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While I'm Sleeping

Living with Chronic Pain

Lay your head down. Close your eyes. Leave your worries and pain for tomorrow. Take a deep breath. In and out. Listen to only the sound of the air filling your lungs. Then fall asleep. Dreaming, I’m hanging out on a beach, I hear the waves crashing into one another and finally feel at peace. I’ll call this dream, my ocean.

Hundreds and hundreds of birds huddle together on the beach as a storm rolls in. Chirping and talking, it sounds as though they are working together to keep each other warm. The waves continue to roll. Sitting on the balcony porch, the waves make a peaceful sound over and over again that keeps my mind calm. I truly feel at peace. How small I feel next to the ocean. My chronic pain and small problems seem to wash away like tiny broken shells. Sea, take away my pain. Wash away any guilt or regret in life I may still carry with me. 

The ocean is flawless but can be cruel. Love myself and forgive others who have been cruel to not just me but the world. I want to continue moving and rolling on like the ocean. 

Let the past be a lesson but move on with life. Love the ones right in front of me. Life is meant to move forward and grow. Meet new people, travel often, love and take care of family, encourage, listen and have fun with friends. Be kind to strangers and fight for what is equal and right. 

My ocean is imperfect and somewhat damaged, but it is also loving and caring. My ocean involves beautiful creatures. My ocean will continue to roll and move on. My ocean will keep fighting to be healthier and stronger. I hope to make people feel at peace and loved when they are around me just like the ocean does for my mind, body, and soul. 

Smile. You are alive. You have a beautiful family. Loyal friends. A home. Food. Clothing. Love. Freedom. What more could you ask for? Relax. Give in. Do nothing. Tell racing thoughts to go away tonight. Leave me be. Sleep. Dream. Wake up, refreshed and ready to conquer the day.

The sunlight coming through the window wakes me and I remember being at the beach in my dreams. I smile. The smile is because I’m now looking at my beautiful daughter, Lilly. She is so precious sleeping next to me. Her beautiful face is all relaxed and dreaming of princesses. Seconds later, I remember the dream I had before waking up.

Running free without pain down the basketball court about to make the winning basket! Everyone is cheering, encouraging me to shoot but then I'm hurt. I'm laying on the basketball court screaming in pain. I wake up. The stiffness and pain immediately flow through my body. From head to toe, I’m reminded again today that my body is not as it once was and it was all a dream. 

Laying there in our house, my mind quickly starts to race. Thinking about what Lilly and I have planned for today. Pondering, I wonder how I can be a wonderful and productive mother to Lilly when my body hurts so much. My mind tells my body, you can do this, one day at a time. I try to motivate myself. But guilt slowly creeps into my head. My heart starts to ache. Then, Lilly wakes up and smiles at me or giggles something under her breath that’s cute but doesn’t completely make sense. All my worries wash away, and I tell myself I got this and that I’ll never let my daughter down. Some mornings are tough, and my body wants to stay in bed all day but that little sweet face gets me out of bed.

A person with chronic pain loves to sleep and dream. Sleeping is the only way to be completely free from pain. Every time I fall asleep, my body gets to rest from the daily pain and my mind gets to be free from thinking about the pain constantly. When one is asleep, he/she gets to let go of all worries and pain for a few hours. Dreaming, I get to do whatever I want. No limitations on physical activity. My body is free again when I’m sleeping.

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While I'm Sleeping
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