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My Soul Chose My Body

MY SOUL CHOSE MY BODY – BECAUSE SOMEWHERE IT KNEW ONLY THIS SKIN CAN BE “ME”!

Disclaimer: I am no pain expert, all that I am summarizing below is out of my own experience of handling pain for over 12 years now. Let’s say since I have learn to do it the “shoulder’s straight and chin up” way, I always strive to help people to find the same road to self acceptance and smiles.

There’s no running away from pain I believe. My survivor story stands a witness to that. After 12 years of no medication, of being tagged of having it all in my head, of refusing any more pain killers because I was scared that if my disease didn’t kill me my failed liver would, when I discovered fibromyalgia, the shock was not much, but the realization humongous.

How did I deal with it? I learnt to tackle different things, I set out on a journey to know my own physiology and yes stick by my mantra of self belief and least medication. I have a 10 pointer theory when it comes to pain, I hope a few of the pointers help you.

1. Finding a doctor
Never believe in a doctor who doesn’t believe in you ~ this is a mantra I stick by. Hear me out man/ lady, do yourself a favour, find a doctor who respects your pain, as much as you respect his profession. Find a doctor who has a knack of research and is willing to explore uncharted waters for you – mind you this is different from a doctor who wants to use you as his guinea pig.

2. Knowing your own body
I am sure we all take pride in one unique trait that makes us different from others, yet then why do we forget to be humble towards the tendencies that makes us different from others? How many of us strive to know our body? How many of us strive to know what alcohol base suits us and what doesn’t? The same lessons we teach our kids, we forget it ourselves when it comes to knowing our own body.

3. Appreciating your own limit
Remember it is not a war that you are engaging in with pain here. There’s nothing macho or uber courageous about doing things which will make people go “wow” on your face and “how stupid” behind your back! Also learn to joke about the limits, a lighter heart always makes a good warrior.

4. Drawing up a priority list in life
I am glad that I learnt the importance of priority list, from my mother. It did me oodles of good! Nothing bothers me till spoken by those on my priority list – they keep me grounded, they keep me sane, they make me feel like a human. It also makes you realise that living with a person with pain is just as difficult as for the person who is suffering – makes you appreciate relationships and stick by them.

5. Appreciating little milestones, that you achieve
I hold a small note pad close where I note down a goal I need to achieve to move ahead in life and the goal is often as minuscule as writing a chapter for my manuscript, but whatever be it, when I achieve it I pat myself on the back and treat myself to a Mac Donald strawberry sundae (my favourite treat ever!)

6. Making a wish list, that is all about yourself
Who said we have to conquer all peaks in this life that is too short? I never thought I could put on my running shoes again when fibro and TMJ hit me, I never thought I could remember my dance steps when fibro fog was discovered. Know what? I am running Mumbai Marathon 2013 and once I do that I have put it down in my wish list to resume Salsa Professional Level 3, who says dreams can’t come true?

7. Believing in the world beyond medicines
I have a condition where I do not even know what condition I shall wake up next morning leave aside knowing what pain killers will work for me. I have discovered a fascinating world beyond medicines through music therapy, yoga and color therapy. It does work but, all it requires is a little bit of faith and a good healer. I am lucky to have both with me.

8. Acceptance and the confidence it brings
I was born with this and I shall die with this, when the universe that created me did not judge me, why should people? I live with mantra. Acceptance of a condition doesn’t make us weak. In fact I have realised that it does just the opposite, it helps us gather oodles of confidence and face the world. Gives you a “Big deal, I have got it. Looks like you have got to learn to live with it and not me!” attitude that helps you protect your own fear and insecurities and be respected for who you are and what you stand for.

9. Love, for yourself and the life you have got
My mother told this to me when I was 16 – “Remember if you don’t love yourself, no one else will” I stick to it. There’s no greater comfort in loving the skin you are in. Have you ever wondered why are you in awe of all those bohemian styles which someone carries off with grace, you crave yet know you can’t – simple they are comfortable, they are confident and they love the reflection in the mirror.

