“…That you are here–that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

In Dead Poets Society, Robin Williams’ character, John Keating, asked his students this question: What will your verse be? What will be your mark you leave upon the world? How will you make a difference?

In the wake of Williams death, we’ve been reminded again of how important it is for all of us to ever be searching for that spark. If we can find a way to connect with just one person to make them feel less alone, we’ve made a difference. If we’ve contributed our voice towards something positive, we’ve made a difference.

That quote has been at the beginning of the Faces of Pain website since its launch. Faces of Pain provides an outlet for people with pain to share their verse and make a difference to others. It was created by our partners at PainDoctor.com and, with them, we believe that by sharing our stories, we can help raise awareness about chronic pain.

We encourage you to add your own story to the Faces of Pain website. 

If you visit the website, you’ll see that many people are already sharing their stories and their sources of inspiration. Scrolling through immediately gives you a sense of other people out there battling chronic pain. Each of their very real faces is a testament to the strength that people rely upon every day when battling chronic pain.

For example, Goldie writes that wide open spaces help her face her pain. She writes:

“I cope each day by putting on my clothes and a smile. I go to the barn where I train horses in Dressage to music. I paint with watercolors and sell my art. I sing and made a CD. Keeping a sense of humor and helping others puts pain in the back seat.”

Many of the Faces of Pain contributors note that they find strength through their families, their pets, or their creative endeavors. Dealing with pain will look different to everybody, but by looking at a collection of voices, you come to realize that the shared trait is resilience.

Showing how you stay resilient in the face of pain has the potential to inspire someone else to keep going. 

Jen uses resilience when setting goals for her life. She writes:

“I’m inspired by other people and their openness to share, my furry children (Lucy and Peppi) who get me out bed every day, and my nephews–they aren’t getting any younger. Sometimes it’s frustrating to set long-term goals

[with pain], so I try every day to set small goals. Even if that goal seems trivial (wash and dry a load of laundry, wash the dishes in the sink). Small accomplishments do add up!”

Likewise, Sophia writes that:

“I cope by trying to take it a day at a time and always thinking positive. I am inspired when I see someone who has it worse than me smile. Their smile is what keeps me going. My goal is to go on many mission trips throughout my life to help people in need in third world countries who have nothing.”

Thomas has turned his pain into a source of compassion for animals. He writes:

“My 11 grand children inspire me to keep going. Also seeing others that are worse off then myself inspires me to do the best I can. I also run an animal rescue that keeps me busy and I can talk to the animals and they listen. I am coping by living one day at a time. I take some pain meds but try to stay as active as I can and with support from family and friends helps a lot but they don’t understand what we go through to make it through a day. I want to get an animal rescue/shelter built big enough to house around 300 cats and 11 dogs and start a chain of rescues called Help Us Pets Animal Rescue.”

Like Thomas, many of the contributors on Faces of Pain are working towards a goal–their verse, if you will. 

From family to faith, these chronic pain sufferers have found sources of inspiration all around them to do and be more. Through setting goals, these patients can turn pain into a source of motivation. Some of the more inspiring goals include:

  • Leah: “My goal is to return back to work. I miss my job as a pet stylist. I also would like to be able to teach k-9 obedience again.” 
  • Ed: “My long term goal is to become a paid peer advocate for the mental health system.”
  • Jeannette: “I would like to make a difference in the lives of others and do anything possible and raise funding and awareness for not only Lupus but all invisible diseases!”
  • BriAnna: “I just graduated a week ago and now I want to go to college to get my degree in art.”
  • Geraldine: “I would love to be able to walk with my dogs everyday.”
  • Carole: “One goal I have is to go back to Morocco to visit.” 
  • Ivy: “My goal is to move past [the pain] and learn to enjoy life again despite my health issues. I need strength and courage to move past it.” 
  • Kara: “My long term goal is to finish Physical Therapy school!”
  • Christine: “I want to further my freelance writing career and be a better wife, partner, parent and grandparent despite the pain.” 

So, what will your verse be? How will you add your voice to the Faces of Pain page to spread awareness about chronic pain or talk to others in your community about this often invisible disease?