Someone that is very close to me was shocked that I said it was a long walk from the car to the door of the building. It really wasn’t very far…if you are not disabled! All the handicapped spots were taken, and my hubby offered to drop me off at the door, but I did not want to be singled out like that. I should have accepted the offer. Instead, I chose to keep looking at my feet just focusing on one step and then the next.
We were headed to something fun, but I was dreading it. I have been in so much pain this past week and a half. Just over the top pain that it hurts to breathe. But I would have been in pain no matter what so I decided to go anyway. It was just one of those times that you know that you are going to pay for it, but you do it anyway. I needed to get out of the house to clear my head and be around other people, so I pushed myself to go.
I was so hurt by the statement. I was humiliated. I cringed at the truth of what they said. The statement taunted me that I had a hard time walking such a short distance. The statement made me very mad at my body for letting me down.
I could have said something in my defense and enlightened her, but I didn’t. I just didn’t have the mental energy because the pain always depletes it. Thankfully, my brain did work enough, and I remembered quickly what mama always said: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. I am hoping that the awkward silence was enough to make a loud statement. I doubt it did though.
I do not want to be internalizing this, so I want to post it and let it go. I’ve always had anxiety, but the chronic pain has increased it because of so many factors are out of my control every day because of the pain. I talked some about my struggle with anxiety in a previous post.
As I type this, the doubts about myself are starting to kick in. I have only begun to understand my anxiety after a year and a half working with my psychologist. But situations like these set off the emotions. I just wish I could get people to understand what having chronic pain is really like. They say they know how we feel, but they don’t. They never will, unless they experience it for themselves. Even the ones closest to you.
The thought process has been laborious, but I am trying to choose to be positive. That’s why I called the blog Chronic Pain With A Higher Perception because I’m deciding to change my perception. I can’t change others, but I can improve myself.This is the best thing I can do for my health.
I am going to find some other positive blogs to help my resolve, and I will pray that the person will never experience pain as I have.
How would have you handled this situation? Has anything like this happened to you, and how did you remain positive?
I’m just going to be honest. I’m struggling really bad this week. So many factors are affecting me at one time, and it’s adding anxiety and depression to my chronic pain. Maybe you are experiencing similar feelings:
The let down after all the Christmas excitement goes away. The miserable cold, dreary weather that has left me unable to get out of the house for days. The increasing physical pain due to the cold weather. The frightening news that unfolds every day seemingly getting unbelievably worse all the time creating fear about the future. Family illnesses and elderly parents. And as I round the corner to turning 50, I’m feeling a lot of regrets and other personal struggles…
I’ll stop listing things, so I don’t increase your anxiety and make you depressed, but all of the things have one thing in common: fear. Some type of fear factors into each one of the events I mentioned, mostly about the future.
The Psalms address David’s fear through his poetry or songs. I had a hard time understanding how the Psalms could be applied to me since it seemed that David was being attacked by Saul physically; he had earthly enemies. I don’t think I have any human enemies. I don’t have anyone that wishes to do me bodily harm as David did. But it dawned on me that my enemy is the devil. So when I read the Psalms, I will substitute “enemies” with “the devil” because fear comes from the devil. He increases the alarm bells to get your focus off of God. The devil is trying to keep you busy with worrying so you will not have peace. Worrying is useless for us, only causing emotional and physical pain but very productive for the devil. He is trying to stop the spread of God’s kingdom.
If you have a relationship with God, then the devil does not have your soul or your eternity, but the devil will do anything to misguide you off the correct path — a little fear, mixed up with anxiety can swell into depression. He can renderer us helpless if we let him. We just have to keep fighting the fear with the Holy Spirit leading us.
Psalm 37 has many powerful verses full of God’s promises proclaiming that if we trust (trust that His plan is better than what we can see) in the Lord, we will find peace: a release of fearful anxiety and depression. But there are things that we must do. God very plainly says do “this,” and you will endure. It’s hard work sometimes so surround yourself with people that will help you back up.
