From pain to peace and everything in between

17 April 2024
Noopur Goel Written by Noopur Goel
Noopur Goel

Noopur Goel

Noopur is a product manager by profession and a budding writer. She loves to travel and explore...

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This is a first-person account of living with chronic pain and GAD, and is not verified by our team of reviewers. 

Who am I? I’m a product manager by day and a storyteller by night. Storytelling is an essential part of my job, but sometimes it feels forced, almost unnatural. And it’s funny: once the day is over and I’m all alone, all I want to do is pour my heart out and tell stories. But why do I want to tell these stories? Why do I feel the need? Maybe it’ll take some of my “pain” away.

Some 13 years back, I saw this popular American TV series called ‘House M.D.,’ and I instantly fell in love with it. I love gray characters, and Dr. House’s character was a complex one. His famous dialog “everybody lies” was so powerful that simply quoting it made you look smart. But one thing I will never forget was how his actions changed based on the intensity of his pain. In his backstory, he had experienced a muscle infarction in his right leg, because of which a chunk of his thigh muscle had to be removed. He ended up with a limp and pain for the rest of his life. He numbed the pain with ‘Vicodin,’ developed an addiction, and suffered major life incidents, fallouts, and tragedies.

I, too, have had my share of “pain”. From acute to chronic pains – headache, neck and upper back pains – starting as piercing pains and radiating to whatever was nearby. Going from one doctor to another, seeking second and third opinions, felt like an eternity. One orthopedic doctor gave me a steroid injection, another exclaimed that I had early-onset osteoarthritis, and a physician concluded that it was fibromyalgia.

From pain to peace and everything in between
Image credit: Cinema Bravo

Apart from taking medicines, I drowned myself in online research to just find the answers. Why did it happen? Why now? Will I ever find the cure? Will I ever be fully healthy and fit? These acute pains had almost brought me to the ground. I could not give my 100% to either my work or family, forget about pursuing any hobby or activity, and above all, travel.

There came a time when I realized that the answers I sought were not available on Google but inside of me. I was going through a chaotic time when my personal life was messed up. I was constantly stressed at work, almost on the verge of panic attacks, and I didn’t respect my body, thanks to the crap I used to put inside it. My life was crumbling, and I had to do something about it. That’s when I decided to seek professional help, and not just the one for my physical ailments. 

For the first time in my life, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). My treatment included medicines, which also helped with psychosomatic pains, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT helped me identify my triggers, rules, and beliefs and what corrective action I could take. I could finally see a glimpse of a life free of pain.

Title: From pain to peace and everything in between

My health improved, but my quest for answers didn’t stop. Now came the existential questions—who am I? What is my purpose in this life? Why do these patterns of hurt repeat? When will I find peace? I couldn’t achieve a truly healthy and peaceful life without the answers to these questions, so I turned to spirituality for the answers. 

I tried several spiritual practices—from the Art of Living to Vipassana meditation to Sadhguru’s Inner Engineering—but I lacked consistency.

And guess what?

Consistency was the answer I was looking for. Nothing changes in a day, a week, or even a month. But it might change in a year, and it will change in ten years. You just need to put in the effort, bit by bit, every single day. Give consistency a chance!

To experience a life without pain, I need to sow the seeds now. These seeds will sprout and grow into something larger — larger than me, maybe larger than all of us — for the higher purpose of living a life that is physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy.

And that is when we’ll truly eliminate pain and achieve peace.

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