Rewriting the Narrative: Giving Your Pain Purpose

by candy barone Jun 19, 2024

I used to think that sharing my pain made me a victim. From an early age, I protected myself and shielding the challenges away from others. 

Regardless of the turmoil often going on at home, the emotional, mental, and at times physical abuse at from my father, or when I felt lost, alone and as if the world was against me.

I kept in all shut tightly inside. 

I told no one about the depth of my pain, the kind you keep buried deep, yet close to your heart. I hid away, finding safe spaces to cry, to make myself smaller, and to become invisible whenever I could. 

I overcompensated in far too many ways. 

Whether it was through binge eating, alcohol, working out excessively, overindulging in … well, everything (from clothes, to shoes, to men).

I sought out anything and everything that would numb the pain.

Anything that would “take the edge off.”

This became my norm for most of my adolescent life, well into my twenties, and into my early thirties.

I hit rock bottom a few times along the way. Yet, I always found a way to recover quickly, pick myself up, and get right back in the game. 

Until the train derailed off the tracks and the wheels came off completely.

I was working for GE Healthcare at the time. My days were excessively long, and I was easily clocking in 80–100 hours a week. 

This is no exaggeration. 

I would work 15–18 days, every day, only to get a minor break on Saturdays. I usually was back working by early Sunday Afternoon. 

I was under constant stress, and so far beyond burnout I couldn’t see straight. In fact, before my ultimate rock bottom moment, I had another one that jarred me wide awake … at least for a minute. 

One morning, in my early thirties, after a friend’s party where I had been drinking and decided to crash on the couch as I was exhausted, I woke up to drive home sometime around 5 AM. 

I remember driving in the car and the lull of the highway was so soothing. 

I didn’t have my radio on, so the tires rotating on the asphalt created a gentle rhythm, ba-dam, ba-dam, ba-dam. 

The sun was just starting to come up, and the sounds was like a gentle lullaby. Before I knew what happened, there was a huge jolt. 

I had drifted off to sleep and crashed into the side rail. 

Now, mind you, I only lived about 20 minutes away from my friend’s house. Yet, I feel asleep at the wheel, driving home. 

Just thinking I nicked the side rail, I drove home, put myself to bed, and slept hard until around 3 PM. When I went outside, the walls came crashing down. The “nick” I thought I had turned out to be a much bigger crash than I had originally thought. 

There was a rather large piece of the side rail sticking out of my right fender, and come to find out … 

I did about $2,500 worth of damage to my car, as a result. 

While paying the fee to have my car repaired stung, it was the magnitude of a moment that overwhelmed me. 

All I could think of was “what if I would have veered left instead of right?” 

What if … instead of drifting off to the shoulder and edge of the road, instead I drifted into oncoming traffic, into someone else. 

What if …

The “what ifs” took me out for nearly a week. 

I froze. The anxiety, guilt, shame, and anger washed over me, repeatedly over and over again. It tore me up as my stomach was in the eternal knot. 

I struggled to find my breath, and started to have anxiety attack, fear there would be bigger repercussions, and shame I literally began to choke on. 

I was in a constant state of heightened awareness after that. 

My adrenals were firing on all cylinders and I can only imagine how high my cortisol levels must have been. I lived in panic mode. 

Of course, my way of coping with anything I didn’t want to face or really dig into back then was to throw myself full force into my work. 

Aside from a job that already was killing me, and creating a ongoing, and exorbitant amounts of stress, here I was adding fuel to a raging fire. 

Talk about gasoline. 

My nervous system was so lit up, I wasn’t sleeping. 

The car accident, while a jarring wake-up call, wasn’t enough to force me to slow down and completely reevaluate my life. 

I remained in a state of constant stress and anxiety, pushing myself to the brink. It wasn’t until a little while later, when I started experiencing a debilitating pain in my chest, that I finally reached a tipping point. 

Fearing the worst, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor.

When I was sitting in the waiting room, the walls came crashing around me. I thought I was having a potential heart attack and knew my doctor was going to ask me why I thought that. 

