“I know the darkness, and the light, of persisting pain”
I am a storyteller, science nerd, book lover, and former firefighter paramedic. I also once lived with ongoing, relentless, debilitating pain.
In my writing, I share the depths of despair as well as the endless possibilities of hope. Realistic hope that is based on sound science and an understanding of the human condition.
I share the darkness and the light, since both exist in all of us. Often at the same time. They represent the depth and breadth of our human experiences, including our experience of pain.
I know the darkness. I struggled with pain for years. Pain that forced my medical retirement from the career that had defined me. Pain that led me to withdraw from the world, from the people and places in it.
I also know the light. Learning pain science in graduate school opened the door onto living well again. To reconnect with the things – the people, places, experiences – that truly mattered to me. To a life of meaning and purpose and love.
Science alone was not the answer, though. It was a key that unlocked possibilities. I also needed literature and nature and human connection. I needed stories. Stories have always been how we understand the world, after all. For time immemorial. Stories are how we understand each other and our experiences. How we understand ourselves.
I try to bring the science and the stories that will help us make sense of our experiences, ourselves, our world to the page (or the screen is probably more correct!). It is through writing that I can make sense of things in my own life. I hope some of what I write will help others find their unique path forward.
I’ve been writing about pain, nature, and living well for some time over at my blog MyCuppaJo.com. I’m also the cofounder of the Endless Possibilities Initiative, a nonprofit organization with a mission of empowering people living with pain to live well. Please feel free to reach out to me if you’re so inclined. I’d love to connect. I’d love to hear your story.