Verse 1: Do not fret. Bottom line: God commands us not to worry.
Verse 3: Trust in the Lord and do good. Ask God to help you with your unbelief and trust Him.
Verse 4: Take delight in the Lord. Find joy in knowing who God is and what He has done for you.
Verse 5: Commit your way to the Lord. Determine to do good.
Verse 7: Be still before the Lord. Pray and read scripture and listen to God to speak – not audibly but through the Bible. Everything you need to know is in the Bible.
Verse 7: Wait patiently for Him. Sometimes we think God should move faster. Trust me; He knows what your timeline should be like better than you do.
Verse 8: Refrain from anger and turn from wrath. Do not become bitter. Constant disappointments or physical pain can make you lose hope and become angry. Pray about this if you are mad at God for your situation.
Verse 27: Turn from evil and do good. Again, determine to do good.
Verse 34: Hope in the Lord and keep His way. Lay your burdens at His feet.
Each of these commands from God requires us to analyze our immediate surroundings. When I feel anxiety coming on, I try to ask myself a few questions like, Am I safe right at this moment? What can I do right now to address the fear/anxiety immediately? If there is nothing I can do, then I tell myself over and over that I have done everything in my power that I can do about the situation and lay the worries at the foot of the Cross. If I don’t “Let go and Let God,” I feel it emotionally with anxiety and depression and physically with increased chronic pain.
I believe there is a direct correlation between emotional pain and physical pain. High anxiety or a bout of depression can increase your pain for many reasons. I know for me it is because when I’m worried or depressed, I tense up every muscle in my body. It is a never-ending cycle. Stress increases pain, and then pain increases stress and so on. Our lives are just so complicated which gives way to more emotions than we can handle and we go in to fight or flight mode. I become completely overwhelmed.
This is when I use scripture to help me with the devil’s schemes. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t read scripture and BOOM! I have peace, and my pain is gone. It is a daily, sometimes, hourly struggle. Today, I’m in a minute by minute mode. So, I know how you feel. Just keep picking yourself back up by surrounding yourself with positivity and scripture is the best place to start. I also encourage you to write down thoughts. Whether you share it or not doesn’t matter. Either way, writing or journaling can create meaning and purpose and hope just for yourself, but if you share it, you can reach others helping them at the same time. We need to be there for each other. You don’t have to go through this alone.
I want to end with a devotion prayer I read for today. The book is called “Daily Gratitude” with contributing writer, Joanne Mattern. It was given to me last year by a dear friend. I could not find a link to share with you, but Amazon has many others to choose from. Just search “daily gratitude in Books.”
This prayer reminds me while my body is in pain, and maybe even my mind is too, I still need to find something to be grateful for because God dwells in me. There is something extraordinary about acknowledging God’s spirit living in you through the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 New International Version (NIV)
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
Thank you for this body. Thank you for the gift of movement, the gift of touch, the gift of laughter. When I ‘m at odds with my body, please help me focus my thoughts to what my body can do and the ways it can serve you. Thank you for the nerves and synapses, arteries and brain cells, that make me who I am, Your Creation. Amen
Get our voices out there! Answer the questionnaire and let them know people with pain matter and that we are not all drug addicts buying off the street causing this “opioid epidemic.” Let’s give them some facts and be NICE!
I can’t believe it has been over a month since I posted my first blog piece about chronic pain and hope. Suddenly, it is the Fall/Winter season, and I’m wondering where the summer disappeared to because I can feel the cold in my bones already. It’s just too soon! I don’t care for cold weather because I grew up loving the beach. Having chronic pain has made me dislike the winter season even less. The cold seems to magnify my discomfort, and I let the dreariness of too many sunless days in a row deflate my joy.
