In July of 2005 I got a very bad headache. A debilitating headache. It didn't go away for a couple of weeks so I sought medical treatment. Long story short, I still have it. Lots of tests and doctors and treatments later. No answers. But that's not what this post is about.
I got the headache. We tried a bunch of stuff, including Lortab. It was great and made me feel awesome, but it didn't take the headache away. And it made it difficult for me to function as a mother and an employee. So I quit taking it and just didn't take anything for several months. The headache intensity fluctuated. If it got too bad, I just took a nap. The pain meds weren't worth the trade off of being completely non-functional and the rebound headaches I'd get.
But in October of 2006 my headache got bad and stayed bad for quite a while. I went to the doctor and desperately asked if there was something else we could try. Wasn't there something that could help that wouldn't make me feel like a zombie?
He said it was time to go to the pain clinic. Again, that's another story for another day. But there's one element that needs to be told for this post to have meaning.
In addition to the regular medical stuff we would try with the doctors, they wanted me to meet with their psychologist. I don't remember his name, and he has since retired. Let's just call him Dr. Old Guy.
So I met with Dr. Old Guy. He said we would work on bio-feedback and relaxation. He gave me a cd and told me he wanted me to spend thirty minutes twice a day listening to it and practicing guided relaxation. I may possibly have laughed in his face at the idea of two thirty minute relaxation sessions a day. He said the fact that it seemed impossible to me was just a sign that we were on the right track. Whatever.
So I did it and came back to meet with him again. And as we walked into his office for our second appointment he asked me a question that has stuck with me ever since. Haunted me? Maybe. He asked, "Are you ready to feel better?"
It kind of stopped me in my tracks.
Now it could very well have been one of those things that really doesn't mean anything. It could have just been his way of saying, "Let's get started."
But I pondered it. I analyzed it. I agonized over it.
Was there something I was gaining from having this headache that made me resistant to healing and was that why I wasn't getting better?
At the time it seemed ridiculous. What good was there in a headache? It had caused so much stress in my life. It had disrupted so many of my plans. It would eventually be the reason I had to quit my job. How on earth could anyone think I was choosing this? Was I choosing it?
The reason any of this matters all these years later is because of my word for the year. I chose HEAL as my word for 2015. And I still hear this question in my head. "Are you ready to feel better?"
And I still don't know the answer.