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CHronic Pain, Art Therapy, Spoons, Maslow's, Art

My candle in the dark.

When I started this website, I felt like I only wrote into an endless void. Would there be a single soul that wanted to listen to what I had to say? Even bigger yet, what would I write about? I was in a creative block.

My blog started as a way to release frustration of a sudden health change. The truth of my changed world boiled around me like whitewater rapids, sometimes threatening to drag me into the undertow. On my blog, I felt I had to portray myself as a still pond, without a ripple.

Afraid of showing my own truth was a dark place to be, and my blog post, “Finding my Personal Truth,” talks about that lesson. I felt lost in everything, my career loss, my health changes, and relating to others. Losing a career to a life that was suddenly not mine was a double whammy.

I am unsure of what to expect when I wake up, what symptoms will be there, and I am even more confused about what to do with a future that changed.

I grasped for reasoning to my existence, what would I live for now that the rug was ripped out from underneath me? Even when you love your family, there is the basic of self. The love of my husband is tremendous, but I had to find a way to fill the empty void.  My core as a person felt empty.

In my younger years of college, I took several psychology courses. One of the philosophies of psychology is called “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” Even today I looked at the diagram as I was designing it and it is no wonder I have felt so lost, confused.

I could quickly see that 3 of the 5 foundations were literally rocked in my world. Self-esteem, confidence, achievement, friendships, family relationships, employment, health, it all was affected. My internalized guilt was truly me being way to darn hard on myself!


Tough chronic pain can leave a person depressed and confused. There is light at the end of the tunnel if you chose to look.

The one thing that remained  in the wake of the storm was my art. Art was my only ray of hope. I couldn’t see my way straight in the strange fork-in-the-road journey I embarked upon with no warning.

The incredible beginning to my art was chronicled in my blog post, “Art Therapy For Chronic Pain & Stress Management.” I truly believe my life was changed by my art.

Chronic pain sufferers are met by closed doors. I feel like the captain of the Closed Door Club. It gets to be an awful lonely group when friends and family don’t recognize the old you. Looking around in the empty club room, I see room for many more.

It is time to hang some curtains, nail up a welcome sign and realize there are others like me. It doesn’t have to be this way. You are not alone!

Closed doors come in many forms with some of our chronic pain diseases.

Doctors are intimidated by illness they can’t treat, we are an enigma. The door closes.

Friends are hurt by yet another cancellation, you aren’t upholding your end of the friend code, the door closes.

Family is hurt that travel and holidays are hard, loud noises, crowds, and traveling stress send me into a downward spiral. I cannot control my health away from home. I closed the door because it hurt to let them down.

My darkness has ended when I chose to let it, to see I could draw back the curtains to let some light back in my life. Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious, we need someone to state it to us. When life changes, it is permissible that we do, too.

We need to realize, with change, comes choices that we can make. We still can, in most cases, assert control. These choices may be tough, we may outgrow people, but that is part of our journey.

Even without chronic illness, we lose people. They come into our life at a time of need, we learn our lessons, and for whatever reason we go our separate ways. We outgrow people.

I think illness can make things feel forced out of our lives, and as true as it is, we need to realize we can embrace and maybe find a new way of life. In life, doors close so other ones can open, that is how I now view my journey.

My eyes have opened to things I have taken for granted. The immeasurable pain of Trigeminal Neuralgia has taught me how sweet the good times are with my husband and girls. I have learned to see the sunshine and the warmth it provides as the pleasure I used to ignore.

It is a simple thing, but when I am not in pain and soak up the warm rays, it is a day God gave to me to really feel with a different perspective.

I hate the words chronic pain, but I think they really turn on the seventh sense if you can see past what was taken from you. Yes, there are bad days, yes it hurts, appointments suck, pain is a bastard, but there are the slices of life in between.

It can be hard to focus there, but if you look real hard, those good times are within reach.

A profound realization struck me tonight, I have tried to fit into my old life. I am not the person I was, and my goal is to find my tribe of people like me. I want to uplift and help others see the light where I couldn’t for almost 2 years. This is not a way to live.

My light in the darkness came today when I checked on my website stats. I happened to notice a remark from a beautiful young lady named Sofie. She was the first comment that told me that she related to what I wrote.

Thank you, Sofie, for making this all worthwhile and showing me someone is truly out there. I hope you read this and realize you are part of my journey. You are the hope I had to reach others like me.

Please do reach out, we love to hear from everyone! You are not alone as much as it may feel like if you are a chronic pain patient. I have met incredible people along the way that have touched my life in ways they will never know. You are not meant to travel this road alone, choose to open the curtains.

I can be friended on our Facebook page! Please swing by! We also are starting a new Facebook group, Graphic Brewery Blog Distillery. Consider starting a blog, we are there to talk about our journey and offer any support!

Brandie Larson

About Brandie Larson

Hey there! Welcome to my site! I'm am a barely 40, mother of 2 teens girls and wife to my great husband, Drew. Creativity is in my blood, I am addicted to drawing, graphic design, photography and more. My newest addiction is blogging and my many years of marketing makes this a perfect fit for me. The outdoors has always been my happiness, from fishing to hiking, I love Minnesota! Pets are also a passion, our family also includes an English Mastiff, Dachshund, Gypsy Vanner horse, and 2 cats.

One Comment

  • Brandie says:

    That is very, very special indeed to get to spend such quality time with the grandkids! You are very right, I think we all go through the process of adjusting to a changed life. Thankfully it brings good things, too. 🙂

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