shoes and experienced the things I’ve experienced, is the most difficult thing in the world. 

From a “logical” perspective, all of this seems ridiculous. I feel lonely, so I isolate. I feel hungry, so I don’t eat. I feel full and satisfied, so I purge. I feel anger, so I want to hurt myself. I am capable of stepping outside of myself and seeing how all of this makes absolutely no sense. But that doesn’t change the dynamic inside my very sick brain.

Although it may not look like I’m really trying, I am. Although it may look like I’m just blaming others for my problems, I’m not. Although it may appear that I’m trying to “get out of” being an adult, I’m not. 

If you’ve never had a mental illness or addiction, there really is no way that you can understand the horror that goes through my mind every day. However, I appreciate your support and compassion. I don’t need “tough love” or hostility. So if that’s what you have to offer, please kindly go away. 

Right now, I am fragile and extremely over sensitive. It’s hard to think rationally or logically when your brain and body are malnourished. So please stop telling me that I should “know better” or that I should “be able to control it” – because right now, those statements only add fuel to the fire. 

I am very unstable – thus the need for treatment, to get to a place where I am stable; to get to a place where taking my own life does NOT seem like a viable option. 

I am sick. It’s not just my mental health anymore, my physical health is beginning to crumble as well. And  even though it’s taken me many years to admit it, I can finally see that I need help. I need help and I deserve help. I deserve love and happiness and joy and acceptance. God says that I am worthy of love and its up to me to decide whether or not I will believe Him.

If you’ve known me for a while, you are probably tired of my “excuses” or fed up with my “inability to take responsibility for my actions.” I can understand what it looks like from your perspective and I am sorry that I haven’t “gotten better” yet. I’m sorry that you have had to bear the pain of my mistakes. I sincerely wish I could take back every time I have caused you pain. But I can’t. All I can do now is try to move forward and hope that, one day, we can all find forgiveness. 

All that I ask is for you to please, try to see things from my point of view as well. Please give me space to be able to move on. I am trying to learn how to set HEALTHY boundaries with those I love. Please be patient with me. 

I have hope that I will be able to experience freedom within this lifetime. Will you Hope with me?


Joy, Where Are You?

Some mornings I can barely find the energy to get out of bed. I’m exhausted and worn out and in pain and I simply don’t want to do anything but lay there. This morning was one of those mornings. My alarm clock (AKA, my children) started screaming in my ears and I had to get up and face the world. Before I could even get out of bed, the girls were already dressed for church and chattering in their fastest, most excited voices about what they might do at church today. So, begrudgingly, I got up, showered, and got ready for church.
And I’m glad I did. 

We sang some of my favorite Christmas songs, which immediately lifted my mood a bit.

  

“I rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel has come to thee, O Israel.”

Today’s sermon was titled, “Joy” and based on Luke 2:8-20. My first thought, from anxious and depressed mind was, “oh great, joy. That’s the last thing I want to talk about right now.” But that’s exactly why I needed to hear it. 

Luke‬ ‭2:8-20‬ ‭ESV

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 

“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

So apparently, joy is command. My pastor opened up the sermon with that and all I could think was, “great, we’re starting the morning off with something I suck at.” But as he kept talking, I understood it more. God doesn’t want me to have fake joy, like the fake smile I tend to plaster on my face when I tell everyone I’m doing great. But God wants me to a real, genuine joy – the kind that only He can give me; the kind that comes from being awestruck by an amazing God. 

  

Let me be real here for a minute, the last few weeks I have been stuck in a cycle of sadness and feeling sorry for myself. I’m having brain surgery in four days and I’m scared – really scared, about all the “what ifs” and things that could possibly go wrong. I really haven’t felt much joy at all. I haven’t been praying. I haven’t been reading my Bible. I’ve just been quietly simmering with anger at God for not making me healthy. But the more I’ve ignored God, the worse I’ve felt. The more I’ve pushed Him away, the angrier I’ve gotten. My joy has been nonexistent.

