Show Notes

In this episode, Michelle talks to Caylin White about invisible disabilities – how others interact with us, but more importantly, how to care for oneself, how to hold your own personal boundaries, and why sharing struggles and triumphs (for them) makes sense.

AI Generated Transcript

[00:00:03] Speaker A: Welcome to the underrepresented in tech podcast. Underrepresented in Tech is a free database built with the goal of helping people find new opportunities in WordPress and tech overall.

[00:00:18] Speaker B: Hey, Kaylin, how are you?

[00:00:20] Speaker C: Hello. Hello. Doing well. How are you?

[00:00:23] Speaker B: I am good. Welcome to underrepresented in tech, everybody. Today my guest is my friend Kaylin White. And I just think the world of you. I want you to know that you were the behind the scenes person for the last couple of years, making sure that people knew what WP coffee talk was. So that was exciting.

Pivoting there, too. We’ll talk about that another time.

But yeah, so we’ve had an opportunity to work together on a couple of different projects and we actually have a lot in common as far as how we have to deal with our day to day living and how our bodies just don’t always like us.

[00:01:03] Speaker C: The physical body. I’m trying to be friends. We’re trying to be friends.

[00:01:07] Speaker B: We are. So, just so people can get a little taste of who you are, tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

[00:01:13] Speaker C: Sure. I’m so happy to be here and support this, and I love everything that you do. So I am Kaylin White and I am, I like to say, a chronic pain thriver, not survivor like. I want to thrive with it somehow. But overall, I am a post WordPress worker and fanatic of the whole community and also just a content marketer and writer. I am an editorial lead at Salesforce currently and loving it. But in my life, my journey is to just really help myself be better physically, mentally, emotionally, kind of the mind, body, spirit, harmony. And I think when we think about work, it’s a huge part of our life. Work is everything. So when we have chronic pain and physical pain and diseases and ailments and diagnosis and health gets in the way, we have to figure out how to create a toolbox and how to manage so that you can show up. You can show up to work and show up for yourself in your relationship. So my mission, I guess, turned into this health journey that it found me through a diagnosis when I was ten. Doctors were a little dumbfounded, I guess. My ligaments were loose. We still don’t really know. They categorized it as an autoimmune, but it’s like a loosey goosey don’t hold your bones in place, which is really painful because nerves and muscles are shouting at you. If you just, you’re a kid, you want to do a cartwheel, but you can’t. So I had migraines every day by 03:00 p.m. Couldn’t eat the same things as normal kids and really just navigated this pain. It was a pain journey that I had to disassociate from and step away from in the victim mentality, really, and stop feeling sorry for myself.

And then when you get older, you get the real diagnosis and you get that, oh, this is something I need to address. And so that’s how the health journey found me. And still navigating work and relationships and life and all of that. So we share this common bond with pain, which is a little sad, but it’s truth, right? Like, you can’t say that we have pain, so it’s a thing that we both manage together. And I’m pretty proud of how much we show up.

[00:03:43] Speaker B: That’s just it, right?

I was thinking about last night, for example. I could hardly walk. I’ve been having sciatic pain, right? So I could hardly walk last night, there was no place like my work chair. I can only sit here so long before it’s like agony, right? And I was sitting on my couch with a back massager, like, kneading out all of those or trying to knead out some of that pain and just trying different things. And there are some meds that I take when I need to, to kind of get pushed through it, whatever. But I thought to myself, when was the last day that I could remember that I had no pain? And guess what? If you’re like me, I don’t remember a day where there was no pain, right?

As a child, maybe younger for you because you were diagnosed at ten, but as a child, I’d go running and play, I’d ride my bike, right?

If you fell or stubbed your toe or skinned your knee, you had pain and maybe an occasional headache if you were dehydrated, whatever. But as an adult, I haven’t lived a day without pain, and I don’t live in my pain, right? It lives with me, but I don’t let it stop me from attending word camps and doing the things that I want to do. I am limited sometimes I can’t just go to Walmart alone because I need a little bit of help to get my mobility devices going and things like that. But, yeah. So I’m proud of us for showing up too, because there are other people, and I call it the spoonie community, people who know what spoonies are, right? There are people whose pain is either so intense or who don’t deal with pain in the same way that you and I do that literally just live in bed, live miserable lives in a way. And I don’t mean they’re miserable, I mean they are not mindset miserable, but that they’re just so uncomfortable. And there’s only so much some people can do to work through the pain. And there are days when it just defeats me and I have to try again tomorrow.