I started to play out all the scenarios that had me sitting waiting impatiently to see my doctor. 

I hadn’t sleep well in over three weeks, I went through yo-yo cycles of binge eating, and working out, and taking fat burners, swinging from a size 6 to a size 16 in six months time and back. 

I was overspending, overdrinking, over-sleeping around, over-everything. 

Trust me, when you already think you might be having a heart attack, processing all your bad choices in a single moment doesn’t do much to alleviate the pain in your chest. 

By the time the nurse came out to get me, I was nearly in the fetal position doubled over with pain and shame. 

Oh, the reality of all it.

The shame was beyond nauseating, and I really was struggling to breath. 

After a battery of tests, my doctor finally found a mass that I had “manifested” on my MRI. It apparently tripped a sliding hiatal hernia I didn’t even know I had, or was something in my family genes. 

It was my come-to-Jesus-moment, and it wasn’t fun.

It was my ultimate rock bottom moment. 

I was mortified, embarrassed, ashamed, and completely defeated. I had to take massive responsibility for so many things, and own the choices I had made. In all honesty, I had to take a long hard look in the mirror. 

What was reflected back was not something I was proud of. On the outside, I looked to be the poster child of success. I worked hard and excelled at most of what I did. I was climbing the corporate ladder, and given more and more opportunities to shine and bigger and bigger leadership roles. 

And, I was slowly killing myself.

I was coping out. I was hiding. And, I was self-medicating.

I felt lost, alone, and like the ultimate fraud. Talk about imposter syndrome coming in and fully kicking my ass in the process. 

So, I slowed things down to gain perspective. 

Ultimately, I took a new job, one that wouldn’t require me to be on edge 24/7 or work the hours I had been “clocking” in. 

Eventually, even after 5 years in the new job, I decided it was time to hand up my corporate suits once and for all, and I ventured out on my own. 

During that five years between my extreme rock bottom moment and leaving my 20-year corporate career behind, I did a lot of healing. 

I began to take real accountability for my decisions, and allow myself to be with the consequences that came with them. 

I started to focus on me and how to fill my own cup first. 

I took stock on what I needed mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually to feel nourish, whole, and safe in my own beingness. 

I began to explore the depth of my pain, along with the root cause. And, I did the work to heal past traumas, abuse, stories, and even my lineage. 

I also found my way back to my why. 

In understanding what made me feel alive and how I wanted to truly serve others, I was able to find my way back home to myself. Part of my healing was to find the purpose within my pain. 

I realized as I leaned in, that my pain was the catalyst to step into my greater purpose. That I was my purpose. That each and every part of my journey was for me … even the ugly underbelly and shitty parts.

An expression channeled through me as I was doing some of my hardest healing work that I still feel a deep resonance to:

God gave me my childhood so that someday I would step into my purpose. 

Now, 16 years later, I am serving from my purpose. I use my story to help others find their way. As I have embarked on my own spiritual path, I have been able to light the way for others. 

In understanding my own energetic blueprint (Human Design) and connecting into a language that offers me tools to guide others back home to themselves, I continue to find ways to serve at higher and higher levels.

For what once created a shame storm for me that activate great anxiety and imposter syndrome, now has become the spark that keeps the fire of my why burning even when everything is trying to blow the flame out. 

My journey has shown me that our deepest pain can become our greatest purpose, if we have the courage to face it. 

It’s not an easy path, but it’s one that leads to true healing, self-discovery, and the ability to light the way for others. 

There is no shame in this game, despite what you’ve been told or think.

If you’re struggling right now, know that you’re not alone. 

Share your story and take that first step towards rewriting your narrative. 

Your pain has purpose, and your story matters.

If you’re struggling with your story and feel like imposter syndrome has taken over, I have a resource I’ve created to help offer some guidance. 

This FREE guide provides you with some practical hacks to reclaim your power and stop the shame storm from taking you out.

Access here: How to Recognize, Reframe & Rise Above Imposter Syndrome


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