I feel like an outsider in this world, like I just don’t belong anywhere. I have some wonderful friends and great church family – but often, I just feel different, like I don’t fit in with anyone. I feel lost. My pastor’s first point today was that joy is for the outsiders. We explained how God sent His angels to the shepherds, of all people. He could’ve sent the angels to someone powerful, like a king or ruler, but He didn’t. He sent them to shepherds – to the outsiders. 

In the same way, in our current society, God doesn’t come only for the “insiders.” He doesn’t come just for the powerful and popular – He comes for the outsiders. But here’s the thing, if you really think about it – we’re all outsiders. None of us in this world are insiders; we are all OUTSIDE of Heaven. And my pastor made a good point, even the people who I look at and think have it together and appear to fit in so well – even they struggle with feeling like outsiders, it simply part of being human. And we all feel like no one else feels the way we do so none of us talk about it; but if we did, we would know we weren’t alone. 

  

So in acknowledging that others feel like outsiders as well and many of us never speak of it, how well do I reflect God to others? How well do I reflect God’s love to those who feel like they don’t belong?

The second point that my pastor made today was that joy comes from Heaven. We don’t create joy from within ourselves. I can be sad or depressed or going through a rough time and still feel joy in my heart. God is perfect and Holy and separate from us, but He is also imminent and close through Jesus. 

The glory and power of God reassuring, but it should also leave a healthy fear in us. When the angels came to the shepherds, they were scared because they felt unworthy of their holiness. But the angels told them not to be afraid, for they had new that would bring great joy. The birth of Jesus brings us joy by reminding us that even though we may be going through a rough time now, even though we’re scared, even though we feel lost, even though life is hard – a savior has come to save us. 
How much different would my life be if I believed, I mean rally believed deep in my heart, that Jesus came down from Heaven for me? 

  

Lastly, my pastor touched on having joy in the valley – this was, I felt, the most fitting part for me today. I’ve had “mountaintop experiences” – times where God’s love and glory are so apparent that I am in awe and filled with joy. The goal is to live out the joy from those mountain top experiences while we’re in the valley. God wants me to treasure His words in my heart and live my life in faith. It doesn’t sounds THAT difficult. But when you’re in the valley, it’s easy to get caught up in the negative – the fear, worry, pain, and anxiety. But God calls us to remember the things we know to be true, to remember the mountaintop, remember what His closeness feels like – those are the things that will bring us joy in the valley. 

Each day that God gives me in a gift and I should rejoice in every day – even the days when I’m in the valley. 

So let me rephrase my current thoughts and worries…

  

I’m having brain surgery in four days. I may be scared, but even if the worst happens – if I were to die, I would go Home to Jesus and have no more pain. If it’s successful, I will stop going blind and my vision will be saved. If something goes wrong and I come out of surgery with some type of disability, God will use that to glorify Him. I am scared and I really don’t want to go through with it. But just like He always does, God has me in the palm of His hand and whatever happens will not be a surprise to Him, He already knows and He will care for and provide for me no matter what.

I simply need to trust Him and find my joy in Him, not in this world.


Walking the Borderline

About a year ago, at the age of 27, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Although I didn’t receive a diagnosis until 27, I have displayed the signs of a borderline since I was probably about 11. I have extreme issues in regulating my emotions, impulsivity and recklessness, and unstable relationships. 

 

I’m writing this to invite you to walk the borderline with me.

The diagnostic criteria for BPD are…

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.  

You see, borderlines do not know how to handle rejection or abandonment. There’s something in our brains that tells us it’s always going to happen and that someone must be abandoning us if that don’t respond to us.

I’ve lived, pretty much, my entire life in fear of abandonment. And my obsession with avoiding abandonment almost certainly guarantees it. 

 

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationship.

When we meet a new person who we connect with, we instantly love them. This often makes us look psychotic and pushes people away. We love deeply, but we are terrified of intimacy and connection. When we want to cling, we often claw instead.   
 