[00:05:47] Speaker C: Oh, yes. I mean, it is admirable how much we’ve shown up. I think I don’t want to push the mentality of push through that pain.

[00:05:56] Speaker B: No, I don’t either.

[00:05:57] Speaker C: I want to help people realize that you can move through it, you can work through it, you can manage it, you can also delete some of it, you can remove some of it. But really it’s a lifelong thing that you do have to accept and welcome in. There was a point where I was thanking my suffering and my pain because it forced me out of bad habits. It forced me to look in the mirror and say, okay, well, these vices got to go. Or it forced me to say, you need to emotionally heal from this. Right. There was a lot of different avenues I found from the pain. And when I started to learn, okay, all right, this pain means this. This pain means this. You can navigate the body and your work a little bit easier, but that didn’t come until later in life. I feel like when we realize some things and we put into perspective that our health is the most important, honestly, everything can be going fine and you can push yourself level 9000, but when you get the diagnosis, you stop everything.

Because if someone says, hey, you have the potential to have cancer in your thyroid, which is what I was told, you stop. You stop some things, you reevaluate, you look at yourself a little differently. And the biggest thing that I had was, you did this. No one else did this but you, right? You chose life. You did this, you ate the things, you partied the days.

This is either your wake up call or your battle, right? Like, you can fight it, battle with it, or you can try to do some things and build your toolkit. So I went the toolkit route, I went the health journey route. I did some meditation and breath work courses that really helped to manage the pain. Never curing, never saying, this is your way out. Welcome to pain free life. It’s like, okay, I have to go to bed today. I have to turn this off and breathe. And you have that at least, because before that it was like anxiety.

[00:07:57] Speaker B: Oh, yeah.

[00:07:59] Speaker C: I was going blind.

[00:08:03] Speaker B: I can only speak for myself. So I’m going to ask you questions that I’ve experienced and get your inputs on. Number one, whether you’ve experienced it. Number two, how you think maybe you’ve reacted in the past versus now versus what you think would help, that kind of thing. Okay, so let me throw a couple scenarios out there.

There are people who will come to me knowing that I have dealt with what I’ve dealt with and pain and things like that. And number one, well, if you just change your diet, Michelle.

Number two, if you drink more water.

Number three, if you were just more active.

And number four, essential oils. Number five, try this special pills. Number five, try the Optavia multilevel marketing plan, like all of these things.

And I recognize that people mean well.

[00:08:57] Speaker C: But it’s never one thing. It’s never one thing.

First of all, all of those things do matter, but they are 100% custom and unique to you. You know, what you can and can’t handle, what you can and can’t do. You know how much water to drink. You understand your body needs supplements. I think when the world knows it’s like this, they want to wrap your arms, they want to take the pain away. They want to fix and cure, because that’s how I felt. It’s like, you see someone pain, your heart goes out to them, man, I just want to fix it. This is what worked for me. Does this work for you? And what I found is I took what everybody said with a grain of salt. I was like, okay, that could work. Let me try it. I experimented on myself, did it my own way, probably changed the brands and changed everything, increased, decrease whatever I needed to do, and walked away with a gratitude thing with thanks. But I would say the advice that I get about my pain, 90% of it, it doesn’t apply to me because no one knows what’s inside, behind closed doors, inside my ego and my emotional past trauma, all the things.

And really it’s just managing that. It’s managing your. Sure, of course, eat the vegetables, of course, eat the protein. It’s like very basics, right? And all of those things tremendously help. But I think some people are just born to carry the burden, to carry that weight, to just, I don’t know, maintain and I don’t know why it’s happened to us, but we were chosen. I don’t know.

