On Pain

 

Today, I’ll be featuring a piece written by one of my dearest friends, a soul sister and my high school savior and guardian angel. Aasma is one of the strongest people I think I’ve ever known. She’s stronger than she even realizes. She’s also super inspiring and hence why I wanted all of you to read something she’s written.

After just having begun high school in 2012, she started suffering from terrible, inexplicable back pain and went from a specialist to another for a very long time before she was given a final, shaky diagnosis: her symptoms were close to what is called fibromyalgia. It is a disorder “characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain …[that]  amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals”(Mayo Clinic). It all started with back pain that later affected the entire nervous system leading her to suffer from chronic fever. Despite receiving this uncertain diagnosis, things didn’t get much better. Why? Firstly, because this type of chronic pain doesn’t really have a cure and secondly, because its original source is almost impossible to determine.

Aasma was faced with the difficult situation of managing demanding high school studies and coping with the continuous, sometimes unbearable pain. I remember seeing her every morning by the lockers, persistently coming to classes every day. If I hadn’t known her better, her radiant smile and cheerful laugh might have misled me to think that she was perfectly fine and pain-free. That’s a true survivor, I remember thinking some days.

But sometimes being a survivor is not simply about surviving, it’s about coming to terms with one’s life, even with one’s pain. And that, that is being a warrior. 

Here are some of Aasma’s recent reflections on pain, life and moving on.

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Pain, the most miserable, yet the most effective way to learn. It is paradoxical that it makes you the weakest yet evolves you into the strongest version of yourself. Pain, something that I am feeling at the very moment while writing this. I am scared, I want to heal before moving on. But it has already been six years, how many more will I have to wait to heal. Currently my osteopath’s last words are echoing in my head – you cannot wait anymore, you must make it happen.

I was sixteen when this journey began, and in no time I am now 22. The time passed rather quickly, and the confused dreamy little girl has become a strong and determined woman now. As much as I wanted to speed up the healing process, I couldn’t. For healing does not only change your physical being, but also your character, way of thinking and most of all it shapes your beliefs and values upon which your life will be built on. It gives you strong foundation to do great things in future.

My life is about to take the biggest turn into positive direction ever since my life was shaken by the illness. Though I am grateful, but the striking pain in my back shakes my faith that the worst is over and I can sigh now, I have come to realize that the most difficult battle awaits me. Now it is not enough have to persist and persevere, just to hang in there, stay alive, now I must also move forward. This situation reminds me of a line from the holy Quran; that Allah does not change the state of a people until they change what is within themselves. Thus waiting for the pain to go away the same way it came, unexpected and suddenly, is not enough anymore.

Sometimes you might be shaken and torn apart, yet life does not stop and wait for you to gather your strength. Now having had time to make sense of the situation, I must walk with my shaking knees, and build with my worn out tools. My tool, meaning my body, is completely torn apart and fatigued, but not only must I move forward, but also keep up with the pace that life is running at.

There are so many things that have and are still breaking me, but one thing is the reason that gives me hope and prevents me from giving up before even facing the challenge, is my faith. It was very unlikely that I will ever make it this far in life, but not only did I succeed at every challenge presented to me, but I also evolved into someone who is not afraid of life anymore. I know some challenges will bring tears into my eyes, I know I will be hard, but I also know if I hold my ground, and remain sincere, excellence will come out of the ugliest battles. I am simultaneously looking at the plants in my home, all of them beautiful, vibrant and colorful, and all have the same source, soil, deep and dark dirt. The same way those dark times are something that our roots will be placed in, deep and strong, so we can shine in our good times.

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aasma2
Aasma Parkash, my role model and soul sister.

I wish my dear friend the best of luck for the future and her upcoming undergraduate studies God willing! 🙂

If you want to read more about fibromyalgia, check out this page.

-Halima

 

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