10. Talk about it and help others
We are lucky to be born in an era of resources and yet we choose to ignore the blessing. Truth being told, we all hide skeletons in the cupboard yet when we start talking about our own fears and diseases and meet others, we realise how small a heap of problems we have compared to others. There’s so much to read, to know and to talk about. The onus of taking the first step forward however lies on us.

Sagarika is a corporate lawyer-cum-policy researcher, turned MBA in strategy and marketing, an author, a nation builder, a thinker but most of all a true self lover, a pampered daughter and sister and a humanist who believes in cuddling babies and loving dogs to make the world a better place. All about her and more here!

She holds a special space for all those sufferers who suffer from chronic pain and through her self help group The Purple Pact she is trying to set up India’s first registered chronic pain support group.

41 Comments

  1. Nikky44 Nikky44 October 10, 2012

    Thank you so much for this post and all the good advice. I love what you said about choosing a doctor. I think that has been the hardest part for me.
    Nikky44 recently posted..Sometimes i wish….My Profile

  2. sharmila sharmila October 8, 2012

    I completely understand what you must be going through Sagarika. I am reading your book and now this post.First and foremost-‘respect’ ! Inspiring pointers there ,to lead a life with your head head high. For someone who suffered a painful condition for decades ,I can relate to this post closely. I have even had injectable painkillers at one point but symptomatic relief is only a part of what one is looking for … Unbelievable to many ,but I researched and diagnosed my condition myself and got it stamped by an expert later. This in spite of being connected to medical field and having access to the best of medical care. Each scientific faculty has limitations when it comes to the complex human body and mind. Not surprisingly, when physiology can not be blamed,the psychology has to take the blame !!
    I am pain free for a year now ,thanks to yoga.( Kill me for this but I am irregular now ) . I feel healthy and happy and above all, in control. Thanks for sharing {{ Hugs }}
    sharmila recently posted..QUIET- SUSAN CAIN A BOOK REVIEWMy Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 9, 2012

      Hugs Sharmila, tight ones! Your comment did make me take a trip down the memory lane. I know the frustration you are talking about. When my friends hit parties at 16, for 6 months every alternate day I had to visit the hospital for taking intra muscular/venous injections that took 30 minutes to just administer. It took 10 years for the marks of the piercings on my hip to fade away. It was frustrating but now looking back somewhere it tells me if I have survived that I can survive anything.
      I am elated to know that you are reading my book – looking forward to your review.
      P.S: Yes, I’ll be taking the tests you have advised this weekend, will connect to know more.
      Love and hugs, S <3 🙂
      Sagarika recently posted..Mumbai Monday 19 – Finding my silver lining and thanking CorinneMy Profile

  3. Ann Dunnewold Ann Dunnewold October 8, 2012

    Excellent tips. I will be sending a few of my clients who suffer with fibromyalgia to your site for comfort, validation, and support. Thanks!
    Ann Dunnewold recently posted..Not your mama’s bucket listMy Profile

  4. Leah Leah October 8, 2012

    Sagarita, western medicine is so limited and driven by greed. I believe this blinds doctors to their patients and the vast array of alternatives out there. Music, yoga, writing, art, not to mention herbs and minerals, all hold certain healing qualities. I believe many older doctors believe that women are hypochondriacs searching for attention. If they can’t diagnose a problem they make the patient feel ashamed instead of working with them to get to the bottom of things. I have a condition I call my mystery illness. It comes and goes. I have learned to live with this issue and how to take care of myself. Dancing has been a real blessing to me. Walking also helps to relieve the symptoms. Wonderful post.
    Leah recently posted..A Confusing CocktailMy Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Thanks Leah! Yup, you said that very correctly – sadly to get doctors to admit that they are not Gods is a big thing. I have been subjected to innumerable tests that not only were nerve wrench but also wallet wrenching. It is only now that I afford my medical treatment on my own, I realize how much my parents spent just to know what was wrong with their daughter but sadly to no avail. Yup, the world beyond medicine is a big help, especially a pep talk or a feel good activity. I try to keep myself as involved as possible, try to be around kids – gather all the laughs that life has to offer, and all the milestones I can conquer, so that tomorrow even if I am there on bed I don’t have any regrets 🙂 Loads of love and hugs for your kind words 🙂
      Sagarika recently posted..Mumbai Monday 19 – Finding my silver lining and thanking CorinneMy Profile

