Atypical Superwoman: Living With A Chronic Pain Syndrome

Smile on my face, but screaming with pain on the inside- my body is fighting me. That’s one of the best ways I can explain living with a chronic pain syndrome. For about a decade I have had to relearn how to embrace being me while living with a medical condition that is misunderstood (by those not medically inclined and sometimes by general doctors as well). I sustained a (rare) chronic pain syndrome while in the military. I went from not ever having a broken bone in my body and rarely getting sick, to having to depend on the help of others in order to gain control of unbearable pain that they can’t relate to.

Having any type of chronic pain can be debilitating, and wearing on both your mental and physical wellness. Not being able to fully understand why something is really hurting makes it extremely hard to explain to others and harder to process for yourself. No one wants to feel like they are a burden on their loved ones because of something that have no real control over. Not even if it does has an obscure medical explanation.

I am a daughter, mom, wife, sister, and friend, but when I’m in pain I am no longer the superwoman I tend to be for everyone. Who has ever heard of superwoman being crippled because her body was fighting against her? I haven’t, and because it’s so rare I spend a lot of my time trying to impersonate normalcy and fighting an internal war in silence. No one wants to hear about your pains everyday and no one wants to talk about being in pain every single day either. An ultimate mental tug of war as to what I let escape.

This year my oldest kids gave me hand written Mother’s Day cards. I’ve gotten handmade cards before, but these changed my personal view. The way I saw myself before, as the broken superwomen, changed into my new and improved way of thinking. When you give others your all even as imperfect as it may be, they feel you. Now I am a believer of my own truth; an atypical superwoman is the strongest of them all-She’s unbreakable. I’m unbreakable.

Unbreakable does not mean never hurting, or banged up; it’s just not broken beyound repair. How many times I may have to be repaired no longer matters. With each repair comes new super powers and more proof that I am still superwoman, uniquely atypical for a reason bigger than me.

Always fighting for others to be comfortable in their skin and able to break mental and physical barriers brings me joy. Not being able to bring myself that same type of joy because I’m always in some type of pain pushes me to think out of the box. Actually, I’m learning to create my own space and thrive there by morphing into such a beautiful atypical superwoman.

I am certain that every day I will feel some type of pain, but I refuse to allow my chronic pain to weed out any of my uncertain happiness. Being a superwoman has nothing to do with physical strength as much as it has to do with being able to overcome what seems impossible. I challenge the impossible everyday. Even when I think I’m about to lose my way, the same chronic pain that afflicts me, propels me into another level of superwomandom. Atypical at its finest.

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