How I Found Clarity Through Pain And Sleeplessness

There’s a lesson in everything, even a sleepless night.

I barely slept last night because of shoulder pain.

I’ve had this pain for years: been to countless physiotherapy, chiropractic and massage appointments. I’ve had needles stuck in me that led to agonizing days of recovery. And massages that were anything but relaxing.

Nothing has worked long-term. I’ll be good for a spell, and then I’m back into no sleep territory. My body just doesn’t seem to find comfort in a bed when it’s riled up with pain.

But not all is lost on me today. Some clarity came to me at 5:30 am, as I desperately fumbled for a pain-free position.

I keep looking for a bigger reason for the pain. I want there to be a tangible, see-it-on-the-x-ray issue.

Why? I want a reason to believe it’s not my fault, because that’s easier to deal with mentally. Dismissing ownership is a safe route, and safe is easy.

But wait: is it really? I mean, it doesn’t make it easier for me: It doesn’t fix anything. I’m still in pain. All it does is pay tribute to the fear-based belief, “I have no control over what happens to me.”

Which translates to, “Life is scary and we are destined for suffering.” I tried that way of thinking for 20 years and it got me nowhere positive. If you believe it you will see it, and boy, did I witness some negative outcomes to my fear-based existence.

Besides, even if I did go back down that route, I’d need to ignore the underlying issue, which I’m really good at flipping in and out of believing, depending on the severity of my pain:

I created my pain by not looking after myself: by not loving myself enough to take the time to care for myself.

It took me years to get to this point, where my body is crying out for help, “Enough with the excessive typing at the computer all day, every day!” I ignored the fact that my body needed to be appreciated, not disrespected. And part of respecting my body means I need to move it and not just sit on my ass typing.

So yeah, time to face the truth and stop looking for grandiose reasons why my shoulder hurts. Time to get honest about what is and isn’t working.

What isn’t working for me:

  • Getting angry about the fact that I can’t sleep.
  • Getting angry at my body for betraying me.
  • Sitting at my computer for prolonged periods of time without taking breaks.
  • Blaming my body.
  • Feeling sorry for myself.

What IS working for me:

  • Sending my body some love for still working even though I neglected it for years.
  • Committing to being kinder to myself (that means taking more breaks and exercising).
  • Asking for help when I need it (particularly when I’m having a bad pain day).
  • Working on strengthening my body to compensate for the sedentary work I do.
  • Saying no to painful forms of therapy (i.e.: massages that leave me incapacitated).

So, as is always in life, there is a lesson in everything: this I am 100% certain of. Even in a sleepless night.

Here’s to a pain-free existence, and getting some quality REM.

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Andrea Scoretz is a soul-centric freelance writer, storyteller, and Huffington Post blogger from Vancouver Island, Canada. Learn more about her via

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