Dad: If you were a character in the Lord of the Rings, who would it be?
We were watching the Return of the King. At the end of the evening...
Dad: Would you destroy the ring?
Me: I don't know.
Let me fill you in on a few details. I have had Chronic Headaches for 4 years, 5 months. It is a heavy burden. I have had to abandon the life I used to have. I have, over the years, been forced to drop more and more so that I could cope with my headaches. I have not gone a single second without having a headache in all that time. I woke up one morning in April 2006 with a headache, and it has never gone away.
I used to be a big athlete: now I can barely play softball. I used to be a straight-A student: Now I am scrambling by with a reduced course load.
In many ways, I am like Frodo. One day, I woke up with my headaches... just as one day, Frodo was entrusted with the One Ring. He didn't want it. I didn't want it. I set out to get rid of them, just as Frodo set out. I thought it would be taken care of quickly: a pain med, a couple days of rest. Frodo thought he just had to get the ring to Rivendell.
When I got to Rivendell, I found out that I would have to carry the ring all the way to the end. No doctor could help me. No specialist. I got dumped with psychologist: If it can't be cured with pain meds, then it must be psychosomatic. The psychologist did not help at all, and all of a sudden, I found myself alone, without a fellowship. I had to destroy the Ring (my headaches) myself. Nobody else could do it for me. I had to bring the Ring to Mordor and get rid of my headaches. The Medical System would not help me. The only person that stuck by me, and urged me onward: my mother (Samwise).
At this point in my life, I was very depressed. I saw no future. Just an endless string of days spent wallowing in pain, incapable of doing anything with any worth. I couldn't work. I couldn't go to school. I couldn't play sports. I got addicted to escaping my reality. I would reread Lord of the Rings over and over again. I was hitting rock bottom. I'd break down crying every few days. I'd have fits of rage and frustration. I was scaring away all those that cared for me. My friend recently told me that he was scared, at that time of my life (months 2 through 4 of my headaches), that I would attempt suicide.
But one thing got me to hold on. To not give up. And it was right in front of me - right in the Lord of the Rings, the place I'd escape to.
It is this clip. Just before this scene, Frodo tries to give himself up to the Nazgul. He wants to give up. But Sam stops him.
Sam's words here saved my life. "Even darkness must pass. A New Day Will Come. And when the sun shines, it will shine out the clearer."
The folk in those stories... they had chances of turning back, only they didn't, because they were holding onto something. There is some good in this world, and it is worth fighting for. I cry when I hear this. I thought to myself, when I realized that my burden was like Frodo's burden, and that these lines applied to my life - What is good in my life, that is worth fighting for?
Family. Children. I realized I would suffer with headaches every day of my life willingly, if only I could have children to enjoy. The joy of having a family would be far stronger than any evil.
I found my reason to push on.
I started seeing an Osteopath, and that started to help. 4 years now, I've been doing Osteopathy, and it is the only thing that has helped. I have had setbacks - just as Frodo could not enter Mordor through the Black Gate, and saw his goal slip from his grasp, I got a concussion. But, Frodo persisted. And, I recovered from my concussion. (I got it playing non-contact hockey, and have not played hockey since, even though it had been my favourite sport for 12 years).
And, I have also had small successes. In April of 2010, I finally got diagnosed. I started a treatment that has increased my pain threshold marginally - but enough so that life is a tad bit easier. Frodo happened to bump into Faramir - who ended up being a great friend and ally that aided him in his journey.
I don't know how far I am from Mount Doom. I wonder if I will encounter a Shelob. I wonder if I will fail trying to get there.
But, back to topic: Would I destroy the Ring?
When Frodo got to Mount Doom, he couldn't destroy the Ring. It had torn his life apart. Destroying it was the only way of saving the world - but he couldn't do it. He couldn't imagine living without it - so he claimed it for himself.
As much as my headaches have held me back (BTW - last winter, I had to give up my hopes of becoming a Medical Doctor - since I cannot handle a full course load at school), they are a huge part of who I am.
I imagined, the other day, what I would do if I woke up one morning without any pain? I would be so happy. I would cry. But... would I tell anyone? If I told my mom I didn't have a headache.
Just imagine: what if I told her, and she was happy, and she cried - and then an hour later, I had a headache again? It would be so devastating. To both of us.
And what if my headaches really did go away. Could I go play hockey again? I wouldn't - I'd be too afraid of getting a concussion, and all at once bringing my headaches back upon me. I'd be afraid of eating onions (they give me small sinus headaches). I'd be afraid to lift up a heavy object (what if I injure a shoulder or neck muscle and bring back the headache).
I'd live in constant fear of giving myself that pain again.
So, would I destroy the Ring? I don't know. yes? No?
I pray, sometimes, to just have a few minutes without pain, so that I can remember what it's like.
yes. I would destroy it. And, if one day, I woke up with The Ring around my neck, I could at least say I was brave, and I didn't let fear dictate my life. And I'd march towards Mordor once again.