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My Documentary: The Hurting Strings – An Artist’s Story on Pain


View above or visit The Hurting Strings on reelhouse.org/the-hurting-strings

Let’s watch The Hurting Strings

I’d like to express my biggest thanks firstly to Peter Lamont for taking this project on and for communicating my invisible message with such perfection even after realising what was going to be a four-minute documentary was turning into something much longer.

And to all of you who either contributed through crowd funding, or supported me throughout this process by giving me great courage to see this difficult task through, THANK YOU. Your support is now spreading awareness for chronic pain around the world.

Director’s Notes

Of the very many things that set humans apart from all else, certainly the most beautiful is our ability to express our lives creatively. If emotions were viscous, then life is the palette for the artist to dip their brush. I can’t count the times an artist has said to me “I need to paint just as I need to breathe”; so what happens when that ability to express is cut short?

The Hurting Strings title occurred to me after thinking about the things Soula created as an expression of her accident and the devastating effects the resulting incapacity had on herself and her family.  Odd yet perfectly fitting in one, the idea of a Marionette dubbed Ms. Soula delivered the title. The metaphor makes it patently clear that the strings that guide our lives are not really ours to articulate and in Soula’s case, they are indeed the hurting strings.

I visited Soula about doing a film on an artist, but as we spoke this other undercurrent kept tugging and pulling and it made me uneasy. It made me uncomfortable enough to change focus and step out of my own comfort zone and in that I found I was in good and plentiful company.

Telling the “I hurt myself and it changed my life” story would, on the surface be difficult to avoid the mundane – after all, people have accidents all the time. The path Soula found to deal with it is anything but ordinary. As her sister Koula says “She found the tools she needed” and in the same way a river finds its way to the sea, the story unfolded as a voyage of discovery and relentless creativity. “No-one will do it for you” is as much a call to action as it is a statement of abject reality.

The film then is one of humanity and being human, the inhumanity of a system designed to avoid yet marketed as help. How selfishness the selflessness are actually one, how the inability to deal with the things we can’t see isn’t through lack of want, it’s through lack of definition.

These are interesting stories. Stories worth telling, certainly stories worth reflection.


  • Stan

    Wow. Just wow. So many people will be crnyig tears of joy and shouting hallelujahs when they read this! You really will bless the lives of a lot of people through your work. 🙂

  • Dayl Harvey

    Dear Soula Thank you so much for sharing your story. I had a netball accident in 1998 when I was tripped by a young boy I fell back onto concrete on my coxis I was out cold for a spilt second I now have five damaged discs and scoliosis of the spine one hip is four inches higher than the other one. I then developed RA . I take 20 tablets a day I’m on oxycotin ,lycria and methotrexate just to name a few but the pain is so bad I can only stand for five minutes at a time. But my biggest problem is I feel so alone and it so hard to discribe the pain. When I do find a dr they only treat me for a little while then tell me I’m in the to hard basket , and I feel very lost.

    • soula

      Hi Dayl… I hear you! That’s devastating. Have you looked into a stimulation implant? Don’t give up hope. Are you on Facebook, there are some great supportive networks and people who understand.

  • samuel Hall

    I feel so alienaited from any form of human life that can even vaguely understand what misery i have been in nearly 14 years. I have had Crohn’s Disease since1974. I did really well until i had to have my colon and rectum removed in 2001. Since then, i have existed in the most horrible pain anyone could ever experience.

  • Marg Vandermost

    I am working as a psychologist in a persistent pain clinic. Soula kindly agreed to let me use this video to share with our group participants. My clients identify with the journey and the message within the video. What has been wonderful is the clients realising the impact of their pain on those around them and taking steps to address this. Thank you Soula, Theo and all the family that participated for sharing the story so beautifully and helping others see a light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Bam's Kitchen

    Dearest Soula, Theo and Team,
    Thank you for creating this video and increasing awareness.
    Soula wishing that each day your pain is less than the day before. Take Care, Bobbi

    • soula

      Thanks for stopping by to comment darling Bobbi. Hope your days get better too. I have a feeling they will…

  • Kathryn Malic

    I applaud you Soula and Theo for your bravery and tenacity facing severe chronic pain each day and daring to discover the tools and management for pain’s devastating impact. You selflessly opened up your home and story to engage the world to pain sufferer’s plight and give hope to those who no longer have any. I also thank Peter Lamont for participating in supporting pain sufferers by the deeply touching depiction Hurting Strings portrays.

    • soula

      Thank you dear Kathryn, so kind of you to stop and comment. It is tricky opening up life but this reason was worthy. I hope the documentary, like this site, continues to help others with chronic pain. Peter’s efforts and support is nothing short of extraodinary. I am and will be forever grateful.

  • kerrie

    so proud of you and Theo and the film crew also, thank you for spreading our message xxxxxxxx

    • soula

      Thank you Kerrie, I’m glad we persevered. At times I was worried about opening up our lives, but it seems it’s worth it. The messages of support have been amazing.

  • John Quintner

    Soula, you have given your many followers around the world their long-awaited chance to meet you through the medium of the film. What has impressed me so much about you over the last few years is the dignified way in which you have fought this terrible and unnecessary battle. Despite the best efforts of the Victorian WorkCover Authority and its appointed Agent to dehumanize you, you have amply demonstrated time and time again that (with apologies to Elaine Scarry) when pain finds a voice it is through creativity. Fortunately for fellow pain sufferers you have blazed a trail for them to follow. You have given them a voice in a system that does its best to deny them this fundamental human right.

    • soula

      That is so true John, what a way to meet! Elaine sadly had another experience with pain, one I’m glad I have not had. I realise now the VWA and their Agent will not break my spirit. In fact, all they’re managing to do is keep on giving me opportunities to expose the system and poor legislation they align themselves with daily.
      I thank you for your support with both my advocacy trails. I wouldn’t be here without your encouragement (and the many translations you provide for pain theory and legislation!).

  • Mickey Nilsen

    Soula! You tell my story too in this. Thank you. The pain and the fatigue. The feeling as though this is the end years (or months). Thank you. Thank you with my very heart. Love, Mickey

  • John Quintner

    Soula, the important messages embodied in this little film will give hope to countless people around the world. Congratulations to everyone who contributed to its production.

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What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?

Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggrevated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.

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