  5. Richa Richa October 8, 2012

    I was not even aware of this condition until a few months ago thanks to relentless efforts of some bloggers. You are an inspiration Sagarika and kudos to you to achieve so much despite all the pain you had and are undergoing. I realize how important it is to count my blessings really rather whine about absolutely petty things in life! I am glad you have such a strong support system in your family and friends.
    Richa recently posted..Inca Land Explorations – Part 2: CuscoMy Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Thanks Richa. .. those are lovely words, am touched. It wasn’t all so cool always, and I always did not count my blessings. I learnt them the tough way and somewhere am glad I chose that path. Now that I look back I can tell myself “if I could live through that, I can live through anything” and those who have stuck by me despite everything are the true ones right? 🙂 I am glad to have all of you around to encourage me 🙂 Love and Hugs….
      Sagarika recently posted..Mumbai Monday 19 – Finding my silver lining and thanking CorinneMy Profile

  6. umashankar umashankar October 8, 2012

    I like to believe I am not living under a stone. Yet, there are times I am jolted out of my dull reveries. You have given fresh meanings to hope and courage. Kudos to you!

  7. Lazy Pineapple Lazy Pineapple October 8, 2012

    Such an inspiring post Sagarika. You have given new direction to my thinking. I too suffer from endometriosis and Adenomyosis. Two very painful diseases. Though I am not in Pain the whole time but I was stuck to my bed 5-6 days a month during my periods. Things have improved since I took Yoga . There is no cure for this and I have to live with this for many years to come. Because of this, I cannot have children.
    I wrote about this on my blog and am still in the process of coming to terms.

    Your post is full of courage and determination which I seemed to have lost somewhere but am going follow your Mantra to bounce back. Thanks for the beautiful words.
    Lazy Pineapple recently posted..English-Vinglish- Movie ReviewMy Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Awwww, hugs girl!!! I know what you feel and how those days have an effect. Owing to FMS the pain during my period doubles so yea it is hell. As for progeny, darling in this condition too the door is closed, so here take my hugs. There are two things, one research is still unclear if FMS and related symptoms are genetic, so most docs tell to give progeny a second thought. Also, owing to FMS I have 3 more incurable conditions which will either make me not have kids or will be 9 months on bed, with no guarantee of a safe pregnancy. I love kids, I have been there fav nappy changer,story teller, cuddler, to soothing them and feeding them – so this has been a slap for me. I have also realized it is wrong to ask someone to marry me, because I love him knowing his love for his progeny and if he is not open to adoption. I have signed up for Single Parents Association in India and am associating with orphanages to set ground for single parent adoption. It is tough, I have bleak hopes of succeeding because of the muck in there (and I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth) but it is atleast worth a try! Let me know if you need any help or information. Loads of love and hugs….
      Sagarika recently posted..Mumbai Monday 19 – Finding my silver lining and thanking CorinneMy Profile

  8. vasrao vasrao October 8, 2012

    Nice summation of ideas, that work.Trust ,many more will learn to endure pain & still work towards their goals & achieve, what they want just like you have done !
    vasrao recently posted..SaathiyaMy Profile

  9. G Angela G Angela October 8, 2012

    My soul chose my body! I loved the title, and ofcourse the post is very touching – I enjoyed reading this post, every point shared is very true and meaningful, beautifully articulated ! Thanks for sharing !

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Thanks Angela , your lovely words made my day. I truly believe that though we do not choose our hardships – those who can sustain are gifted that (as a reward for having strength) – to balance it out we invite a soul for ourselves that never makes us give up! 🙂

      Am glad you liked the post 🙂 loads of love n hugs
      Sagarika recently posted..Mumbai Monday 19 – Finding my silver lining and thanking CorinneMy Profile

  10. Privy Trifles Privy Trifles October 8, 2012

    It has been 10 months that I know you (though virtually) and when I first read that article of yours regarding this I was shocked – one because I never knew about such a thing and secondly I never thought you could be facing this. But when I re-read the article a couple of times my smile came back as you denoted something which I always admire the most in you – HOPE.

