Inside My Head Tag

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My dear friend SimpliWendi over at Simply Chronically Ill, I am finally completing your reward tag!  Thank you for the nomination. SimpliWendi lives with multiple chronic illness and faces them bravely.  She encourages others with chronic illnesses to live simply for a better life. Please go check out her blog where you will find honesty, vulnerability, and encouragement.

Rules:

° Thank & tag the person that has tagged you

° Attach the tag photo

° Answer the ‘This or That’ questions

° Tag 10-20 friends

 

Here we go:  a little about me……………..

° How do you feel at the moment?

Very excited.  I have a few hours that I can write without interruption.

 

° What do you need more in my life?

I need more self-confidence.

 

° What would make you happy right now?

To see my three grown sons.  They live over 600 miles away from me.  I miss them so much. They come every Christmas, but the time in between passes so slowly.

 

° What is going on in your life right now?

Very beginning of creating a chronic pain support group locally and online and doing chronic pain advocacy.

 

° What am I most grateful for? List 10 things.

  1. God.
  2. My hubby and sons
  3. The gift of writing and expression.
  4. My life situations because looking back, I am one strong woman because of them.
  5. Laughter.
  6. Medicine that helps my physical pain.
  7. The opportunities that this blog has given me.
  8. People that believe in me.
  9. My fan beside my lazy boy because hot flashes are killer.
  10. Pepsi and coffee

 

° When did you experience joy this week? 

Today, sharing laughter with my hubby.

 

° List a small victory/success?

When I started spiraling down into depression, I pulled myself back up in the same day.  I think the tools I’ve learned are beginning to work for me.  All I know is that it is challenging work to be consistent.

 

° What is bothering me & Why?

Family issues because I always believed that “blood was thicker than water,” but through my struggles, I have found that is not true. It’s a death of the dream of what family meant.

 

° What are my priorities at the moment?

I am learning to take self-care for my chronic pain seriously.  When I am consistent with that, I feel so much better.  It helps me to be able to participate more fully in my life and live in the moment.

 

° What do I love about myself?

I can make people laugh.  I love my excitement. I love my new attitude.

 

° Who means the world to me & why?

There are 4 people that mean the world to me and if they read this, they will know I am talking about them.  One reason: unconditional love.

 

° If I could share one message with the world, what would it be?

(SimpliWendi: I stole your answers!!  They were perfect!)

Be nice………..you have NO IDEA what other people are going through.

Be generous……….there are SO many needs in this world.

 

° What advice would I give my younger self? 

Be smarter with my love and respect myself.

 

° What lesson did I learn this week? 

I have to relearn this every week.  I have to learn to be emotionally flexible.

 

° If I had all the time in the world, what would I do first?

I would have to have qualifiers to answer this question.  I would need to know if I would have my chronic pain or not.
With chronic pain, I would be helping people in some way like I am trying to do with the blog and through writing. I don’t want what I go through every day to be in vain, and I don’t want anyone to stay stuck thinking that their life is over because of chronic pain or chronic illness.
Without chronic pain, I would go back to college and get my psychology degree while working to pay for it. (I miss working and interacting with people in person.) Then, I would do the same thing but with even more knowledge to help others.

 

° What’s draining my energy?

Chronic pain constantly drains every ounce of energy.  It really sucks some days when there is very little energy to do basic tasks.

 

° What does my ideal morning look like?

To wake up without an alarm clock.  The noise is a shock to the body and brain.

 

What makes me come alive?

Spring time in the South makes me come alive.  The suns starts warming the earth and everything comes alive.

 

° What/Who inspires me the most?

All of the people with pain in this world that get up one more day and do it all over again.

 

° Where does my pain originate?

This would have to be a series.

 

° What are my strengths?

I am an intuitive thinking and encourager.

 

° What is something I’ve always wanted but too scared to get?

One of the new Ford Mustangs.  I would probably kill myself in it.

 

° What is something I would love to learn?

Calligraphy.

 

° Where would I want to live my ideal life?

Somewhere with many, many more sunny days than rainy days.

 

Where would you like to travel in the next 5 years?

I would love to have a motor home and travel everywhere it can go.

 

° What can I do to take better care of myself?

Say no without guilt or shame.

 

° What hobbies would I like to try?

Pinterest DIYs

 

° When have I done something that I thought I couldn’t do?

I didn’t think I would ever travel again but in the past year I have been to Denver and Chicago.

 

° At the end of my life, what do I want my legacy to be?

She was a Mary in a Martha world. Luke 10:38-42

 

My nominees not in any particular order: 

Discovering Your Happiness

My Loud Bipolar Whispers

LETITGOCOACH

Pointless Overthinking

FightMSDaily

Can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers but if it is not your thing, that’s ok too.

