It’s Twenty Questions time and this month I’d like to introduce you to Liz from Despite Pain.
Always educating and sharing her tips or advice on dealing with chronic pain, Liz does so in a positive and comforting way. Like a trusted old friend.
My Questions/Liz’s Answers
1. What made you decide to write a blog?
I first started blogging on an old blog about 11 years ago. At that time, my Mum had just died and my facial pain (trigeminal neuralgia) was going through the roof. I think I needed an outlet for my emotions and a blog was the perfect platform. Writing helped me but other trigeminal neuralgia sufferers told me that my posts had also helped them. So I kept writing. I eventually put the old blog to bed and started writing on Despite Pain.
2. What do you want your blog to achieve?
I always hope that sharing my own personal experience might help someone in some way. Living with pain can be lonely, and sometimes, just having the knowledge that someone understands how you are feeling can help. I try to share pain management tools and techniques which I have learned along the way in the hope that what’s helped me might help someone else. Many of my posts are also aimed at bringing awareness about various health conditions, so hopefully they make a impact somehow.
3. What is the most difficult thing for you about having a disability/chronic illness?
The most difficult part of living with chronic pain is that it is so frustrating. It affects everything, interferes with everything and frustrates the life out of me sometimes. I’m in my mid-fifties and have been dealing with it since I was a teenager. The frustration is as much alive today as it was then.
4. What is the biggest positive about having a disability/chronic illness?
I was going to say that it’s probably helped me to have empathy, but hopefully I’d have had that anyway. Then I was going to say that it’s taught me to appreciate the small things in life. But hopefully, I would have done that too. So my final answer (this sounds like I am a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) is that it’s given me time to do things I would never have done. I had to retire from work when I was 28 and I took up new hobbies like writing and painting. Had I been working, that would never have happened.
5. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Oh, that’s a tough one! I could say chocolate, cheese or bacon. But, instead, I’m opting for a healthier option – sweet peppers. I can eat them raw, roast them, stir-fry them or make soup with them. I wouldn’t get bored because I could eat them in different ways. The funny thing is that I grew up believing I didn’t like them. Then I was visiting someone one night and they’d cooked roasted red peppers. I ate them out of politeness and loved them. I always have peppers in my fridge now.
6. An apocalypse is imminent, you have 30 minutes to prepare, what 3 items do you pack?
My phone. I’d want my laptop, but it would be a bit much to carry around, so my phone will suffice. I hope I can charge it somewhere. I’d also take some gel handwarmers because I don’t like the cold very much and a jet boil so I can boil water for a cuppa and to boil the handwarmers. Oh, I’ll need to sneak some teabags into my pockets.
7. When making tea would you pour the milk or water in first?
Definitely the water because I don’t take milk.
8. What is your favourite way to relax?
I can’t really go walking too far, but I do love to get outside to just breathe in fresh air and take in the gorgeous scenery where I live. In cold weather, that’s not on the cards, so I’m happy to stay indoors and watch a movie. However, I normally become so relaxed that I miss the end because I fall asleep!
9. If you could interview any human, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you ask?
Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie in Outlander. I don’t think I could ask him anything because I’d be too busy gazing into his eyes.
10. What would be your dream job?
Hmmm…my dream job would be a travel journalist. Being paid to travel and stay in luxury hotels sounds pretty good.
11. You’ve just won 10 million pounds (congratulations!), what 3 things would you do with the money?
Thank you!! I’d probably buy a house. Nothing fancy, but a nice countryside location. Currently, we rent privately so it would be nice to have the security of owning a house. Then a car. Our local garage has made a lot of money over the last couple of months doing some major car repairs so I’m now fed up of having car troubles. I’d also help some of my family out and donate some to charities which are close to my heart.
12. Where in the world would you most like to visit and why?
New Zealand is a dream destination. I just wish it was closer. It would be such a long flight and I know it would be difficult due to my pain. But who knows, maybe one day I’ll do it. Next on the list is a little closer to the UK – the Tuscany region of Italy. I would love to go there. I have coeliac disease and I always worry about travelling and being able to get good gluten free food. Italy is known for pasta, pizzas and bread so I imagined gluten free food there would be difficult to find. But when I researched, it’s apparently one of the best places in the world for coeliacs.
13. What one thing would you change about yourself?
If you’d asked me that when I was young, I’d have had a long list of things I’d like to change about my appearance. Now, I guess I accept myself for who I am. However, I’d like to have a wee bit more self-confidence.
14. If you could play any part in a film, past or future, real or fiction, who would you be?
I’d be Maria in The Sound of Music. The hills would be alive. And everyone in the vicinity would be wearing ear-plugs.
15. If there was a pill that would freeze you at your current age and you could live forever as you are now, would you take it? And why?
Hmm…so, I’m happy being the age I am just now, but live forever?? In this world? No, I don’t think so. If there was more kindness, compassion, better answers for medical problems and people cared about the environment, it might be more appealing.
16. If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?
I’ll trade with Catriona Balfe, the actress who plays Claire Fraser in Outlander. She’s married to Jamie. I could be Jamie’s wife for the day.
(Shhh…don’t tell my husband about this infatuation)
17. If you could time travel, where would you go?
I was born in the sixties so didn’t actually get to enjoy that decade. So my time travel machine could allow me to be a teenager in the sixties.
18. If you were made Queen and allowed to pass one new law, what would it be, and why?
She could pass a law which means that all politicians should have to experience real life for at least 6 months before being allowed to make new policies. Most of them live sheltered lives with nannies, cleaners and private health care. They don’t have a clue what life is like if you’re disabled, unemployed or if you’re a single parent trying to juggle work and home life. They don’t appreciate that people need to jump through hoops in order to claim benefit or get pain relief. Perhaps if they understood what life is really like they would change their policies and attitudes accordingly.
19. What personal trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
I was painfully shy and quiet when I was young. It didn’t really get me into trouble, but it didn’t make life easy either.
20. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
When I was young, my dream job was to become an air hostess so I could travel around the world. I wrote to airlines to apply and discovered they had a height restriction and I was too tall! Thank goodness because I don’t really think I would have enjoyed pushing a trolley up and down the aisles of a plane.
‘I’ve lived with chronic pain from a few conditions for most of my life. Despite the pain, I try to laugh and enjoy something every day. I live high up in the hills of the Scottish Borders with my husband. (He’s the one who makes me laugh every day, even on the days when I don’t feel like laughing)’ – Liz – Despite Pain
Thank you to Liz for being a great interviewee. I hope this has opened others minds as it has done mine.
I can relate where you say your illness interferes with everything. I feel sometimes people think my disability is a section of me, like my other life. Whereas in reality it is the whole of me, not always in a negative way, but in the way of that it’s a constant. It impacts my being.
You sure do love sweet peppers and Sam Heughan! Also, you’ve got my vote for Queen. Shame it doesn’t work like that.