Chronic Pain: the Invisible illness
Living with chronic pain makes day-to-day life difficult. It touches every single part of mine and millions of others, impacting hygiene, to cooking, to career, raising kids, relationships, and worst for me is trying to sleep. I’ve been living with chronic pain the last few years . If you also live with that four letter word as your constant companion, you’ll probably relate to these things all too well.
1. Managing & dealing with pain is more than pills:
Patches, hyperbaric chamber, cryo therapy, myofacial release, acupuncture, PT, kinesiology tape, exercises, meditation, self-care … These are just a small part of the chronic pain toolbox. We often try a lot before moving on to medication, unless we know meds will be the only things to help the amount or type of pain we’re experiencing.
2. People don’t seem to understand what “chronic” means
Loved ones , friends, colleagues often mean well when they tell us things like, “Hope you feel better soon!” The reality is, the pain doesn’t stop, so it’s hard to know what to say.
3. “Have you tried ___?”
Again, people mean well and want to help. That said, we see professionals to get help with our pain conditions and, more often than not, do a lot of research ourselves. We know our bodies best. If we’re sharing frustrations, it’s usually because we want empathy more than strategy.
4. Some days are easier than others
I’ve been dealing with varying levels of pain every single day for the last many years. Some days are a lot easier. Other days are an absolute struggle fest.
5. You LOL when asked questions like, “Do you have any pain today?”
Going to the doctor is a fairly regular experience for us. When you go, they’ll ask if you have any pain and where it is, either verbally or on a form. I can never avoid laughing at this question. I usually feel bad when I do. I know the person asking isn’t doing it out of malice or a lack of understanding, but because they have to ask.
6. Doctors without pain don’t always understand
Healthcare providers are amazing people. They do some of the most difficult jobs in the entire world. That said, there’s a lot that’s misunderstood about pain. Some of the more common misunderstandings are that younger people can’t have chronic pain, and strong medications will always lead to addiction.
7. Support is everything
For the longest time, I didn’t know anyone else dealing with chronic pain. My grandparents dealt with it, but passed away when I was very young.
It wasn’t until I was inpatient rehab for SCI that I first met others dealing with chronic pain conditions. It changed so much for me. I began to have an outlet that finally understood me.
If I needed to vent about stigma or brainstorm how to communicate my pain to my healthcare team, I had people there. It’s completely changed how I’m able to process my feels around my pain.
The purpose of Chronic Pain Warriors is to provide a safe space to vent, share, gain strength from fellow chronic pain warriors and learn to live with what we are dealt… that IS in our control!
These affirmations will help you but they are not just a one off thing. You can’t just take the ones written out for you and repeat them once and expect your pain to go. No, these only work if you repeat them on a day-to-day basis for a long period of time , but in time they are proven an effective tool.
If you are experiencing pain then try these affirmations out.
Remember repetition is the key!
Present Tense Affirmations;
I am pain-free at all times
I find it easy to relax
My mind is calm at all times
I easily release all tension I have in my mind and body
I am in control of my pain
My body is healthy and pain free
I am relaxed
I focus only on the future and not the past
am peaceful even when life is hectic
I am not controlled by my pain
Future Tense Affirmations ;
I am becoming more relaxed by the day
I will become someone who is not controlled by pain
I will let go of the past
I will become free from pain
Each day I feel pain less and less
I am finding it easier to only think positive
I will find the time to relax my mind each day
Others are beginning to notice how much happier I am becoming
I am finding it easier to not let life get me down
Each day I am finding it easier and easier to control my pain
Being free of pain is just something I am
I find it easy to release stress
My body is just always naturally relaxed
Thinking positive is just something I naturally do
Being in control of my pain is easy for me
Controlling my pain is effortless for me
My mind is naturally calm and relaxed
Having a natural ability to heal myself has helped my life greatly
I find it easy to stay positive and pain free even when things get tough.
I have the natural ability to control the physical aspects of my body with my mindng with chronic pain makes day-to-day life difficult. It touches every single part of my life, from hygiene, to cooking, to my career, raising kids, relationships, and worst for me is trying to sleep.
I’ve been living with chronic pain the last few years . If you also live with that four letter word as your constant companion, you’ll probably relate to these things all too well. I went from a healthy fully functioning woman. to a woman whose now labeled by her many illnesses. My spinal cord injury, my paralysis, 14/level fusion , broken ribs with 5 titanium plates. & now broke thumb. Knee ( total non weight bearing & waiting to hear about surgery), and list drags on.
As with any chronic illness, chronic pain brings a set of challenges. In this section, I’ll review the biggest challenges I’ve encountered with these conditions.
People just Don’t Understand:
I think the most difficult part of having chronic pain is that most people don’t understand it. There’s a large difference between acute pain, which everyone has experienced, and chronic pain. Chronic pain is not just acute pain that lasts a long time. And because I look well on the surface much of the time, people don’t understand that I’m in chronic pain. And if I’m not in pain at the moment, it could be any second. It can come on very suddenly.
The Desire to be Normal ( this is my biggest struggle):
Something that I think anybody with a chronic illness struggles with is the desire to be & feel normal. I want to keep up with everybody else, especially if I’m not in pain at the moment. However, if I take on too much, or over-do activities, I’ll pay for it later.