[00:10:43] Speaker B: Well, I was thinking about it too, along the lines of, like, some people love sauerkraut, and I personally hate the taste of sauerkraut. Well, why is my brain wired to not like something that other people’s brains are wired to like, and vice versa. Like, the whole cilantro thing. Right. You either love it or hate it kind of thing, right. It tastes great or tastes like soap, is what I’m in the it tastes great category. Right. But number one, it’s not my responsibility to tell somebody else that, no, it doesn’t taste like soap. It tastes good. Eat your cilantro. Right. Like that kind of thing. And similarly, other people don’t have the same brain chemistry or body chemistry or anything. We didn’t grow up in the same places. There’s so many things that come in as factors into how somebody operates within their own body. And while well meaning people, I can appreciate that they are well meaning also are not the saviors that they think they are, necessarily.

If you would just do this, you’d be pain free, you’d be skinny, you’d be tall. I don’t know all of the things, right?

[00:11:48] Speaker C: Oh, how I wish it were true. Oh, how I wish it was. That one pill fix all, because, let’s go. I’m ready for that. No, I had to do so much research. We’re talking down to the fact that I had to figure out what it was even. Right? Like you, they throw lupus in there. They throw fibromyalgia in there. They throw genetic stuff in there.

When you go to a doctor, it’s really not really what it even is. Chronic pain is chronic pain. It’s inflammation in the body you’re holding on. There’s so many factors, and when you work, it amplifies.

You can’t live your life without your means to work. And so that’s how I married the two. It was like, I need to be able to function. I need to be able to work.

I was that person in the bed that didn’t want to do things and didn’t show up. You were, too. We all have been there. Like, you know what? I can’t show up today. So I think giving ourself grace as we navigate this is okay. But right now, we both know this is it. This is lifelong. This is what we’re doing. And the better we are to ourselves, the better we can do. But with work, it’s like, that’s a motivating factor. That’s something that helps us to show up is good.

[00:13:05] Speaker B: Absolutely. I think, too, if you’re somebody who doesn’t live in pain like we do, please.

When somebody says, I tried that, it didn’t work, or that’s not for me, don’t take it personally, because we maybe tried it and it didn’t work. And maybe you think you know better than we do. I’ve had people tell me tapping to do the tapping thing, and it helps a little, but nothing is like, oh, I’m cured, because I tapped, right? I mean, it just doesn’t work that way. But, yes, there are definitely some things that can mitigate certain levels of pain and could even maybe stop it in its tracks or reverse it. Things like. Like, I love getting a good massage, and it’s about the energy of the person, too, not just the. The massager I put on my back does not do nearly as good a job as my massage therapist, Gavin, does, because Gavin can feel the muscles. He knows what he’s doing, and I don’t have to focus on, like, I let him do that. Right, but you wrote a book called change your story from pain to purpose, and I want you to tell me a little bit about your book, and I’m buying it today. I haven’t read it yet, so forgive me for that. I should have probably done my research first, but tell us a little bit about it and what people can expect to learn.

[00:14:19] Speaker C: So it’s kind of a crazy story because it poured out of me as part of the healing process. I truly believe I am a writer. I mean, by trade, but I truly believe that writing is so cathartic, I actually figured some things out about myself through writing it. And the reason that it has changed your story is I had a really profound Reiki experience where the Reiki master told me, she said, you need to change your story. Your story says that you’re the victim. Your story says, feel bad for me. Your story says you’re never going to heal. Your story says, you have labeled yourself as this pain girl, and you need to stop saying my pain. You need to start saying the pain and completely cut this friendship off that you have. You have invited pain in, and she’s on the Christmas card list. You love pain, and you need to break up with pain. And I was like, oh, my gosh, you are absolutely right. I am using it as a crutch. I’m using it as an excuse. I’m using it as all these things. So change your story is really about the tools that you can use to find that root cause of what it is, because pain really has a root. There is something deep, deep down in there that you can either heal, help, or manage. Right. A lot of my pain, 50% of it, as we found out, was emotional. Just holding it in there. I’m not sure why, but just holding it in so I think when we know energy and we understand that we are literally labeling and identifying ourselves as these things. Like, you literally just tell it to people like strangers. I’m Kayla, and I have this chronic pain. Like, what? You don’t need to say it. You don’t need to own it. You don’t need to be like, I was carrying it around in a suitcase. So the story is all the things that I tried from a to z so that they have a database and they can just pick and choose and try things that work for them without me telling them what to do, without me saying, hey, this worked for me because I put the things in there that don’t work for me, too. I was like, this doesn’t work. You can try it, but it’s part of the healing journey, so it’s almost like a Wikipedia for healing. Like in one little. I wanted to experience them all myself first. So it’s those experiences, the good and the bad, and it’s very transparent on the journey. But what a battle it is to really, truly say, okay, yeah, I was the problem. Hi, I’m the problem. It’s me, right? Literally.

