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1 in 5 people lives with chronic pain. 1 in 12 lives with pain that significantly affects their daily life. I'm a disabled wife & mom living with chronic pain (degenerative & inflammatory arthritis, fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, & migraines), major depressive disorder, and paralyzing anxiety. My podcast & blog are ways for me to put good into the world & encourage others with chronic pain, mental illness, or previous trauma.

My Story

I was adopted at 9 weeks old. Growing up, all I knew was my birth mom was 16 when she had me, my birth name was Susan Perkins, and I was born in a home for unwed mothers. (This last part proved to be untrue. Read the full story here.) When I was 16, my mom suddenly gave me a paper with 3/4 of a page full of information about my birth parents, saying I'd known this info all of my life. In 2020 I DNA matched with a first cousin, which led me to my maternal birth family. That's been a wonderful addition to my life!


I've had chronic pain since I was 15 (nearly 30 years), plus depression & anxiety since I was 8. I just didn't know back then that these things I was feeling weren't normal. At 15, I also developed an eating disorder. I was thrown in therapy to fix myself. I eventually came out of the active disordered eating state with love and connection to my friends, but eating disorders are a lifetime struggle and sometimes when I feel helpless or hopeless, I find myself wanting to return to old habits.


In my late teens a cousin sexually abused me; I was too ashamed to tell anyone. At 28 years old, I found out he was abusing his 8-year-old daughter so I finally spoke up. But either nobody believed me or everyone blamed me, because I couldn't save her.


At age 19, I was raped & then physically abused by a "friend" for nearly 2 years. After he body slammed me onto the floor—causing me to black out and giving me a concussion—I finally ended the relationship. Despite a police officer's urging, I declined to press charges. I just wanted it to be over and done so I could live my life. More trauma I stuffed deep down hoping it would go away.


By 2015, I had been suffering from migraines and severe daily headaches for 20 years. I entered a 4-week inpatient pain recovery program. There I learned that between 50 and 80% of our physical pain is from unprocessed and buried emotional pain. I also realized that my physical pain wasn't my enemy—it was just trying to communicate something to me. Soon after I found out I have autoimmune disease, spondyloarthropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and degenerative disc disease.

Throughout 2016, I had excruciating spinal pain. I wore a back brace every day, worked from home a lot, and could barely walk. I went on short-term disability (STD) in January of 2017. I had to stop working due to the severe chronic pain. During my 6 months on STD, my arthritis pain spread throughout my body and I developed fibromyalgia. I went through physical therapy, and even applied for a great new position I was going to get at work. Then in July, my STD expired and my company eliminated my position. Over the next 2 years, I was in a deep depression. I came out of it by 1) intentional daily gratitude, & 2) realizing God can take my broken life & make something new & beautiful.

That beautiful starting showing up as I connected with other people with chronic pain, depression, anxiety, or trauma. I felt joy from commenting on their posts and trying to help. I started this blog and then a podcast as ways to show people that even though we have to live with chronic pain, we don't have to suffer from it. Of course I still struggle, but it's a mindset shift to decide that our pain isn't in control of our lives and attitudes. 

I've been in therapy most of my adult life & am on a continual healing journey. Because healing is a journey, not a destination. I won't wake up one day and suddenly feel completely healed from my trauma and emotional pain. But those things can affect me less and less as I process and deal with them.

Our circumstances don't control us or determine our destiny—we do! I believe all my pain has a purpose: to equip me to encourage & bring community to others going through a pain, illness, or trauma journey. 


I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect!

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