Suicide and Pain

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

January 27th, 2008 • Mind-Body MedicinePrint Print

I was driving to my bodywork appointment, listening to music on the local alternative rock station, when the DJ announced that celebrity actor Heath Ledger, 28, had died from an apparent suicide.

I had never heard of the actor, but I had tears in my eyes — not just from general empathy, but also from knowing first-hand what it’s like to feel you have run out of options, and therefore, out of hope and reason to live.

It was only about three years ago that chronic pain caused me to wake up regularly with the feeling that I wanted to end it all. As far as I knew, I had tried everything to heal my pain:

  • acupressure
  • acupuncture
  • chiropractic
  • cranio-sacral therapy
  • exercise
  • Feldenkrais
  • Integrated Manual Therapy
  • massage
  • pain meds
  • physical therapy
  • qi gong
  • weight-lifting
  • yoga

While some methodologies worked better than others, offering temporary pain relief, the relief was just that: temporary.

I already had seen a litany of general practitioners, orthopedists, physical therapists, and other specialists — including a neurologist, a physiatrist, and even, upon desperation, a psychic healer.

At best, the practitioners gave me an accurate diagnosis but no effective solution for chronic pain relief. At worst, they misdiagnosed me, misguided me, insulted me, and/or physically injured me.

I was emotionally exhausted and financially drained from my search for a solution. Looking further felt tantamount to looking for trouble.

Sobbing, I called my best friend, Frani. “You have to keep on trying,” she asserted passionately. “But I’ve tried everything!” I cried.

“So try a new practitioner,” she said. “Try a different location.” “I can’t,” I replied, miserable. “It exhausts me to try new people, and it can be dangerous — practitioners have injured me. Besides, I don’t have the money to throw around.”

“Something else is out there,” she persevered. “You have to keep on trying to find what’s right for you.”

It was a long conversation that kept coming back to this one point: I had to continue exploring and staying open to possibility.

It was just months later that I had a series of epiphanies that led me to discover Dancing with Pain® — which dramatically changed how I experienced pain and enabled me to begin the process of healing myself.

As my mother says, life has corners: We can be in abject misery for weeks or years, then suddenly, inexplicably, stumble upon something that radically changes our lives forever.

Until that time, we have to do whatever it takes to keep on keeping on.


e.j. April 26th, 2008

For most of my 73 years, I have looked for the corners — problem solving instead of feeling sorry for myself. Recently, however, I have felt the life force leave me and have forgotten about the corners.

I was so happy to see this reminder about corners this morning since I was feeling very sorry for myself because my body just wouldn’t let me go to work.

I will now try to problem solve ways to keep my life source strong as I have done for my physical disabilities.

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