Monday, April 1, 2013

Chronic Pain Suffers Need to Fully Grieve the Loss of Activities and Things That They Can No Longer Do

Sad Woman Sitting Alone In Room by FrameAngel
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.  You might not be able to do any of the things that you used to do but that doesn't mean you have to give up on life.  It is normal for you 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 healthy response when you are dealing with the loss of activities that you once enjoyed.  At this point in your pain journey, you might have even lost your job or can no longer work.  What are some ways to cope with these losses?

  • Let Go - I realize that this term is probably easier to say than actually letting go of those things that you once enjoyed.  However, if you hang onto the things of the past they will keep coming back to haunt you.  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.  
  • Keep a Journal - Writing down your feelings and thoughts is a great way to cope with your feelings.  However, you should focus on keeping your journal balanced and never only write down the bad things going on in your life.  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.  This will keep your thoughts balanced and help you focus on the positive things.
  • Find New Hobbies or Things that You Enjoy - If you are focused on the pain, you will find that your 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 Twitter, Facebook, G+, and forums who have similar symptoms that you are going through.  Having someone to vent to or talk to who understands what you are going through is very comforting.  I know that this has helped me a whole lot because family, friends, and old co-workers had no clue what I go 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 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.  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 doctors 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 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 - It is never good to grieve too quickly because if you don't let go fully, the past will come back to haunt you.  All 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 this is a positive change in your life.  
  • Help Others - Find a way to take the focus off of your own problems.  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.
  • Spiritual - Finding hope in prayer, yoga, or meditation can help you tremendously.  Filling up spiritually, can help you cope with your grief and you will be surprised that you can find inner strength and support that you didn't know that you had, especially, when your family and friends aren't around.  
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 with people who deal with chronic pain.  

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