    Be it your book, blogposts, FB status updates or such articles , you have always been my inspiration and I aspire to be like you someday 🙂

    Needless to say loved your post . The most important actionable for me is to talk about it as that is something I barely manage and I know for sure it will help.
    Privy Trifles recently posted..Silent Whispers (Flash Fiction)My Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      OMG Privy, you are making me blush now! Thanks sweety for all the lovely words, but trust me I am no super woman. I have my dark side too, the condition makes me very vulnerable when it comes to dealing a lot of emotional issues and yes I have ended up screwing my relationships because of that!

      Yes, I try to remain always chirpy and spread smiles and hope – but trust me friends like you keep me going. A lot of people look at me and say that they had no idea I was going through this, I pat myself in the back and count my blessings then – I am strong to endure and still live with chin up, dignity and the zest for life!

      loads of love and hugs!
      Sagarika recently posted..Mumbai Monday 19 – Finding my silver lining and thanking CorinneMy Profile

  11. Jas Jas October 8, 2012

    Wonderful inspiring words. When I see so many kids around me with difficulties on daily basis, these are the kind of words, I want to feel and make them feel. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Jas recently posted..The Krishna KeyMy Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Hi Jas,

      Thank you for the kind words. Yes, I know how difficult it is for kids, especially teenagers. The worst is that people around you then always think you are rebelling without a reason and if the kid is complaining of headaches or any other thing (which cannot be detected by usual tests) it is to escape school. My own turbulent teenage has made me be more appreciative towards teenage turmoils and go and approach parents and talk to them about a little different approach to handle tough times.
      Sagarika recently posted..Mumbai Monday 19 – Finding my silver lining and thanking CorinneMy Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Hey thank so much! It took me 12 years to crack #1 – so yes I know what you mean. Indeed we are a little ahead of “it is all in the head” but still there are miles to go before we are accepted with compassion and understanding. Having said that, we never give up do we? Loads of love! 🙂
      Sagarika recently posted..Mumbai Monday 19 – Finding my silver lining and thanking CorinneMy Profile

  12. Ruchira Ruchira October 8, 2012

    This is such an inspiring post ! I agree with so many of the points you have listed here Sagarika – Specially drawing up a list of milestones and knowing your own body !
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts here with us !
    Ruchira recently posted..Thursday Challenge -The Hemis Festival at Ladakh !My Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Thanks Ruchira, am glad you liked it and love you for those lovely words. Little steps go a long way in reaching the big goal, I have always believed in that. To me rewarding oneself for every little goal makes for positive reinforcement and tells me that I am ready for the next bigger goal. As for knowing the body – I have lead a rebellious teenage thinking I can outdo all my shortcomings. I was a fool – and now that I see many such fools around me I wish they understand that to ignore your body to appear “cool” is the worst treatment you can bestow on yourself. It is not cool to have a drink that does not suit you, to indulge in an activity which is bound to have repercussions next morning and to give in to the whims of peer pressure because of the fear of being left out. However, I guess we all learn our way 🙂
      Sagarika recently posted..Doctor Titus replies to me …My Profile

      • Ruchira Ruchira October 8, 2012

        Sagarika, believe me I learnt it the hard way too ! Its not always OK to do what others are doing or to eat what everyone else is eating .. you need to understand your own body .. the day we stop abusing it and start loving it is the day our body is going to love us back 🙂
        Ruchira recently posted..Thursday Challenge -The Hemis Festival at Ladakh !My Profile

        • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

          Absolutely true Ruchira, I guess where we go wrong is that we are never taught to associate with ourselves or our body as a third person, thus it is always us. The moment we look at the little lady/girl inside us from a neutral perspective we realize the torments we are subjecting her too because of our own foolishness and yes how much she needs your support and love. Although, am hopeful our generation as parents will keep these pointers in mind while dealing with our rebel teens 😛 .. love and Hugs
          Sagarika recently posted..Mumbai Monday 19 – Finding my silver lining and thanking CorinneMy Profile

  13. janu janu October 7, 2012

    Hat’s off Lady! You smile makes your pain oblivious to others. You are an inspiration to all.

