NO!

The moment I realized I wasn't crazy, believe it or not, was after I was all healed and back to my normal life without pain.

With the pain clinic, there was this day when about eight or nine of us met up and went to lunch and spent the whole day just talking about our experiences. I was the only one without any pain and we were all in our upper teens. Our stories were almost exactly the same. We all had to drop out of school and stop doing our sports and other activities. We all had gone to dozens of doctors and been told over and over again that our pain wasn't really there. All of us had the same difficulties and letdowns and heartaches. That's when I realized that "it's not just me" and even though I felt like it at the time, I wasn't alone.

I will never forget that feeling. In the car on the way home, I started crying. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and it was incredible. I finally felt free from my illness and that I was done. It wasn't going to affect me anymore. And it hasn't.

 

 

AM I CRAZY?

This picture doesn't have a lot of meaning, it just shows the emptiness in my soul that I was feeling while everything around me seemed to be happy.

 

Searching for a reason for my pain was the most frustrating and scary part of my life. Being told over and over again by successful and respected doctors that there is absolutely no reason for me to be feeling pain took such an emotional toll on me. I began to doubt everything about myself. I had doctors coming up to my Dad, telling him that I was just trying to get attention and that I was just faking everything. Of course my Dad never believed them, but as crazy as it seems, I started to. When I wasn't feeling well I tried to trick myself and tell myself that this pain wasn't real; as if I could just tell myself to snap out of this.

This sounds crazy and weird that I would think of this, but I started to feel like one of those crazy people in a horror movie. Not the good guy, but the bad guy that manipulates people and wants the center of attention and will do anything to get it. I felt evil for taking time away from my sister and other people, all because I "wanted attention." I started to really resent myself and I felt like something was really wrong with me. I tried everything, including trying to ignore the pain, thinking it would just go away. It was the biggest nightmare of my life.

One of the times I was in the hospital getting tests run on me overnight, the doctor came back with the results. My Dad met him in the hallway and asked him what was going on. The doctor told him that they didn't find anything. My Dad, knowing me and looking out for me, told him that the first thing I am going to ask him when he tells me this is, "Am I crazy?" He told the doctor to please tell me that I was not crazy, because I most definitely wasn't. My Dad knew me well and that was the first thing out of my mouth -- "Am I crazy?" This doctor dodged that question like a bullet, over and over again, each time I asked. If you ask someone a question like that and they avoid the question like that, it makes it seem like they think you are crazy. That did not help my self-confidence at all.

I drew many people laughing and smiling, but this one is a person in distress. I made this face a lot.

 

Doubting your sanity is the most depressing experience ever. If you can't trust yourself, who can you trust? I tricked myself into thinking that I was making this up and that it was fake. I felt like I was wasting my family's time and money, which I hated. The guilt killed me and until I joined the pain clinic, where I really found the moral help and guidance I needed, I felt so alone. I especially thought I was going crazy after I was sent to four psychiatrists and therapists. Society makes it seem like if you go to see them, you are crazy -- but the fact is that it doesn't. They help many people and it doesn't mean you are crazy.

The fact of the matter is that no one can see pain, not even the best doctors. So, who are they to tell you that you are not going through pain? Just because it doesn't show up on an x-ray or MRI, doesn't mean it's all in your head.

The answer is NO - you are not crazy. This is not all in your head and you can't control it just by wishing it away; it takes work. Doctors don't know everything, even if they think they do. No one can tell you that this is fake. They don't understand -- no one understands but you. Keep your confidence and believe in yourself because trust me, no one in their right mind would make any of this up. Who would drop out of school, not see their friends, pass out randomly hitting their head, spend hours in waiting rooms of doctors' offices, and everything else in between just to get a little bit of extra attention from Mommy and Daddy? It just doesn't make sense.

When we talk about this, my Dad reminds me that whenever he would bring up my pain, I'd ask him, "You mean my fake pain?" I said that the whole time, but it's not fake pain and no one should think that.

From the bottom of my heart, I beg you not to doubt yourself and not to think that you are crazy.