Updated: Feb 24, 2022
People often ask me why I like to work with people in chronic pain.
My first answer, I didn't used to.
In my initial years working as a physiotherapist, it felt like every second patient that I was seeing was chronic and no matter how much I tried to help, I wasn't making any difference. Thinking that your work is pointless is a really draining and uchy feeling. Even though I felt like turning the other way, I knew the stats for chronic pain were ever growing, and I thought there must be something I was missing... so I decided to dive in.
I realize now that the barrier was my perspective, my lack of understanding and appreciation for how complex pain can really be. I also realize that at about the same time when I started learning more and working with people in pain, in parallel I was also (and still am) working on myself with a spiritual teacher. This was not a coincidence and it all makes sense now.
So again, you ask me why? Here it is.
For every 10 people that suffer an injury, 1-2 people will develop chronic pain and this is not well understood. I believe the timing, the circumstance and the individuals history all play a vital role in this persistence of pain...
My story starts when I was sailing pretty competitively in my high school years. I reached a point of having to decide whether I wanted to continue and take sailing to the next level or just stop. At that point I remember thinking there was so much I wanted to do in life and I wasn't 100% committed to sailing, so I decided to essentially quit and focus on my next steps for school. When I stopped training for sailing, I also stopped eating as much. I went to CEGEP then moved away to Montreal for my undergrad at McGill. It was during these years where a lot of change was happening to me and around me, and consequently I developed an eating disorder. This was a very gradual process and its hard to explain... I knew and I didn't know. I believed I was in control and happy. People made comments but the last thing I wanted was for people to worry about me, I didn't want to be a burden so I sort of hid behind clothes and kept it all to myself without really recognizing it.
Until one day I realized that graduation was around the corner and I was going to be taking a year off before doing my Masters in Physical Therapy. How could I travel and explore, while hiding? How could I do everything I wanted to do while being shut off and dragging this shadow around with me? How could I pursue studies in health and promote wellness when I knew deep down I, myself wasn't well. The answer was, I couldn't. The answer was I didn't have it all under control and maybe I did need a little help. I sought professional help and I got better.
Flash forward 10 years later and as I work with a spiritual coach, I realize that I have come so far and still have ways to go. Maybe 10 years ago I healed physically, but I had no idea the emotional undercurrents that come with an eating disorder that I never really worked through. I still don't fully understand, I still don't know what I don't know but this is the "dot connecting" part of my why. Through my study of chronic pain and my clinical practice, I realize it's the exact same process. It's as if I came at this whole thing backwards and now it all makes sense! What presents physically is not the whole story. I gain so much satisfaction in learning and working with people who are living in persistent pain because I'm doing the same work in my own way. I GET IT.
Sooooo, my main message to you is that we all have our scars simply because we are all human beings. I can tell you that with each step of my personal journey, I feel better and better. I feel healthier and fitter. With each progression, even more potential exists. It's not always easy but it's worth it. And the truth is, you can get there also. You too can climb mountains, you too can see a limitless future for yourself.
I am here for people living in pain because I am now here for myself in the same way. If I can help you understand the complexity of pain and guide you towards an evolved version of yourself, then that's pure gold. Not only can you bust out, you can bust out even more after that and more after that. Sometimes you might just need a little help getting there and that's MORE THAN OKAY.