[00:16:54] Speaker B: But I like that first part.

Dear pain, I’m breaking up with you. It’s not me. Yes, you do.

[00:17:00] Speaker C: You have to write the letter. Like, listen, I know you’re attached to me at the hip. You’re obsessed with me.

Can I just call you back later? Can we stop for a little bit, because.

[00:17:12] Speaker B: Stalking me? Yes.

[00:17:15] Speaker C: So obsessed. So I think we need to break up with that mentality. And you know what’s funny? No one felt bad for me. I was walking around being like, yeah, they know Caitlin’s just down again and they’re going to send me love and care. Nobody cared. They were probably waiting for me to realize and stop complaining. They were waiting for me to wake up. So I just took my pain in my own hands and I said, no, you’re the pain. You’re temporary. You’re going to come and you’re going to go, but you don’t own me.

[00:17:46] Speaker B: Good for you.

[00:17:46] Speaker C: And that was birth of that book came because I really did. I just did.

[00:17:51] Speaker B: Yeah.

[00:17:52] Speaker C: You just give up. At one point you’re like, okay, well, this is my best friend, but then you have to break up.

[00:18:00] Speaker B: There are some things that just are proven, though, like ergonomics, right? Like, if you’re sitting in a crappy chair, you’re going to have pain. There’s things like that. But you could even sit in a crappy chair in a positive way. Like you don’t have to have bad posture in a bad chair, but yes. So there’s definitely things you can do to improve.

Like you said, they might not be the same for every person.

[00:18:20] Speaker C: Right. And your mindset is everything. I did not believe that I could heal to a point of management. I just did not believe it. And our brains and our thoughts are listening. Our body is listening, and I didn’t really realize that either. So I was just thinking negatively and going down spirals. But the belief that you can live thriving and be okay in management really had to come through that. Like, if you’re out there and you’re living in chronic pain, your body is listening and it takes some reprogramming. Every time. I do have pain now, I have to stop the anger, I’ve got to stop the irritation. I’ve got to stop the snappiness. I’ve got to go to my toolbox. I have to reprogram every time.

One of these days, I’m just going to say thank you for this headache. I get it. I didn’t do this. Okay, but I’m not there yet. I’m trying.

[00:19:11] Speaker B: You’re still like, go away headache.

[00:19:13] Speaker C: I’m like, back to those old patterns of anger, and you got to flush those out and just move through it. That’s all we can do. Because you’re going to have days and bad.

[00:19:24] Speaker B: Absolutely. Do you think that work from home is helpful or hurtful to somebody with chronic pain?

[00:19:31] Speaker C: I would say mandatory. I’m not even going to say helpful. It is literally the only thing and reason I am able to do what I do. I cannot tell you how many different places in my home I have had to work from in order to compensate. There will be days when I have heating pads strapped to my body. There will be days when I’m thera gunning my neck and shoulders. There will be days when I have electrodes stuck to me with red lights. There will be days I’m literally working from the bath because that is management and that is the only thing that you can do instead of calling off every third hour because you’re in pain again.

And to be honest, the space of the energy that you create and the space that you have really matters when you’re healing or journey.

There’s just no way. Can’t do the commutes, can’t do the sitting in that chair, can’t do any of it.

[00:20:24] Speaker B: When you said the electrodes, it reminded me, I had a meeting with my boss earlier this week and he said, you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, but what are all the wires? I’m like, oh, it’s my ten s unit. I’ve got like four electrodes on me so I can. My zapper had to be able to move. My shoulder was frozen again. I was like, it’s kind of like the massage if you’ve never had. It’s like electrical massage, and it helps.

[00:20:48] Speaker C: It’s like getting electrocuted really slightly. It really does help, though.

[00:20:53] Speaker B: Yeah. If you turn it up too high, though, it’s like, oh, boy. Oh, hold on.

[00:20:58] Speaker C: You’ll jolt your soul. Be careful.

