My life was friends, family, movies, concerts, museums, travel. Pretty much anything I wanted and could financially support. That usually wasn’t an issue. I had worked full-time since I was 17. I always had benefits, and the pay improved as the jobs did. I worked hard and learned various skills. I took college courses and tried to figure out what I wanted for a career. I jumped around from boarding kennel tech to dental assistant to bank teller to bartender to name a few. I wound up in the dental field for the largest part of my (up to now) career. I loved it and since I always found my way back to it, figured it was right for me. My most recent position was Dental Practice Manager. I was in charge of two offices and fifteen employees. It was both challenging and frustrating, and I loved every minute of it. I had my own office. I was in an authority position. I took managerial classes and kept learning. I was happy. I had travelled much of Europe, seen museums and art pieces I had dreamed of seeing in person. I had friends, went out to concerts, lunches, movies, dinners, and pretty much did whatever I chose. Life was good. Then the migraines started. And the chronic pain. And the insomnia. And the depression. And the panic attacks. And the guilt. And the feelings of worthlessness, loss of hope, loss of self. It occurred gradually, but steadily. I lost so much. My job was gone. “Friends” left. I was unable to travel. I had no income. I was fighting for disability benefits. I applied for “food stamps.” My social life became doctor appointments. My house became my safety net. The only place where I could control events and situations. Going out became a nightmare of overly bright lights, amplified noise, and bombardment of smells. I was in near constant pain and the meds to ease the pain caused horrible side effects. And now here I sit. Five years later. Still in chronic pain. Still waiting for relief. How is this my life?!