Do you know someone that suffers from chronic pain? Chronic pain is classified as pain that has lasted for 6 months or longer. Living with chronic pain can be a struggle but remember that you are still human. Don’t let others make you feel non-existent or unworthy because you are no longer normal or told that you don’t look sick. Even if you don’t look sick, you know your own limitations and what causes you more pain.
I know for me that I had to give up things that I once enjoyed. Before major back pain started causing me problems, I was very active and enjoyed playing soccer, going shopping, and spending time with my family. Now that I struggle with chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, things are different and I am no longer able to enjoy the things I once did. Instead, I had to find new things to do and new hobbies. It doesn’t mean you have to give up on life. However, it is normal and important for you to take the time to grieve your old life and the things that you can no longer do.
Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only and the opinions that I shared in this post are from my own experience with my journey with chronic pain.
Grief is your body’s natural and it is a healthy response, especially when you are dealing with the loss by doing things that you once enjoyed. At this point in your pain journey, you might have even lost your job or can no longer work due to the pain. Today, I wanted to share some tips on how to cope with chronic pain. Learn how to use these 9 ways to cope with chronic pain while grieving your old life.
Let It Go
I realize that this term is probably easier said than done. I know that it was for me in the very beginning. But I knew for the sake of my own health that I had to give up certain activities and find new things that I enjoyed. Hanging onto the things that are in past can keep coming back to haunt you and make you feel like a failure. The best thing you can do is take a personal inventory of the skills and hobbies that you do enjoy and concentrate on the things that you can do. For instance, you can try playing games on your phone, reading books, or finding other hobbies that you can enjoy.
Keep a Journal
Journaling is very therapeutic and can help you grieve constructively. In your journal, you can write down your thoughts and true feelings. Don’t be afraid to use your journal to vent. Venting helps get the feelings out and prevents you from bottling them up.
I do recommend that you focus on keeping your journal balanced and never only write down the bad things going on in your life. Make sure that you also share things that are going well for you. This will help you be thankful and help keep you from getting so depressed. For example, if you have 10 things bad affecting your life then you should write down 10 or more things that you are thankful for or good things going on in your life.
Plus, seeing positive things written in your journal will help you too. Focus on the positive things, it will help you remain positive in your journey with chronic pain.
Find New Hobbies or Things that You Enjoy
If you are focused on the pain, you will find that you are more depressed. The more depressed you feel the more your pain increases and you end up feeling sorry for yourself. Instead, find some new activities or hobbies that you can physically do.
Find a Support Group
You don’t have to go far to find a support group, you can use your computer to network with other people on social media or forums who have similar situations. It is always good to have someone to vent to or talk to who understands what you are going through. It is very comforting knowing that you aren’t alone.
I know that this has helped me a whole lot because family, friends, and old co-workers had no clue what I was going through on a daily basis. Those who are in your support group know what struggles you might be going through and can give you the support and encouragement you need.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a counselor if needed. Support groups aren’t doctors or trained professionals. So they are limited in what they can do to help you.
Don’t Go Through This Alone
Never abandon your family, friends, doctors, and others who are willing to help comfort and help you along in your journey. Allow them to help you with tasks around the house that you can’t do. Don’t expect them to read your mind; instead, tell them when you need help with things. The more you are around others the less time you have to focus on the things that you can no longer do.
Avoid New Addictions
The worst thing you can do is to turn to things that might harm you or interfere with your doctor’s treatment. If your doctor gives you pain medicine, make sure that you follow the directions exactly as they are written on the pill bottle. Never mix your medications with other over-the-counter drugs or alcohol. Some examples of other addictions might include pornography, sexting, doing drugs, alcohol, shopping online, or anything else that provides emptiness once the high wears off.
Allow Yourself Enough Time to Grieve
It is never good to grieve too quickly. Give yourself as much time as you need in order to grieve your old life and get used to your new life. The way you do things in your new life will be different and try to think of this as a positive change in your life even though chronic pain sucks. Making changes to your routine and the way you do things will become a new normal for you.
Do Make Time to Help Others
I have found that helping others is a great way for me to take the focus off my own problems. Helping others doesn’t have to be difficult or require you to do things outside of your restrictions. There are a number of ways that you can help others deal with chronic pain. You can blog about your journey, share your journey with others, be a listening ear to someone else who is in your situation, set up a foundation to find new treatment options for your condition or create your own way of helping someone else. Helping others also helps distract me from pain at least temporarily.
Finding hope in prayer, yoga, or meditation can help you tremendously. I found that filling up spiritually was a great way for me to cope with my own grief. Plus, it helps me find inner strength and support that you didn’t know you had, especially, when my family and friends aren’t around. I know that my spiritual journey has helped me when life gets hard too.
Just keep in mind that you will have good days and bad days while you are grieving your old life. Take your time so that you can fully heal and move on with your new life. If you feel like you are depressed, please talk to your doctor, health care provider, psychiatrist, or psychologist. Please note that seeking treatment for depression is fairly normal for people who deal with chronic pain. Don’t forget to use the 9 ways to cope with chronic pain as you grieve your old life.