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Lol! My friend once said a similar thing – the smile of the Sphinx is just as deceptive. Thanks for the encouragement – these words keep me going 🙂
      Sagarika recently posted..Doctor Titus replies to me …My Profile

  14. UmaS UmaS October 7, 2012

    I know the strength that runs underneath that smile and chirpiness and thats what makes me proud of YOU !!!
    You are inspiring people to think out of their everyday pains and struggles and be what they want to be, heart of heart. Hugs my dearest friend !!!
    UmaS recently posted..I wish someone told me…My Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Lady, you have been one of those who has always stood by no matter what. It has been almost 5 years since I have known you and trust me your positive vibes have always worked. I don’t know if I am an inspiration, but I am definitely lucky to have such loving friends around who never make me give up. Thanks and loads of hugs! 🙂
      Sagarika recently posted..Doctor Titus replies to me …My Profile

  15. Shilpa Garg Shilpa Garg October 7, 2012

    That’s truly an inspiring post and that you chose to be so positive, believe in living life to the fullest and have achieved so much, is simply awe-inspiring! Way to go, lady!! 🙂
    Shilpa Garg recently posted..Ten on Tuesday – 23My Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Thanks Shilpa, those words really make a grey Monday morning look good. Yes, I could have given up, in all probabilities would had almost resigned to fate, when Ma stepped in and declared to me that this would be our battle and not my alone. Guess, a little bit of belief from her that I could make it made all the difference – I always tell parents of troubled kids that it is very important for them to instill a belief that this too shall pass!
      Sagarika recently posted..Doctor Titus replies to me …My Profile

  16. Rachna Rachna October 7, 2012

    Nice to read your ten-pointer theory, Sagarika! I do agree with all of them. Having lived with someone who suffered a lot, I know exactly what it means to be living with someone who is ailing. If we don’t support them, they might end up into depression which sends us into depression and feeling miserable. It is a vicious cycle. Medication can help in certain cases, but mostly it is what you are made of that takes you through serious pain. I especially love the bit about loving oneself and that comes from accepting yourself in your skin. Great words of wisdom. Love and hugs! You know how inspiring a person you are and how much I admire you and your spirit.
    Rachna recently posted..What Sons Can Learn From Their MomsMy Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 7, 2012

      Thanks a ton Rachna! Am humbled by your words. Trust me, when it comes to inspiration I look around and see all of you cheering me and tell myself that I should keep walking. Yes, living with someone like us is very difficult, and though very often we expect others to understand the onus also lies on us to know that. For instance, I know it would be unfair for someone to always listen to my crib, so instead of taking long sighs personally we should lighten the situation! That words of wisdom came from Ma, when I had started hating myself and living mostly in night clothes. She took me to the mirror and showed me that the girl there needs me – true that, I have no qualms of saying that self love helps and it is NOT selfishness. Thank you once again, all I hope is that what I went through for the last 12 years when it came to battling my worst fears, no youngster ever goes that, if I can save even 1 such soul, I can skip living tomorrow 🙂 Love and Hugs, S 🙂
      Sagarika recently posted..Doctor Titus replies to me …My Profile

  17. janet janet October 7, 2012

    I do like the idea of our soul choosing our body.. that maybe it needs those particular lessons to learn in this life. that this is our ‘karma’. i also like the holistic approach for healing. having positive attitude and faith!
    janet recently posted..3 Surefire Ways<BR> to Finding Your Sweet SpotMy Profile

    • Sagarika Sagarika October 8, 2012

      Hi Janet,

      Thanks for your wonderful words. Yes, I believe it is karma too – and also that one doesn’t need to wait for rebirths for karma to strike, you get it right here. As for the title, I strongly believe that when you are given problems you are also given the strength to survive them. I was given to battle this incurable disease, thus to balance the soul, that always makes me retain a smile on my face, chose me – lest I give up on my battles! Love and Hugs.
      Sagarika recently posted..Doctor Titus replies to me …My Profile

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