What I’ve learned is that I need to decide how important an activity is. I ask myself, “Is this activity, event or function worth the high likelihood that I’ll have much more pain later?“ Sometimes the answer is ”yes!” When it comes to my son saying “no” is the hardest for me. I feel every fiber of my being hurt
Asking for Help. Sadly. I was raised & taught in childhood that accepting help is a sign of weakness; and 40 years later I seem to struggle & can’t shake that dysfunctional thinking! One of the hardest things for me to accept is that I need to ask for help. Because I have limitations, I must accept assistance from other people even when a person without pain would not need it. Trying to do things that I really can’t will cause problems later that day or evening, even simple things like standing too long. I must remember to use the tools I have to keep healthy.
Accepting Special Help. With my broken knee, equipment is mandated for functionality. Do people stare at me? Do people ask me why I have it? Do people think I don’t need it? Yes to all those questions. But Im learning n struggling to act like I do not to care; it has been invaluable to me.
Coping With Depression; (another major area along with anxiety & ptsd):
One of the side effects of having chronic pain, as with any long-term illness, can be depression/ anxiety/PTSD. Although I’m fairly upbeat most of the time, I definitely struggle with true unhappiness—if not real depression—on occasion. As does the pain itself, my mood fluctuates. If I allow myself to look into the future and acknowledge that I’m going to have pain for the rest of my life, I’ll really fall into a downward cycle. I ruminate. I almost get stuck in a holding pattern of reliving my pain over & over , & shut the world out.
Stay in the day:
I try hard not to focus too far into future, but instead think about all the real blessings I have in my life right now. The 2 people dedicated on this text are the true blessings to my life, and major reasons to push forward. It’s helpful to follow the Alcoholics Anonymous philosophy of one day at a time. And sometimes it’s one hour at a time, or even one minute at a time. I tell myself, “I just have to get through this one pain flare-up and then things will be better.” While the door to skating and skiing Kickboxing and other activities with my kid is now closed, the one i bs r yet to try & experience are now opened up wide!
LASTLY-The Greatest Challenge of them ALL:
The final challenge, and probably the one I dislike the most, is when I take it out on my loved ones. I really mean it when I say, “God bless all of the spouses, partners, and close family/friends of those of us with chronic pain.
I am so lucky to have my best friend and BF. For almost a decade, Jeff has been through the ups and downs of these Various illnesses with me. Times have been so tough I could not stand my own self and lost sight of my own reason to be existing in this world. There are multiple and I mean multiple times when I’ve been unable to do any household chores, drive, get to doctors, and the list is too long to text here, he did ALL without a complaint. Ari is new to the scene. He brings unconditional love, support, and reminds me to be an active part of my pain team, and that is what makes chronic pain such challenge is that it not only hurts physically, but also mentally and emotionally. It eats away at your motivation, resolve, and strength until all that’s left is a nagging depression, a relentless feeling of hopelessness, and a wave of grief for the vibrant and productive person you used to be. Ari reminds me strength grows from weakness. He is a pillar of humanity that I am a good person n not defined by my illness. He always quotes bob marley: You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice!
They both miraculously put up with me ( which is Herculean), and yet there days it’s a miracle they even find the stamina & desire to continue to help me when all I Do is push them away as my own anger, sadness n fears takeover.
Attitude is Everything. Chronic pain is a disease that requires a lot of lifestyle changes. Managing the pain can feel like, or even be, a full-time job. Each day is different, and I never know what the morning will bring. Fortunately I have a variety of medications, tools, and techniques for managing the pain. I’ll vary the use of these depending on how good or bad it is each day.
Living with chronic pain can be challenging. Both Ari & Jeff try hard to remind me to overcome these challenges by focusing on the plusses in my life, not the minuses. This requires creativity, flexibility, and a good sense of humor. Others can support me by trying to understand my disease without judgment, being flexible, and offering help when I want it, and just giving help when I refuse it, due to my stubborn pride! Jeff always reminds me “ all can be done from a relaxed state of mind”! So to the 2 of them I offer my unconditional gratitude, love , a lifetime of thank you’s & they should know that their a constant reminder to me: Sahra, just do it. You force yourself to get up. You force yourself to put one foot before the other and you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. Then you go about the business of living. There’s no other way!!!!!!!
When your negative thoughts feel overwhelming;
1. “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”—Carlos Castaneda
2. “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.”—Buddhist proverb
3. “It’s not the situation that’s causing your stress, it’s your thoughts, and you can change that right here and now. You can choose to be peaceful right here and now. Peace is a choice, and it has nothing to do with what other people do or think.”—Gerald G. Jampolsky,
4. I learned that pain isn’t the whole problem and the absence of pain isn’t the whole solution. I know that even if a miracle occurred and suddenly my pain was gone, everything would not be fine. There is more to the picture. I would still need to deal with the damage caused to myself and others because of my chronic pain.”—Meditations for Pain Recovery by Tony Grec
Chronic pain warrior for life 💪🏻, 😀,➕,💟,☮️ !