3. Identity disturbances.

People will tell you, “just be yourself.” But that is nearly impossible for a borderline. We don’t know who we are or where we fit in, in this world. Is my favorite color purple because it’s MY favorite color? Or is it because someone else wanted it to be? I don’t know anymore. I try to not wear masks and be real with people…but that’s hard when it’s all you’ve ever known.

To this day, at 27 years old, I have no clue who I am. I am a chameleon. I can fit in with anyone because I change depending on where I am.   

 

4. Impulsivity in at least 2 areas that are self-damaging. 

This is so much more than just “resisting temptation”. When a borderline gets the impulse to do something, it will literally consume their thoughts until they do it. Many of us spend too much, shoplift, drive too fast, drink, do drugs, or have eating disorders. It’s nearly impossible for us to just walk away from a self-destructive impulse. And this sucks! 

 

5. Recurrent suicidal thoughts/behaviors and/or self mutilating behavior.

As many as 75% of borderlines cut themselves and 10% commit suicide. It’s one of the most dangerous mental illnesses. Self-mutilating and suicide are often the only way we can see to get the pain to end. 

For me, self-harm was always a reminder to me that I’m still alive. I get so numb at times, that I just need a reminder that I can still feel.  

 6. Mood instability – cycles of mania, anxiety, irritability, depression, or anger lasting a few hours but no more than a few days.

People around us often live in fear of not knowing what our mood will be like one moment to the next. But we fear that too. We hate not knowing when the depression is going to hit. It’s a living hell. As much as you hate walking on eggshells around us, we hate it too.  

 

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.

We feel completely alone and scared in this world. We feel completely empty, like we’re just a shell of a person. We don’t know how to get away from this empty, numb feeling within ourselves.  

 

8. Inappropriate, intense anger.

The slightest injustice, to us, turns into a great travesty. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ve exploded in fits of anger and been told I was selfish and immature because I didn’t get my way. But it’s so much more than that. It’s so much more than “not getting our way”. We’re not very flexible, it’s not by choice – we try to go with the flow, and sudden alterations in plan effect us emotionally.  

 

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

Have you ever driven a familiar road and once you got to your destination, realized you didn’t remember a portion of the drive? That’s dissociation. Borderlines often dissociate in response to stress that we don’t know how to handle. It’s not something that we do consciously, but our brains do it instinctively as a defense mechanism. Our physical beings continue to function, while our mental beings become disconnected.  

 

Being a borderline is literally like a living hell at times. I view the world much differently than those around me. Because I don’t remember things the same way as others, I’ve been told I’m dramatic or a liar – which leads me to questioning my own memories. 

Borderlines feel things MUCH, MUCH deeper than everyone else. Which means that we’re often criticized for being overly sensitive or too emotional. Which then leads us to feel guilty for our own emotions. That guilt, in turn, causes us to make ourselves numb to our own emotions. We literally only have the two extremes – overly emotional or completely numb, there is no in between. And some days, I’m not sure which is worse.  

 Many people will walk out of our lives and “give up” on us because it is difficult to love us, but we don’t do it on purpose. We hate that we have to live this way. And often we question God, wondering why He made us with defective emotions. 

Many of us were abused, in some way, as children. This abuse taught us at a young age that fear and love went together. That trust meant pain. That closeness meant agony. So we learned to live shallow lives and never let anyone into the deepest, darkest areas of our lives.  

 

Sometimes, all we need is someone to validate our emotions. We need those who love us, not to enable us, but to reassure us that we’re not “crazy” for feeling the way we do. 

Psychiatrists and therapists fear us the most. Most don’t know how to treat us – they fear treating us due to our high propensity towards suicide. 

We have no “internal governor.” We can feel profound love simultaneously with deep rage – and if that confuses you, just imagine how we feel. We hate living this way. We’re sorry for the effect we have on your life, please know that we don’t do it on purpose.

If we trust you, don’t take that lightly. If we love you, we’re taking a big step out of our comfort zones. And if you can’t handle the bumpy road ahead, get out now before anyone gets hurt.  