I have all those tools, and how am I going to carry all that to the office? You know what I mean?

[00:21:05] Speaker B: True.

[00:21:06] Speaker C: Your tools are go to very grateful for work from home. Yes.

[00:21:14] Speaker B: I also have a tennis ball in a bag so it doesn’t roll away. That I could put on the floor under my feet when I need to roll my heels, or I can put under one side or the other of my rear end if I need to have a little bit of a pressure point treatment down there, too. So, yeah, there’s all these things you can do, and like you said, you can grab your laptop and work in bed if you need to. You can sit on the couch. You can go outside. There’s all things you can do when you’re working from home, too.

[00:21:43] Speaker C: I think, honestly, that work life balance is made for paying people, for sure.

[00:21:48] Speaker B: Yeah, it makes sense to me. For sure.

That’s awesome. Anything else that you wanted to add before we wrap up today is living with pain, not being pain. I can’t remember break.

[00:22:01] Speaker C: I loved what you said in the beginning. You said, I’m not in my pain. I live with my pain. Right? It’s here, it’s managing, but I don’t live in it. And I feel like we both have come very far with that.

Even though some days we’ll text each other and be like, but that’s okay. You got to vent it out sometimes, too.

[00:22:22] Speaker B: I wish I could break up with my tailbone. Can I break up with my tailbone? Right?

[00:22:27] Speaker C: Hey, we deal. This is why we found each other.

But just advice for those, wherever you are on your journey, if you already know or if you are fighting the pain or just learning about it or getting a diagnosis, whatever it is, you have to just kind of believe in your body, believe in the faith that you can do the things to manage it. It’s all temporary, and it’s part of your learning process of understanding yourself better. The more that you can understand yourself, whether that’s meditation or breath work or reading books or hopping on podcasts, whatever that is, figure it out and process and express what that is. But you do have to believe in your own health.

[00:23:08] Speaker B: Absolutely.

[00:23:09] Speaker C: Break up with pain, write that letter.

[00:23:13] Speaker B: And do know everybody says, it’s not. No, no, it is you. It’s not me.

[00:23:17] Speaker C: It’s you.

Listen, it’s really you. It’s not perfect. You suck.

[00:23:23] Speaker B: Yeah.

Did you give your pain a name like Shirley? Get out of here.

[00:23:29] Speaker C: Oh, I’m going to Rhonda. You’re out. Listen.

[00:23:35] Speaker B: Rhonda. I love it. I’ve got to find a name that’s like, anybody I actually know. So it doesn’t feel.

[00:23:40] Speaker C: Yeah, we need, like, voldemort. It needs to be, like, heavy and dark. We need, like a villain.

[00:23:45] Speaker B: Yeah.

When I was growing up, I used to watch the pink panther cartoon and he would always say, heavens to Murgatroyd. I’m like, I think mine’s named Murgatroid because I don’t.

Yeah, that sounds like pain.

I love it. Thank you for taking some time. If people are interested in connecting with you, how can they find you online?

[00:24:08] Speaker C: Yes, of course. So excited to be here. You can find me at breathe with me, Kaylin Brie on YouTube. I have some free meditation and breath work there. I’m also on insight timer as a meditation teacher or online at CBC inked I n k e d. Please connect with me. I’d love to hear your story and what you’re doing, and hopefully you don’t need to, but you can change your story if you do.

[00:24:32] Speaker B: Absolutely. We will have all of those links in the show notes. So if you didn’t get those fast enough, just visit, find this episode and you can link up with Kaitlyn right there. I almost said Caitlin. I don’t know why Caitlin, I know you have known you for years. Thank you again for taking the time today. And here’s to a pain reduced. I won’t even say pain free because we want to be realistic. But here’s to a pain reduced rest of your day.

[00:24:57] Speaker C: Yes. And may your breakup with mergatroid. Mergatroid.

[00:25:02] Speaker B: I don’t even know how to spell it. I have to figure it out.

[00:25:06] Speaker C: Thank you so much.

[00:25:08] Speaker B: Thank you. We’ll see everybody on the next episode.

[00:25:13] Speaker A: If you’re interested in sponsoring an episode using our database or just want to say hi, go to See you next week.

Michelle Frechette

Michelle Frechette


Caylin White

Caylin White