When I end up flat in bed because the pain is debilitating, I usually become bored with television, reading, and playing on my phone very quickly. I was able to crochet while laying flat for awhile but eventually, that became boring too. Over time, you just run out of things to do to keep the mind busy. I don’t know if you are the same, but that’s when the negative thoughts start running amuck in my head. You can’t do ANYTHING anymore! You have to always cancel, and you disappoint friends and family! There is no more joy for you! You’re a burden on your family! Why can’t I have my life back? How long do I have to endure this God?
I have to say, I did a lot of talking at God, but I had forgotten to listen… until recently.
A few months ago, I was talking with someone about how my life had gone in such a downward spiral because I couldn’t do the things I wanted to anymore. I was in a very negative frame of mind at this time. My friend wouldn’t accept my “pity party” and challenged me to find positive things to focus on; to reframe my perception. I knew that the most important thing should be God and I will admit, at the time, God wasn’t my complete focus. I was so zeroed in on the negative things that my pain had become a prison of self-absorption.
I picked my Bible back up, and after meeting God regularly, my negative thoughts slowly began to fall away, and even in the midst of pain, I also found some precious joy. No, I wasn’t out of pain physically, but I think some of my raw emotions were being healed through scripture and prayer. The Psalms in the Bible are a great place to start studying because it describes David crying out to God many times and how God answered David. You can also pray these prayers and promises from the Psalms and find joy and hope.
In the Bible, when David was hiding in a cave from Saul, he literally cried out to the Lord, and that is what we need to do when we feel we have nothing else on the impossible days.
A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer.
1 I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. 2 I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble.
3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. 4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.
5 I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.
I just need to remember where to look. I’m trying to make the conscious decision that I shouldn’t let things or other people or even the weather dictate how I feel emotionally. But when you feel awful because of physical pain due to the weather like this recent season change, that can be a tough thing to do.
Now that I’ve been reading God’s Word, praying, and trusting God for my joy, I found that it makes all the difference in the world! See, when I got my focus back, I discovered that I can claim God’s promises for joy.
When I figured out that I had to purpose joy in my soul, some things became mentally easier to handle. My pain isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, I’m pretty sure of that, but when my attitude is full of joy because of God’s promises, I can endure the pain easier.
To help, I decided to make a little Focus Book. My Focus Book holds scriptures, quotes, and prayers. You can call your book anything you want and put anything you feel is important to remember when you are down physically or mentally. You can make a quick one or two sentence cards of things you want to remember when you are feeling down and call it your Gratitude Book. I found a cheap and small one at Walmart. (I am not getting any compensation for any of my links.)
It’s about 2 inches by 3 inches. You can also use index cards. They come in all sizes. Just punch a hole in the cards and keep them together with a ribbon but not in a knot so you can keep adding new cards when you find inspiration. Mine is small enough that I can easily carry it around with me.
When I feel like I just can’t keep going, I pick up my little focus book and start reading until I feel my mood lifting. Some days it works fast. Some days it doesn’t; it comes slowly, and some days, it just doesn’t work at all, and I know that God’s Grace covers me on those days.
My challenge to you is to find joy through reading scripture and prayer and pull yourself up to the light and away from the darkness.
Need some help finding God’s promises in the Bible? Try www.365promises.com. They have a promise for each day of the year.
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I’ve had chronic pain for way too long, and I finally understand that I need to work on changing my mindset to help my health. Why it took me ten years to figure this out, I do not know. But I’m thankful I did, and now I want to do something productive with my good and my bad experiences with chronic pain by helping others find the information and encouragement they can use in their lives.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
I began to have migraines at the age of 7. In my teenage years, doctors told me that they would go away after menopause, but those years are long gone, and I still suffer from migraines but mostly during the change of seasons. Thankfully, many treatments for headaches have changed for the better than what I endured as a child guinea pig back in the 1970s. I remember drinking straight black coffee because of the caffeine. It was a new trick to try. Someone is always telling you of new remedies that their Great Aunt Heloise had success with in curing an “enter whatever ailment here.” 🙂
Anyway, I’m not so much of a guinea pig anymore for migraine treatments since medicines are now are capable of stopping a migraine if taken in time. Now, it’s all about the back and nerve pain which I’ve had since 2007. When it started, the low back pain and sciatica I endured were short spans of time, but it always resolved itself with rest and medication. Slowly, it reared its ugly head all the time. 24/7. Now, many people still offer new remedies, and I still try almost everything that comes my way within reason. My treatment routine is continually evolving to determine what treatment works the best at that moment.
