WHOA, don’t you dare keep scrollin’. Yeah, I’m lookin’ at YOU, jack! You know who you are. I can see you sitting there, hiding behind your anxiety. And/or depression. And/or fear. And/or pain.
First, I know what you’re thinking when you read the name of this blog entry: “What on EARTH does chronic pain have to do with heavy metal,” right? I can see the confusion. It would take me an entire novel to flesh everything out that is rattling ‘round my warped cranium, but let’s just sum it up like this:
I’m a nearly-50-year-old 80s metal-head (I may qualify as “retro,” I’m not sure), married for almost 30 years, with a bewilderingly cool family. I’m also a full-time Christian and occasional hypocrite (aren’t we all?) who lives in chronic, debilitating pain, and have struggled with depression and bitterness over the last 3+ decades of physical agony.
I have two back surgeries and one suicide attempt under my belt.
So does this make me an expert on life, or at the very least, pain management? Absolutely not.
What it makes me is a normal dude, trying to figure out how to live with appalling bodily and cerebral torment without driving my car off a cliff or straight into an 18-wheeler.
To quote the mighty Ozzy Osbourne, “I am you.”
Where heavy metal fits in is that it’s my “thang,” man. It’s my distraction from the pain. It’s my diversion from earthly hell.
What’s your thang? If you expect to survive physical and/or emotional plagues of any type without going full-on kooky-pants, ya gotta have a THANG. You must have a distraction. For example, I take my 17-year-old son to a metal concert, and for about two hours, I’m part of a rock’n’roll family who want nothing more than peace and music. I go to the movies with my daughter and grandson, and am magically transported to another world. I go on a date with my wife, and am reminded of how beautiful life can be. I slide in a piece of slammin’ music when I’m driving, and my afflictions are once more diverted.
For just a spell.
Just long enough to distract me. Just long enough for me to get reacquainted with my smirk.
I know, as a Christian, I’m supposed to say something hyper-spiritual, like, “reading the Bible takes my pain away,” but that’s not accurate. I study the Word in order to grow closer to my Lord. Please understand, I’m not trying to take anything away from spiritual matters in the least.
What I am saying is sometimes you just don’t feel like praying. I know, “pray anyway,” they say, and I do, but for me, the idea of reading the Bible and praying for 3-4 hours a day is unrealistic.
Some days I’m just flat-out ticked off, man. I’m ANGRY! Why? Because I can’t chase my grandson around the backyard. I’m mad I can’t wrestle with my son. I’m outraged I can’t walk the mall with my lovely wife without stopping three times to rest my spine for a minute. I’m livid about the prison of pain which haunts me day and night, with no release whatsoever.
So, for me, that’s when heavy metal steps in. Or movies. Whatever. Just something to help me re-harmonize my emotions and salvage my composure.
A prayer and a Bible verse here, a new metal CD, graphic novel or cinematic masterpiece there, and before you know it, I’ve made it through another day. WOOHOO!
Whatever it takes to endure, do it.
Live. Thrive. Survive.
Never give up, never give in, never surrender.