1. My Savior, Jesus Christ is literally who carries me through each day. Not only carries me, but gives me such merciful amounts peace, healing and mercy. I must confess just how difficult it is to share these experiences and feelings. My illness and pain have always been something I have kept locked up inside of me, not wanting anyone to know. But, this is my small, little girl attempt to make a difference in the lives of others who have chronic illnesses, health problems, or physical disabilities. I am determined to share my knowledge that you can have joy, peace and happiness even amongst the deepest pain.
2. The pain that I have is in my muscles and joints, therefore any sort of activity or movement hurts. The greatest pain centers for me are my neck, shoulders, back, hands and legs. It is no secret that have a great love for life though and all of the joys it brings! Life is amazing, and it full of so many more beautiful and significant things besides the pain.
3. Sometimes my stomach feels so sick that I want to cry. So, sometimes I find something to make me laugh. Sometimes the pain feels like knives in my muscles, or someone is twisting them into a knot. I just try to take some deep breathes and focus on what I can do that day. One day at a time.
4. Music is my life force and my escape. It is how I cope. It is the place I go to find relief. Sometimes, all I need is to put on my headphones, turn on a little Owl City, Ingrid Michaelson, Mindy Gledhill, Relient K, Mae, Joshua Radin, Yellowcard, Jillian Edwards, Aaron Espe, Coldplay, Nickel Creek, Sarah McLachlan or Sky Sailing and fly away! I close my eyes, take a deep breath and let the music and lyrics heal my mind and spirit. It is in music where all of the deepest feelings in my heart are put into song. It will play on my heart strings, and give me some hope to keep moving forward. Speaking of lyrics that melt away the hurt, this one is from Relient K.
5. I will never forget this one day. When I first started getting sick, and my body was increasingly in pain and I was only 15. After a time being sick at home I returned to school. I had to walk up some stairs to get to a class. I couldn't do it. After five steps, I had to sit down and rest. It took me 10 minutes to get up those stairs. I was late for class. I realized as I sat there, that my life would never be the same again. I felt a weight come on my shoulders that day, and even though that weight is still there, and often feels heavier than ever, it will never have the power to knock me down.
6. Disney makes everything better. Dreams really do come true, and happily ever afters are completely realistic. I believe that will all my heart.
7. My family and friends have pulled me through. It has been their love that tells me I can keep going. I can face the next day. It is their love that reminds me that I still have worth, importance and value. They teach me that I am more than my pain, and that I will be loved no matter what. I want all who suffer to know that. You have so much worth. There is so much greatness and awesomeness inside of you! Don't let your illness bury that. Rise above it.
8. Sometimes, my pain and illness really scare me. I have been in a place where I can't even mentally or emotionally function because of how sick I am. Sometimes my pain is so high I go into a state of shock and my body starts rejecting everything. I can't move, and just my clothes on my skin are painful. Being in that place really scares me, so when I feel myself getting sicker I fight really hard to keep fear away. If you are ever in that place with your illness, find what takes your fear away. For me, it is knowing that God will take care of me, that He is with me, watching over me, and will never abandon me. Find what keeps you from being scared or afraid and hold onto it everyday. Let it be your light when it seems like all is dark.
9. I made a promise to myself and to God that I would never give up. I promised that I would hold on and move forward no matter what. Because of that I hold myself accountable to see the light, and the beautiful things in my life, and what I am grateful for, no matter how sick I am, how hard things are, or how far away my dreams seem. I can spend a good time crying and hurting, but I always need to chose to move pass that and see the light behind the clouds and the light that is able to enter my heart because of the cracks in it.
10. My name is Caitie Graves, and I am not my body.