My name is Paul and I am a 42 year old artist with a disability. I have fibromyalgia and have lived with chronic pain for 12 years.
A writer asked me a few days ago “How do you manage and cope with the agony that this illness brings?”
I answered to the best of my ability and part of the answer was to think about other people who are suffering and their ability to cope on a daily basis.
Part of the challenge of fibromyalgia is the fact, that despite it being such a desperate condition, very little is understood about it. The cause, clear diagnosis, treatment and recovery are so far all up for debate with no real answers.
What is real is the pain. What I can tell you is that it affects young and old, men and women, from all backgrounds. Sometimes it can be triggered by an event, sometimes it appears out of the blue.
Every sufferer’s experience of the condition is somewhat different, what is consistent is the pain.
The pain is a story that all sufferers share and although the path of my journey may be very different from that of others, it has led me to very much the same place.
This is my story. So to begin at the beginning, my life has never been what could pass as conventional. After a very difficult upbringing, I took to a life literally on the road. Seeking escape from inner and outer demons, I was trying to find some refuge from even myself.
This way of living eventually led me to the point where, 12 years ago, I was mugged and beaten so terribly that I was left for dead. Yes, that is how my journey begins.