Much Love and Many Prayers

Cindy

 

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Anti-Inflammatory Diets: Fact or Fad?

I cannot add very much to this post by the Puppy Doc. Great information about a special diet for chronic inflammation. Research on chronic pain and how different food affects the inflammation needs to be a healthcare research priority.

Phoebe, MD: Poetry & Medicine

By Phoebe Chi, MD

Inflammation. Foods that fight inflammation. Anti-inflammatory diets. It has no doubt become a buzzword in the world of nutrition and health these days. But while there’s little question that the food we eat is an important part of staying healthy, some of these diets are being promoted with very big health claims, among them the assertion that they can cure serious diseases. But does the actual science match up to these claims? And should you follow these dietary guidelines? And what exactly do these diets consist of? These are the questions that will be addressed in this post. 

View original post 1,492 more words

Chronic Pain Support Group Training

Whew!  I am starting to catch my breath from the trip to Chicago for the chronic pain support group training last weekend.  I am experiencing more pain than I expected, and it has slowed me down tremendously.

But let me tell you about the training instead!  Pain Connection (a program of US Pain Foundation www.painconnection.org. www.uspainfoundation.org) held the training. Every one attending and the leaders were awesome. We all connected almost immediately.  Many different personalities in the room and different belief systems, but we all came together as one to learn how to help the chronic pain community by starting support groups in our local areas. We also learned things that we can apply to ourselves for self-care like guided imagery and meditation.

We went through so many aspects of chronic pain/chronic illnesses and how to have an effective treatment plan so you can have a good life. I will have plenty of topics to write about and use in a support group setting; too many to name it all here today but I cannot wait to share it all.

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My biggest take away is the Treatment Tree. The Treatment Tree idea and planning can help you to find tools and skills for every aspect of your life: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, career, hobbies, and organization. It recognizes that we have many different ways that chronic pain affects our lives and helps us to find solutions that work every day.

I have never had a doctor that considered all these aspects at one time when deciding different medical treatments for me.  We must be our own advocates. I intend to give the information I have learned to you so we both can take it to our doctors so they can see the big picture. We need more than just a prescription!

I also learned more about our pain being so much more than just in the physical area of an injury. There are so many aspects of our lives that affect our pain, and the brain plays a very large role in ways that I never knew before. As I learn more, I will pass it on.

Chicago was nothing like I have heard about it. I pictured dirty and unfriendly.  We seemed to be in a more industrial area in the north west of Chicago.  It was very clean and everyone we came in contact with was very kind and helpful.  I couldn’t have asked for a better trip.

I love meeting new people and hearing their life stories and this was no different.  It exceeded my expectations and I am so thankful that my hubby and I we both were able to complete the training. 

At the end, we had to pick a stone with a word on it and tell why we chose it.  I chose happiness because I have always chased happiness.  I didn’t say anything profound because being put on the spot like that shuts down my brain.  😁  But I always thought happiness was living without any troubles or sorrows and when I got to that point, I’d be happy. But I have found out that happiness can live amongst the troubles and sorrows. With this knowledge, I became unstuck.

JOY IS BUT THE SIGN THAT CREATIVE EMOTION IS FULFILLING ITS PURPOSE.
– CHARLES DU BOS

That’s what this blog is all about: changing perceptions. Changing the perceptions other people have of people with pain and changing our perceptions of ourselves and our chronic pain journey. 

Knowledge is power.  Go out and get you some!

I am excited!! I am 6 followers from 100.  Help me out!  Follow my blog!

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Cloud Nine

My head is still in the clouds from the plane ride. I feel completely peaceful tonight. I am exhausted and in major pain but it is worth every wince and groan.

Being validated, knowing someone else “gets it” is empowering. We know we can leave our guard down which makes us more relaxed. And that helps us deal with the pain in our bodies in a more loving way.

I believe support groups or seeing a mental health professional can really help chronic pain patients deal with the constant unrelenting pain and improve their quality of life. It’s all about taking back control, reducing isolation, and keeping your independence.

These past few years you have probably felt like a runaway train recklessly going through the motions to get through the day.  So many people with chronic pain do not have a person that can help support their physical and emotional needs.  A support group can do that.

When you attend a support group you will find others with different pain issues but with almost the exact emotional journeys.

Knowing that others are just like you in that way is validating. Tonight I feel very understood, and I am grateful.

I took a couple of pics with my phone coming in to the airport in Chicago. I am not a professional photographer. It’s just cell phone shots. 😎

This is me. Just happy to be alive and fully partipating in my life!

I hope this helps someone tonight. Maybe you might start a support group of your own. If you would like more information, please contact me directly at validatingchronicpain@gmail.com or through my contact page with the button above in the header.