Chronic pain is exhausting.
I want to walk through the weariness with you and hopefully lift you up. I plan to blog about
my chronic pain journey and how it has affected my life and my faith
meditations, scriptures, prayers, and music
organizations that can help you along your way
chronic pain advocacy information
anything else that arises from questions I receive if I think it might be helpful to others
Sometimes I’ll carry you, sometimes you’ll carry me, and sometimes our faith in God will carry us both, but together we can have a joy-filled life. That is my vision and my motivation for this blog.
You are my motivation for this blog.
It’s hard to find current legitimate statistics on chronic pain and suicide because of under-reporting, but in 2015, a Psychology Today article by Judy Foreman stated that chronic pain sufferers were found to be twice as likely to commit suicide than the average individual without any chronic illness. This number was BEFORE the CDC released their new opioid prescribing guidelines and the DEA cracked down on EVERYONE! Imagine what the legitimate chronic pain patient is going through now trying to get a valid prescription prescribed and filled with the government getting in between the doctor and patient relationship. But that’s for a blog on a different day. : )
I’m sure the stats would go up if the researchers included all invisible illnesses. Having your pain or illness symptoms doubted equally destroy your self-confidence as does the actual physical illness that wrecks your body.
Chronic pain is any pain that lasts for more than three months. Keeping a detailed pain diary can help decipher your symptoms and improve the doctor’s ability to see the big picture of how chronic pain affects your life.
Chronic pain affects everything.
Living with chronic pain wears you down because you can never get recharged emotionally or physically without a support system around you, like online chronic pain communities such as my Validating Chronic Pain blog.
If you have ideas of harming yourself, I beg you to reach out to someone immediately either by calling or texting with the links provided within this post or dialing 911.
People do not want to mention suicide because it might “give someone the idea to do it,” but with today’s political climate in the middle of our healthcare, I believe we must talk about it to raise awareness; to STOP the suicides from the undertreated chronic pain in our world; not just our country but other countries as well.
I’ve felt the pain of wishing I wouldn’t wake up in the morning, but my favorite Bible verse helped me through, “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5, New American Standard Bible)
I wanted the physical pain to stop, but no one seemed to know how to do that other than prescribing pills that sometimes seem to do more harm than good or suggest treatments not covered by insurance after traditional treatments failed. I wanted the emotional pain to stop because I felt isolated, I felt doubted, and like such a burden to my family.
I’m sure you have felt it too because depression usually comes along with the chronic pain and it will eat away at you if you don’t plan and surround yourself with a great support system. I believe my support system of my deep faith in God, my family and meeting others with chronic pain and sharing our journeys is why I never acted on my thoughts of suicide.
There is hope in the midst of pain.
This blog is part of my healing. It will be a learning process all the way.
I want you to be validated; which means to me that you feel important, believed, loved, accepted. I want to be part of your support team. Most importantly, I want you to acknowledge yourself as valuable. Valuable enough to stay on this earth a little longer and find hope. Valuable enough to seek out professional help for the emotional side effects of chronic pain and maybe to consider us helping each other along the way.
I encourage you to comment below but please do so with mercy. I am a real human being with feelings. If I am honest with myself, I know my blog will never be perfect, and I hope you can forgive that because my all intentions are good.
I also encourage you to email me your pain stories because telling your story will heal you and your story can heal someone else because it empowers you both.
Ask questions too. Also, if you send me your mailing address with your comment or story, I will send out a small envelope with a pain warrior bracelet and information about the U. S. Pain Foundation.
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