FB Page: Behind the Visible (@behindthevisiblefilm)
New documentary Behind the Visible provides an intimate look into the lives of those dealing with invisible illness. Their film highlights POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) in particular, to spread more awareness about this little known condition.
Listen to the episode:
Finding Purpose Through Pain
by Ashley Rippentrop – Director and Producer of Behind The Visible Film
Suffering and loss are things that tie us together as a human race. While we all experience different types and levels of pain, we all will experience some form of suffering if we live long enough.
These experiences affect us. They shape who we become. But we do have a choice. We get to determine how we ultimately respond to these adverse experiences. We can let them break us or we can use them and seek to find purpose in them and through them.
Becoming part of something bigger than yourself is crucial. For some, it’s faith; for others, it may be a philanthropic cause or a non-profit organization they’re involved with. Whatever it is, it’s important to get out of yourself and find a way to grow from your suffering.
How to Find the Purpose in Your Pain – 4 Steps to begin this journey (acronym RALLY)
*RALLY in the sense that you have to find a way to continue on through the suffering; not that you have to be better, but in a way that you’re finding a way to move through it with purpose.
- Reflect and grieve. Really spend some time thoughtfully journaling and think about how your suffering has affected your life. How has it changed you? How has it not changed you? What can’t you do anymore? What can you still do? Remember that it is okay to not be okay and to be sad. It is also okay for you to be sad about how your life has changed, while also trying to grow from it.
- Accept. It’s okay and actually healthy to accept that your situation has changed and that your body now has limits it didn’t used to. It’s important to respect your body and yield to its signals that it is overdoing. Focus on finding ways to work around your illness, rather than fight against it. I think anyone with chronic illness goes through a time at some point in their life where you have to find creative ways to do the things you still want to do. This journey isn’t always one and done and often chronic illnesses continue to develop and change our new normal.
- Learn and Look. How can you use the talents, abilities, and gifts that you are still able to do to help others? How can your pain help you to better relate to others? Which groups of people can you best connect with because of your suffering? And therefore, which groups can best hep you?
- What can You do? How and in what situations could you use your experiences and suffering to help others? Do some research and write out some realistic steps you could take to move toward making this happen. Part of this journey might involve finding others who share a common goal and working together for that aim.
*You can view more from Ashley at her chronic illness blog at morespoonsplease.com and also check out the trailer for her upcoming documentary at Behind The Visible Film.