Please forgive any errors. I am doing this on the fly on my telephone.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Dream a Little Dream For Me

I thought I would let every one know how the trip is going and let you inside my neurotic world.

I tried to just sit down and relax at the house after I was finished with packing but to no avail.

Thoughts rolling through my head like fish in a rolling river. They are going too fast to catch. I am trying to slow them down and think with reason.

But the anxiety won and hubby sweetly gave in because he knows I won’t stop obsessing about missing the fight.

So we will be sitting in the airport for about 2 1/2 hours before we board. I really hate anxiety.

Chronic pain with anxiety creates a nightmare of constant planning for what-ifs! If I get focused on something, I cannot let it go.

Anyway, we are patiently waiting for our plane: catching up on emails and reading blogs.

I must give a shout out for American Airlines out of ILM for going out of their way to help disabled passengers.

I witnessed this with other disabled passengers and experienced it myself. Impressed so far.

So, with extra planning I can still fly even being disabled. They will use a wheelchair to get me from gate to gate.

I never dreamed that my life trials would lead me to the places I have gone. I was sure I would ever travel again!

If I can do these things, so can you.

There are many opportunities for advocacy with US Pain Foundation and the people I have worked with have been wonderful.

Don’t give up your dreams!

Your dreams may need to be modified but you can still live an awesome life!!

I’m supposed to be in Chicago around 2pm. Hopefully, enough time to venture out tonight and check the city out.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

If you can help with travel expenses for the chronic pain support group leader training I am going to this weekend I would be forever grateful.

Help my mission of starting a chronic pain support group.

The Mystery Blogger Award

The-Mystery-Blogger-Award-2A big thank you to Tasha over at Pain Warrior Code for the nomination. Her message is full of hope, especially for our hard days with chronic pain, but her message is universal. Her Pain Warrior Code can be applied to any type of pain whether emotional or physical. She has a passion for encouraging other chronic pain warriors to keep their eye on the prize.

What is Mystery Blogger Award?
“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

3 Things About Me:

  1. I love to write with pen and paper instead of typing on a keyboard.  There is just something about the flow of ink on the paper. My thoughts are fluid when I write that way.
  2. I know all the words to each song on the orginal Grease soundtrack.
  3. I always have Charms suckers in my pocketbook.  I love them because they have chewing gum in the middle.

I nominate:

Nan – The Depression Free Garden

Positively Alyssa – Fight MS Daily

Simply Wendi – Simply Chronically Ill

and anyone else that wants to participate.

My Answers:

1) What made you want to start blogging?

Honestly, finding out that many chronic pain patients are commiting suicide because their pain is not being treated properly. I needed something I could do from home and blogging made sense to me.

I prayed for years for God to give me a passion for something, something I couldn’t live without doing.  I did not know that he would bring it to fruition through my own struggles with living with chronic pain.    

2) As this award is about blogs that inspire and motivates – do you as a nominee have a mantra, proverb or saying that you live by? 

I have the words “Still I rise.”  tattooed on my inner wrist to remind me I am strong.  I have survived. People think it is from Maya Angelo’s poem but it is inspired from Micah 7:8. The other part of the tattoo is “I am God’s beloved.”  It is a reminder to myself to live loved.

3) If you had to choose one meal that you had to eat everyday for a month (without any health consequences), what would it be?

Hands down, provolone cheeseburger on fresh baked bun with lettuce, mayo & mustard and deep fried french fries. Since you said MEAL, and I consider dessert part of dinner, I would end it with blueberry cheesecake.  

4) What is your favourite hobby/pass time?

Anybody that knows me would probably say talking, so I’ll go with that one.  

5) What’s the best / worst practical joke that you’ve played on someone or that was played on you?

I usually give myself away very quickly when I have played a practical joke. I am not very good at them because of that, so I do not have any vivid memories of any jokes I played on anyone.  

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. What’s the most surprising self-realization you’ve had?
  2. How do you hope you will change as a person in the future?
  3. What is the most annoying question that people ask you (if you have a chronic illness/pain, what is the most annoying question that people ask you about your illness/pain)?
  4. What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of and why?
  5. What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?

This was fun!  I can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers. Tasha, sorry this took me so long!

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

 

Good Medicine

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I wanted to check in with everyone. I was missing in action most of May, but it wasn’t on purpose. Mostly, physical issues prevented me from doing all the things I wanted to get accomplished. My migraines are always worse in the Spring and the Fall times of the year. We’ve also had a lot of rain on the east coast of North Carolina. That has contributed to more pain from my back and legs.

But today I feel fantastic. All my meds are working well, and there is sweet sunshine today to encourage me further!