 

Like I’ve said before, we’re just trying to get through this world the only way we know how. 


For Those Who Don’t Understand

Living with a mental illness can often be a living hell. Before you try to tell me I’m being dramatic, you should reasses how you view mental illness. The name, in and of itself, says ILLNESS. It’s not a choice I make. I don’t CHOOSE to be depressed. I don’t CHOOSE to be anxious. I don’t CHOOSE to be emotionally unstable. And yet, I am all of those things.  

 I know many people who, although they mean well, simply don’t get it. I’ve been told, “just be happy,” or “stop worrying,” or “can’t you just calm down,” or “just be normal, like everyone else.” The problem with all of these statements is that it completely invalidates who I am and what I feel. What if you told someone with a broken leg to just get up and walk? Unless you’re Jesus, you just sound like an idiot. Same concept.  

 My feelings, while you may not understand them (and don’t worry, because I often don’t understand them either), are just as legitimate as yours. My life might look okay from the outside, so you can’t understand why I feel the way I do. But on the inside, I’m a mess of emotions and chaos. You may not understand my overwhelming fear of being in large crowds or my tendency to completely shut down when I’m upset, but that doesn’t make it any less real. 

We live in a world that caters to healthy people. But when you’re healthy, you don’t realize how true that is. Until you’ve fought a war against yourself, every day of your life, you can’t understand how hard it is to function in a world that isn’t made for you. 

 I’m tired of being ashamed and trying to hide my mental illness. Because you know what, Jesus loves me even with my self-harm scars and anxiety and watery eyes and depression and PTSD and my inability to focus – He loves all of me. And if Jesus isn’t ashamed of my mental illness, then why should I be. 

So next time you meet someone who seems a bit more anxious than you think necessary or more sad than you think they should be, try having some compassion instead of judgement. Those of us with mental illnesses feel our emotions – whether happy or sad, on a much deeper level than most.  

 We’re not trying to make your life more difficult. We’re simply trying to get through life the only way we know how. 


Running from Anxiety

It was almost 3 years ago that I started running. As someone who HATED running with a fiery passion, it surprised me how much I enjoyed it. For the first time in my life o had found a healthy way to cope with my depression and anxiety…that was, until I shattered a bone in my foot. 

  
After a year of running hard, I was sidelined while I had surgery to remove the shattered sesamoid bone. This was the start of my downward spiral. All of a sudden, my coping mechanism was stolen from me and I didn’t know how to deal wmy anxiety anymore. 

Over the last 15 months, I have had 5 surgeries. After months of recovery, I’ve finally been given clearance to run again. But now, I’ve also developed plantar fasciitis. It’s incredibly painful and, at times, I can barely walk. 

I’m frustrated! I miss the feeling of the wind in my hair as I run down the road. Running gives me a sense of freedom that I can get from anything else. Running calms my anxious heart. It helps me decompress when I can’t make sense of my off the wall emotions. Running has done more for my mental health than any of my medications have. 

I’m planning on running a half marathon in 15 weeks – the Saddle Blazer half in Killeen, Texas on February 27. The Monday after thanksgiving, I’ll be starting my official training program. I’m incredibly nervous. But also so excited. 

My biggest fear with this half marathon training is that I’ll re-injure myself and have running taken away from me again. 

Running is a gift, a blessing. Don’t take it for granted. Running helps me to understand the chaos of this world. It helps me find meaning in a life that sometimes feels meaningless. It helps me connect with God in a way that nothing else can.  

   

So if you tell me I need to stop running, that it’s bad for my knees, that I need to find another way to cope…I’m going to tell you that running has changed my life and given me the courage to keep pushing even when I’m tired and scared. Quitting isn’t an option! 


