Friday, October 7, 2011
My ChronicBabe.com article
Hi, healers! My chronicbabe.com article is up. Check it out!
"Her pain has become her greatest gift: Maria Mooney, guest blogger
by Maria Mooney, guest blogger (she's HappyHealing44 on Twitter)
Approximately four years ago at age 23, I was diagnosed with the "progressive and incurable" neurological disease, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), also commonly referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), and I swore that the entire world could see the Scarlet “RSD” burnt onto my chest as a sign of warning to avoid the sick girl contaminated by chronic pain at all costs. Would I ever be able to go to graduate school? Would a man ever love me? Was I now damaged goods? Could I ever live a "normal" life?
Since then, I have graduated with a Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work, passed my Board exam to become a licensed mental health professional, been loved by many men (insert winky face here), and redefined what "normal" means to me by carving my own path down the winding, and sometimes bumpy, road of chronic pain and illness.
Living a fulfilling life despite the ever-present burden of chronic, burning neuropathic pain in every inch of all four limbs hasn't always been Goldendoodle puppy dogs and vegan birthday cakes, but it has afforded me the opportunity to go within while living in a world so preoccupied and consumed by what is without and to discover my passions while learning important lessons about myself, others, and the world around me.
Now, I am a proud raw vegan, animal activist, writer, and mental health professional, and before falling ill, I was none of these. I was lost. I found myself as I fell down the blackened rabbit hole of chronic illness, and then I crawled my way back up toward the light of self-awareness and meaning. Dis-ease is a gift. Although, I would not wrap it with a pretty pink bow and give it to anyone I love, I also would not return it for something viewed by mainstream society as "better."
As time progresses and I am tried by difficult circumstances, I am realizing that character building is a slow and steady process if you let it be. When we delay our growth by denial, avoidance, regression, resentment, anger, jealousy, and comparing ourselves to others, we inflict upon ourselves the worst and most unnecessary pain possible that would only be temporary discomfort if we faced change and character development head on and with an eager spirit.
Each trial is an opportunity for growth, and when viewed in this manner, pain becomes a stepping stone to higher awareness. Use your pain wisely. It may be your greatest burden, but it can also become your greatest gift.
Check out Maria's blog: Going Down Swinging: A RSD/CPRS Blog. Or ask Maria a question at Formspring."