To Bon Jovi, Thank You for Writing My Chronic Illness Soundtrack
Dear Bon Jovi,
As a person with a collection of invisible chronic illnesses, including hypermobility type Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis, there are times that I am inundated with feelings. Sometimes I feel like the badass chronic illness warrior that I am, to feeling utterly defeated – and like life will never, ever get better…and have no idea how to even begin to process these feelings. During these times, I turn to music to help express what I am feeling. Music helps me deal with my emotions. Music somehow says what I am feeling when I just can’t find the words.
There are a couple of songs that I routinely listen to when I need comfort, inspiration, or hope. Every song is associated with a specific set of emotions.
Chronic illness is a sneaky thing. You can feel on top of the world, kind of OK, in so much pain it knocks you down, and everything in between. Sometimes this can all happen in the same day. During the times that the pain is absolutely overwhelming, I can feel incredibly alone and defeated. It is when I feel like I’m in that really dark place that I reach for “Everybody’s Broken.” I listen to that track and it reminds me that everyone has their own burdens – I am in fact not alone. Most of all, it reminds me that what I am feeling is perfectly valid, and nothing to be ashamed of.
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Once I’m in a place where I know that it is time to get up off of the mat, I reach for “Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night.” This song energizes me to continue the fight. It reminds me that people can, and absolutely do, overcome adversity. It reminds me that I am a survivor. I am reminded that it really is OK to take a trip to that dark time for a bit, but I can’t unpack and live there. Most of all, this song makes me want to fight to get better, both mentally and physically.
Once I’m out of that dark place, sometimes I need to be reminded of the warrior that I am. I need to remember that I am strong, I am fierce, and that though I may get knocked to my knees sometimes – I always fight like hell to regain my feet. It is then that I reach for “We’re Not Born to Follow.” It reminds me that my journey is unique, and to own the fluff right out of it. It reminds me that I am the one that curses, spits, and fights.
There are times that I look at where I want to be on my chronic illness journey. This is a two song issue.
Firstly, the song that I gravitate to unfailingly regarding how I am striving to feel personally, requires no explanation at all. It’s “No Apologies.”
Secondly, I am working on not being afraid to sever contact with people who invalidate my journey as a person with a chronic illness. Whether it be people who steadfastly refuse to believe that my illnesses are real and valid, just because they are invisible – or the people who get in my face and tell me that I’d be fine if I just got out and exercised, ate exclusively organic, bought their product, etc. I have no issues at all cutting out acquaintances, and some friends. I’m working on feeling more fearless and having no issues cutting toxic people out of my life, no matter who they are. I gravitate towards “Have a Nice Day” for that issue. I want to get to the point where I can say “Have a Nice Day” and sashay away from toxic people.
Finally, every good soundtrack has a theme song. If I had a theme song for my life and my chronic illness journey, it would definitely be “God Bless This Mess.” I am not going to explain my reasoning, I’m going to let the music say it for me.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Bon Jovi, for comforting me, lifting me up, and reminding me of my badassery when I can’t see it in myself. You will never know the impact that you’ve made on my life.
With much love and gratitude,