Running Away

imageI want to tell a story
Of the power of grace
You may not believe it
But I’ll tell it anyway
At one time I thought
I could be good enough by myself
I didn’t need Jesus
Or anyone else

You see, not long ago
I was lost in this world
Broken by shame
I was a scared little girl
A smile on my face
Would tell the world I was fine
But the shame in my heart
Would tell me that I’m lying
I had endured abuse
And tried to take my own life
I had heard talk of God
But didn’t believe the hype
If He was so great
Why were my arms lined with scars
If He was so loving
Why was I falling apart

So I just kept on reaching
For the next thing I would need
To be happy, find peace
As I watched my soul bleed
At some point I would find it
Joy, love, and peace
If I would only try harder
It was almost within reach

“Almost within reach”
That’s a funny thing to say
It means the same thing as
“It’s too far away”

My mind was convinced
That I could fix all my problems
I didn’t really need to face it
In order to solve them
I could push them away
And ignore the burning pain
That rose in my heart
With the break of each day
It was almost within reach
I had almost achieved it
I was almost enough
I really couldn’t believe it

“Almost within reach”
Means I’d still fall on my face
When I jumped out to grab it
I’d land in a pool of mistakes
If I had only tried harder
If I had just been better
I’ll reach it one day
I’ll just try over

What was I reaching for?
What did I want to achieve?
Every time I thought I made it
I still landed on my knees
Peace, that’s what I wanted
Peace in my heart
Peace that would stay
In spite of my scars

That’s when I met grace
It was “almost within reach”
Almost, but too far
So God reached out for me
He said, “this is yours,
Stop trying to earn it.
Let me love you where you are
And you can have it.
You are a sinner
You can’t be good enough
But if you’re willing to see it
I’ll show you true love.
Look at the cross
And the love that was shown.
My Only Son gave His life
To make you my own.
To you, new life is given
It is freely yours
Only because Jesus died
To conquer the war.”

New life, grace, mercy?
What exactly did that mean?
Could I really stop trying?
Could I really “just be”?
The answer was yes
That’s all He wanted from me
God simply wanted
To give my soul peace

“Almost within reach”
Was always a lie
Peace couldn’t come
From clinging to my life

I don’t pretend to understand
Why God is who He is
I can’t fathom His greatness
All I need to know is this –
I’m not who I was
His grace changed my heart
Jesus loves me, He saved me
And He’s healing my scars
Day after day
His mercies renew
And day after day
I find peace in the truth


My Life With Chronic Illness

Last year, I was diagnosed with Elhers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). EDS effects my body’s college production and leaves all of my connective tissues – mainly my joints, feeling weak and hypermobile. I’m constantly in pain, and yet I get accused of being whiney or dramatic.   
I have had joint pains my entire life. As a kid, I was told that it was just growing pains. I learned to understand that being in pain was just my normal, and I didn’t know for a long time that it wasn’t normal for everyone. I have already undergone 4 surgeries and have at least 1 more surgery pending. 

  
Most recently, after 6 weeks of intense headaches and random vision disturbances, I went to the eye doctor for a routine eye exam and he sent me straight to the ER. My optic nerves were swollen and bleeding. The last few days have been a whirlwind and I received a diagnosis of pseudotumor cerebri (PTC). With PTC, my brain is essentially reacting like I have a tumor, but there is no tumor. I’ve had two ER visits in the last 48 hours and have lost part of vision (hopefully only temporary). 

  
I feel like there’s something wrong with me. I keep asking why this is happening to me. I ask why I’m in so much pain. But no one can really tell me….it’s just the luck of the draw.

  
Chronic illness and chronic pain are miserable. No one understands it. People think I look fine, so I should feel fine…but most of the time I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus. 

  
Today, I’m in incredible pain from a lumbar puncture. I want to feel “normal” and not be in so much pain. I want to function at my normal level or productivity…but I simply can’t. 

  
Some days are good and some days are bad. I feel like my life is like a wheel of future, I never know where it’s going to stop. 

  
I often have to cancel plans with friends because my pain level gets too high. Or I struggle to get out of bed because it hurts to move.

  
So, I ask you to stop thinking I’m whiney or dramatic and understand that my life is much, much different than yours.


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