If you read my distractions post, you’ll know I’m keen on A – Zs, so I decided to make an A – Z to describe life with chronic pain.
Counteracting Negatives with Positives
Part way through, I realised that the A – Z was quite negative, and since I prefer a positive outlook I tried to balance it out with two examples for each letter.
A – Z of Life With Chronic Pain
Chronic pain sufferers are sometimes considered to be anti-social. When pain is bad, they’re not up to socialising. And when their pain isn’t so bad, they’re afraid that socialising will worsen it.
I like this word. We have to focus so much on disabilities, that sometimes we forget what we are capable of. Focusing on our abilities can be more uplifting.
We are betrayed by our broken bodies.
We all do it. We’ve done it since the day we were born. But there are techniques which can help us to cope with pain.
Who doesn’t get cranky on the odd occasion? Most people do. When you wake up every day in pain, crankiness can reach new levels.
Breathing, meditation, mindfulness, yoga or distraction. It’s useful to have a wide range of coping techniques that we can turn to.
It can be demoralising waking up every morning knowing that pain will prevent menial, everyday tasks.
Remember the song “Happy Talk” from South Pacific – “If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” Our dreams belong to us and we can actually change them to suit our circumstances, just don’t let them go completely.
Any type of chronic illness can be expensive to live with.
Is it still possible to enjoy life despite pain? I think it is. Pain steals so much, but I can’t let it take all the enjoyment from my life.
It’s not like tiredness. It’s different. A nap doesn’t fix it. A whole night’s sleep doesn’t fix it. It is draining.
Friends and family
Where would we be without them? Some might turn their backs, but the support from those who stay is priceless.
Hospitals and health clinics
Our social lives often revolves around trips to those places.
We need to live in hope of better treatments, better understanding and better days. And cures…we all hope for cures.
For many of us, our pain cannot be seen. Are we believed when people cannot see our pain?
We can’t let pain stop everything, so we become quite adept at improvising.
Some people judge and doubt us.
Jar of joy
Put happy thoughts in a jar every day, then read them on a down day.
People often suffer from knockbacks. They lose jobs and friends. Even close family sometimes leave them.
We like to receive it. We also need to give it.
Do you feel lonely? Many people living with chronic illness feel lonely and isolated.
Learn to Listen
We have a lot to learn. My first post on this blog was about how I learned to listen to my body. If we listen and give it what it needs, life can be easier.
Mental and Emotional Health Problems
Depression, anxiety, stress, frustration and guilt are just a few issues a chronic pain sufferer can come up against.
We get days when we need them.
We yearn to be normal. We yearn to have normality in our lives. We yearn to be like the person who lives along the road from us who lives a normal and fulfilling life.
What is normal anyway? We are all unique and that is normal. We are normal.
The response we often give when asked how we are. “Okay” – a small word which can mean anything except okay.
One day at a time
That’s how we need to live. It’s often difficult to make plans, but if we focus on each day, one day at a time, it can be easier to cope.
If we are active on a better day, the next day we get payback. Everything comes at a price.
It doesn’t just turn up on our doorstep unannounced. We often need to search for it. But it will be there.
We have so many, and sadly, very often we don’t receive answers. And when we do receive answers, they’re often not the answers we want.
Part of a self-care routine, getting some quiet time is imperative.
We often resent what pain has done to our lives, and resentment is a very powerful, negative emotion which can drag us down.
Rainbows: We have to look for a rainbow in a storm. And if we can’t find one, we need to create one. Even if it means singing one!
Sometimes side effects can be as bad as the condition.
The inventors of social media platforms probably didn’t realise just how important their sites would become to people with health conditions. To say they’re a lifeline to some people would be an understatement.
We often shed them. Even the positive people, the ones who always seem to be happy and have it together, can have bad days too.
There are always tomorrows. We can procrastinate. We can allow ourselves to put off until tomorrow, the things we can’t do today. And it’s always good to remember that tomorrow could be a better day.
No two days are the same. Each day can come with it’s own set of problems.
Each one of us, with our own set of problems, is unique. And that means we’re special. We are, aren’t we?
We have to ask ourselves what and who we value most (including ourselves), then use energy on those things or people. Our energy is limited. It’s precious. So we shouldn’t waste it.
Venting is healthy. We need safe places to be able to say what we feel. Support groups are good. Writing can also help.
Why me? Who hasn’t said that at some point? No matter how upbeat people are, there are still days when they probably just want to hide under the duvet, cry and ask, “Why me?” That doesn’t make them weak — just human.
Worthy: We are still worthy! Despite our illnesses, disability or pain, we are worthy. You are worthy!
X-rays, scans, blood tests…the list could go on. A necessary part of our lives.
We might have to see a lot of doctors, but we also need to become experts on our own conditions.
Yearning for Yesterdays
We often yearn for the past or for what life could have been. But doing that often gets us down. Perhaps it’s better if we could focus on now. Do what we can today. Enjoy what we can today.
It’s always good to high five ourselves when we achieve something. Whether it’s managing to pull on our own socks, or staying awake right to the end of a movie, we ought to be proud of ourselves.
Thanks to meds, we often live with brain fog and tiredness. The zombie look really isn’t a good one.
Zest for life
Having a zest for life doesn’t mean you need to go bungee jumping every weekend.
Do any of these resonate with you? Please let me know. I always love reading your comments, so please leave one in the box below.
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