Book Review for ‘Beauty in the Pain: Living Life with Chronic Pain’ by H.D. Bryant

 

Written By Nilanjana Haldar

5 stars
My Experience: I was reduced to tears reading about the author’s pain, life-changing experience!

It is easy to hear about people hurting with disease, or read about them in pages of the editorial, or worse, barely scratch the surface of it in the whithering grimace of the neglected, diseased elderly at home. But do we understand it? Do we really grasp just how this pain retorts mindlessly inside this human? Do we fathom that they have no way of uttering this pain out loud, that what we might believe may be embalmed by our random words of consolation really is frighteningly beyond our perception?

Well, author and dear friend, Hallie Bryant, sufferer of the disease Schwannomatosis reveals to you in her life-altering debut novel, ‘Beauty in the Pain’ just how much a person living with a disease like that grieves inside, while the world stands to judge her for her ever increasing handicaps—in terms of her ability to do any work, her ability to behave in a civilised manner, or her slow retreat from activities she loved. I have to interject to anybody reading my review, please understand (and this is something I deeply learnt from Hallie’s book) that if a person is acting in ways that are unacceptable, that always stems from pain——mental pain being the one I knew of. Now I am aware that it hugely arises through hidden visceral pain even(this is something Hallie’s book taught me). Hallie’s disease arose from tumours that pressed upon nerves that ran around her body, and additionally through surgical errors following a bike accident.

Just get this: If a disease has the power to send electrifying jolts down the length of any portion of your body that you try to move, when the the cause of it hidden inside, wouldn’t that make your act cranked up around people? It is beyond question that such handicap, such pain requires no explanation, that people who witness someone so much in pain should naturally lean towards suspecting that this person might be in some agony (which may be beyond comprehension). Hallie’s book will usher each and every reader the transformative thinking to operate from a place of compassion and not judgement whenever a person comes off as cranky, acting-strange, resigned, or slowly and steadily losing his hold in life.

And we are talking about visceral pain! Recall when was the last time you had a stomach ache? How excruciatingly agonising was it? Now position this pain in multiple locations of the body and allow them to pulse the very moment you make even the slightest movement of that part! That’s the kind of pain Hallie has faced for years!

But this message doesn’t diminish the amount of encouragement you will receive all throughout the book, regarding how Hallie learnt to hang by the rope of gratitude and mindfulness, even when the opposing forces battled like storm winds for her attention— the opposing forces being ‘terrors of the future’, ‘anger towards God’, ‘anguish of giving up all activities she loved’. Hallie is an enormous inspiration when you read just how she figures out that the only way she could surpass the pain in her body (which was untreatable for the most part, but crippled her every second of her life) was by sitting on the fine line of finding love in everything life had to offer her in the moment. It is beyond regular praise, to see the amount of courage and determination Hallie invested to train her excruciating pain (visceral pain, mind it!) to find love, joy, and peace in her heart.

I am not supposed to give everything in the book away, but I highly recommend this book for anybody, not just for the ones in chronic pain. This is because this book will teach you the true, indispensable beauty of life for all that it is——You will see how Hallie learnt to live with it, she found genuine love for life despite it, just imagine! The book teaches about how many layers of joy one can add to their life by simply reordering the daily waves of wanting-thinking towards gratitude, and, last but not the least, the book teaches us just how grateful we all need to be with our lives and our health when some beautiful souls out there are denied it!

Applause to Hallie! You are an amazing writer!

 

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