Hey Warriors, I decided to share my story about an interesting discovery I made at work recently. I found myself astounded by a colleague of mine who is a covert warrior!
We bumped into each other in the utilities room as you do (especially when you work in a school). We started talking and she mentioned my sunglasses. I always wear them at work. The LED lights cause way too many migraine problems for me so I prefer to keep them on. Nobody has time for extra pain and eye strain.
So, I explained to my colleague that I have been dealing with chronic migraine – in which she expressed her sympathy.
She then revealed that she had recently been experiencing migraines as well. As we got into the conversation, my colleague started listing all of the health issues she has been dealing with simultaneously since her teenage years.
Now this woman is in her 30s, so she is still a young one. Warriors, I was left astonished by the time the conversation had concluded. She’s had multiple surgeries and has been on multiple medications for all of her different illnesses / conditions.
I didn’t expect that…
However that wasn’t what surprised me about her. It was actually her attitude. Every time I have seen or spoken to her at work, she has always been jolly and had a smile on her face. She is the kind of person you walk away from with a smile on your face because of her jovial vibe.
Bear in mind, I am fully aware that you can never tell somebody’s life story just by looking at them. There are plenty of warriors out there that you would never know are dealing with health problems. Invisible illnesses are out there tricking many people – they are after all, invisible! But with this woman, I honestly never would have known. From my experience so far, many of us in the chronic illness community exude something to the point where we can recognise the signs. Because we live the experience of chronic pain everyday, we know the signs when we seem them. Her body language has never indicated she was in any pain at all and I have never seen her have a down day....you can never tell somebody's life story just by looking at them. There are plenty of warriors out there that you would never know are dealing with health problems. Click To Tweet
When I pointed this out to her, she explained that she prefers to laugh her pain off. My colleague also told me about her grandfather who was declared to have 3 months to live but he survived for 5 years. Seeing her grandfather in that situation taught her from an early age to be positive and to keep fighting no matter what. This woman is very much a warrior that won’t take anything lying down. She has a fairly balanced perspective; yes she is ill and will deal with this for her life, but she doesn’t see the need to remain down about it. Her focus is to make the make the most of life and maintain her joy no matter what.
So why did I share this story with you?
Honestly, I was so inspired by the time I finished speaking to her, that I felt like I just had to share it with you all. Before I ran into my colleague, I was having a really tough day; I had one of those migraines that just make you want to sit in the corner and cry your life away. The pain had my emotions all over the place, but running into my colleague turned my day around. During that conversation, I was suddenly struck with the thought that I have been talking to a secret pain warrior all along and never knew. She was a covert pain warrior.
Now I don’t use the word ‘covert’ to imply that warriors are usually overt & attention seeking. I also don’t use the word to suggest that we should in any way hide our pain either. If people know, they know. I use the word ‘covert’ because my colleague’s pain wasn’t obvious – at all. There wasn’t even a hint or sign of her pain present in her mannerisms. However, her positive outlook on life and focus were so strong that I never picked up on her pain.
It is so hard to not let the essence that comes from being in constant pain, surround us to the point that we exude suffering. It usually pours out one way or another. Usually, people can’t tell we’re dealing with an illness until we say or do something that is rather odd – which then inclines people to ask us questions.
What can we learn from this?
I think that we can all learn something from the covert pain warrior. Being a pain warrior is never easy. That is a fact. That being said, it is possible to attain the mind-set that focuses on having a balanced outlook on life in spite of our pain. Getting that into your grip and keeping it takes hard work and consistent retraining of the mind, but it is not impossible. Have an optimistic mindset doesn’t erase the fact that we experience our very real and present pain, but maybe it’ll help to bring a sense of emotional, mental and spiritual balance into our lives. Our covert pain warrior proves that....it is possible to attain the mind-set that focuses on having a balanced outlook on life in spite of our pain. Click To Tweet
So how do you train yourself up to be optimistic? Well, that’s another post altogether…keep an eye out for when I address that topic. In the mean time, why not check out The Pain Warrior Code for encouraging tips to keep your spirits elevated during your most difficult days!
Until next time Warriors,