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The Shift...

The Shift...

In all fairness, I think friends, family and colleagues have difficulty accepting how drasitcally we've changed since chronic pain became an integral part of our lives. People are afraid of what's different...what they don't understand. They want to minimalize the changes in us so they can feel secure. They just don't know how to act when faced with the possibility that we're so drastically different than the person they knew.  

Sometimes, it's those who are closest to us that resist accepting who we have become the most. In order for them to accpet us, we must first accept the change ourselves. For me, it isn't that the essence of who I am is gone. I'm still me, deep down at the core. What has changed is the focus of my life and how I live from day to day. I'm not less than I was before, I'm just different. Like the image called "Dew on Crimson"... it's still a red rose, but through it's metamorphosis, it has has become something much more complex and beautiful.

Soon after I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and before all my other chronic pain conditions emerged, I stuggled to help others see me...the new me. It was during that time that my friend Gail Blackburn encouraged me to write this poem. This is the original, unrevised version.


The Changeling


Locked deep


this screaming body

is the essence

of the being

that I

used to be.


You recognize

the flesh,

but know not

who I am,

for things

are not as

 they once were.


Unseen by you,

pain stalks

my days


fills my nights

with endless tossing,

as I beg for sleep.



twist and cramp

my muscles,


and tendons,


every movement

an agony spawned

in the depths

of hell.


and yet,

you see it not...


For this is




that has become

my life.



of the daily joys

That I once knew,

I turn,

with outstretched hand,

grasping for

the understanding

that I long

to find.


My memories


in the endless fog

that whirls



shadowy tendrils

that taunt

my weeping mind.



in this nightmare

of exquisite pain,

a heavy blanket

of black despair


to smother

what is left

of me.


Who am I now?


Am I

this chequered quilt

of boundless symptoms


can you peel


the layers

to discover

the unique and shining soul

I have become?



I am not the person

that you

once knew...


So shake

my hand

and get to

know me

yet again...


I am

the fibromorphasis

of who

I used to be.


Liana Brittain

March 26, 2002









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