It was a feeling of a drill machine punching a hole in the left side of my head, silently.

Someone was pressing my head so hard that my jaws were tightly clenched, or so I felt. My teeth were paining as if they were collapsing. I could not process this feeling in my sleep. I placed my index finger between my teeth but it could not take the pressure without getting hurt. I woke up in excruciating pain on half my face too.

This was the first massive episode besides the constant pain in the head and face I was having, without knowing what it is; all day, every day, 24*7.

It was the onset of stabbing-like flashes of pain in my eyes, occasionally. At times, I would wake up and find myself slurring or tightening the left side of my mouth to be able to speak (which my family and a few friends pointed out to me, with concern).

I used to call it my “long-hair head pain” oblivious to the lifelong and incurable disease as per medical science, that I was soon going to discover.

The origin of my chronic ailment goes back to 2006, two of the likely reasons being chronic-circumstantial stress or injury or both. My condition was also conjectured to be psychosomatic in nature, as I am a highly sensitive being. No doctor failed to notice this aspect.

After many years of constant pain on the left side of my head and face, I was diagnosed with “Atypical Trigeminal Neuralgia (ATN), or type 2 Trigeminal Neuralgia or the Suicide disease,” as commonly referred to in the medical fraternity; a nerve-pain condition that originates in the brain and branches out to the three nerves on the face.

This is considered to be one of the most excruciating pains known to humanity, that causes people to want to end their lives rather than bear the lifelong debilitating pain, and its impact on their life.

I did not know the root cause of my pain concretely, nor did the doctors. We still don’t. In the wildest of my dreams, I had not envisioned a life dipped in pain, perennially. I had to learn to live in this excruciating pain after my ordeals full of medical investigations and sessions that yielded no outcomes.

Sometimes I would suppress it with allopathic medicine and other times by pretending its absence. I chose to bear the pain over a lifetime of allopathic numbing-medication to be able to operate normally (as the compounds in the medication banned me from operating laptops or gadgets, and driving vehicles or doing any other activity that required high concentration or focus or caused stress). I trashed them within four days and never visited neurosurgeons thereafter, neither for more brain scans nor for any modern treatments.

Then started my battle with this perennial pain while trying to lead a normal corporate and social life.

Speaking of which I was boldly rejected, labeled and ruthlessly judged more times than I was surprised; at opinionated statements, as soon as I would trust and reveal about my facial/head pains.

I had always downplayed my physical pain in the middle of shrieking episodes and hid it safely within myself, but emotional pain kept me busy due to a lack of release, empathy, and support from people. I do not blame them. It must be hard to imagine what I go through.

Without excuses, I tried to navigate life more normally than many physically pain-less people did; fretting that their nail polish has chipped or their foundation has caked which were the causes of stress for them (although it can be a serious matter for girls, on a lighter note 🙂 )

It became tough sometimes; managing the swellings on my face, not being able to rest my head on a pillow or even comb my hair properly. Being a woman I found it peaking in my monthly times. Nevertheless, I did everything mechanically with grit and determination to be able to conquer this condition. The only other way was surgery in case the condition got worse. I could neither imagine my long hair going down nor afford the expenses, in this life.

Then began the journey of my search for answers to the numerous “what’s and why’s” about life, its rules, meaning of my existence, karmas, retribution, self-healing, home remedies, simple forms of yoga, therapies and so on,  to be able to obliterate this disease. Nothing helped.

In the middle of many existential questions and deeper meaning of life that I was pondering over for years,  I came across a video of Sadhguru’s, Founder, Isha Foundation, Coimbatore.

Considering my preliminary understanding of the organisation, I decided to learn Yoga and become an Isha Hatha Yoga Teacher in 2015/16. I was driven to learn Yoga in its most classical form and felt blessed to learn it from a living master. Besides many other reasons, physical health benefits was one that I had imagined Isha Hatha Yoga would offer, but little did I realise that my Hatha Yoga practices were working at a much deeper and fundamental level.  

In this process some of the answers that I had been seeking started to unravel. 

To a logical mind only experience can transform. I experienced transformations within me not just at physical and emotional levels but there were fundamental shifts occurring within me. 

During my time in the ashram for a rigorous Isha Hatha Yoga teacher training in 2015/16, my physical, mental and emotional states deteriorated at first (my system was undergoing course correction) but suddenly they improved so dramatically that they captured my attention. It was the session of “Nirvana Shatakam,” the chant that I had hated reciting up until that moment when I opened my eyes in the mid of the chant and something within me broke into pieces doling out tears of ecstasy.

In that moment I realised that I was truly present in the world– my chronic and constant pain had vanished by 85%; that changed the way I viewed the world; nearly pain free! 

I cried in joy and immersed in the Nirvana Shatakam Chant, Isha Hatha Yoga practices, Linga Bhairavi Devi Sadhana, Bath in icy-water of Chandrakund, Meditation in Dhayanalinga; loving it all, thereafter.

Being a sceptic, these are no ordinary changes I experienced. They underwent innumerable quality tests and hit success. My concentration and memory levels kept rising notches up. My body kept getting toned, and lifestyle disorders such as backache, fatigue and disturbed sleep caused by sedentary work-life were getting obliterated from my system. My family and colleagues could see notable changes in my personality, enhancement in leadership skills and decision-making ability, and improvement in handling stressful situations at the workplace and home. I was highly appreciated for my meticulous performance and attention to detail by colleagues and the leadership team at my workplace.

“Such is life” was transforming into “Life is beautiful!”

The disease did not go waste.

Besides other reasons, it directed me to seek a solution that set me on the path of Classical Hatha Yoga that gave me Guru’s grace and the commencement of my spiritual life. It made me an empathetic teacher to be able to help others through the venture I conceived in January 2017 – Yogamat Life.

It has been a beautiful journey of teaching Isha Hatha Yoga to society; doctors, defence officers, corporates, education institutions, masses and seeing them improve health and win over ailments in many cases.

I had heard my Guru tell a story of a uniformed soldier who was in pain due to a heavy rifle load on his shoulder but as he started to accept that it’s a part of his “being a soldier” as well his mandatory “uniform” he never put the rifle down nor complained.

I try the same.

Incurable, the disease worsens with time but in my case, it gets better by the day. Besides Isha Yoga, which had healed me significantly, I also found further relief in Ayurveda under the care of Dr K Balachandran, Arya Vaidya Sala Kottakkal, starting mid-2021. When I asked him if it is possible to be pain-free with Ayurveda, he said, “Read Bhagavad Geeta.” I got the answer. “We will do our part, let the Divine do his.”

Although I still remain in constant mild pain, it does not have the audacity to obscure my life because:

My bloody head is impervious! 🙂

 

Image credit: Original image by Isha Foundation (of me meditating in a class session). Edited by the Author (me).

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