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I did my stretches outside this morning in my backyard. We have a neighborhood pond close to us, and I am very thankful for the view. It is very relaxing early in the morning or late in the evening. Here in the south we already have crazy heat indexes. It’s no fun to be in the miserable heat in the middle of the day.

But I have something else that has been keeping me busy. I am trying to start a support group in my area and online. I am flying to Chicago for a chronic pain support group training. I am so excited and scared! Hubby is going with me to help so I know I will be okay with his help.

I will be learning about how to start a support group specifically for chronic pain warriors to help each of us to not just muddle through life but to continue to get up each morning and find hope and a purpose.

That is coming up in the next couple of weeks so preparing for that and then recovering when I get home will take some time. I plan to blog some repeats for those that are just jumping on board.

Chronic pain has created some very rough times in my life, but it has created opportunities for me to grow stronger as a person in ways that I never dreamed I would be doing.

I am only taking my unplanned life circumstances and turning them into opportunities to help other people. And I think that is the best medicine in the world!

What’s your perspective on these thoughts?

Much love and many prayers,
Cindy

Photo Credit: Cindy @ChronicPainWithAHigherPerspective

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Ways to Emerge as Who You Want To Be

discoveryPhoto by Micah Hill on UnsplashBeing authentic is the emergence of your genuine self. It is when we arrive at who WE say we are and we do not rely on how others define us.

Being true to ourselves allows our actions to align with what our core believes.

When there is a shift in our actions that cause conflict with our inner beliefs, difficulties will arise in our life creating speed bumps and sometimes complete roadblocks making us feel stuck.

When you have chronic pain, it increases and complicates the roadblocks further. Like when someone asks how you are doing.  I’ve always had trouble answering that question.

My hubby and I have code words. If I tell someone I am “peachy” then he knows the pain level is high, but I don’t want to complain. Most people do not understand the experiences people with pain go through.

It’s easier to just say you are fine. This false response creates stress because we want to be real about our experience and the pressure of not being authentic creates more pain; physical and emotional. So, we are not helping ourselves when we lie about how we feel because it is easier for others to accept or so that we don’t have to say no.

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Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it a familiar friend or a distant relative?

SIGNS YOU AREN’T LIVING AN AUTHENTIC LIFE

You are a people pleaserdo you do things for others out of guilt? Feeling like you must do everything for everyone will get in the way of your self-care.

Honoring others is important but not at the expense of our health. It is not selfish to take the time for ourselves.

Some days I find my body exhausted and in excruciating pain. I only have myself to blame sometimes because I did not say no to a request or make the time to take care of myself.

Refueling yourself is the best way to be able to give to others

You question your own thoughtsdo you rely on others to validate your feelings? Doubt fuels negative thinking. We can find ourselves quickly spiraling down when we doubt ourselves. I constantly doubt myself. I doubt myself right now while I am writing this! On some days my unbelief in myself can be paralyzing.

You compare yourself to others – do you feel like other people have it all together and you don’t? I have a love-hate relationship with social media. So much of it is fake. No one and I mean no one has a perfect life. A friend of mine told me that her daughter would spend hours taking selfies to post one picture online. Hours to post one picture! Live who you are.

You blame others for your problems to avoid dealing with them- do you accept responsibility for your actions? Isn’t it easier to blame someone else?  It takes the pressure off of ourselves and relieves the feeling that we need to take some action. There is a little part of everyone that does not want to accept responsibility for the things we do. Not taking control of your actions is just denying there is a problem and denial will keep you stuck. Look at yourself honestly but remember to look with love also.

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When we do not live authentically, we become stuck where we are at in life which can lead to depression and anxiety.

I developed severe anxiety and depression after the back and leg pain began to be daily in 2014. I lived in the pit with all of these things I listed above and it kept me frozen with fear. I did not want to leave my house or see anyone.  And I definitely didn’t want anyone coming over and seeing my home.

Over the past 2 years, I have worked very hard on trying to stop the control that fear has over my life.  I have picked up a few tips on living authentically I’d like to share with you. It will give you a few tools to find your happy place by learning to live and love who you really are, even with chronic pain.  Your life can still be exceptional!

HOW TO EMERGE AS WHO YOU WANT TO BE

Decide to accept yourself. We need to love ourselves on purpose as we are at this exact moment. We can choose to love ourselves like we can choose to be angry or to be sad.

Accepting ourselves can be especially hard if we feel our body has let us down because we have chronic pain.

Living in a shell of a body that always seems to fail can make us feel unworthy of joy if we allow it to.

We each need to meet ourselves where we are at in this world and begin a real journey of self-discovery. We are exquisitely made by our Creator. Be you.

Make a list of your strengths. Whatever we are good at should be celebrated. With chronic pain, life can be challenging.

Think of all that you have overcome and put it on this list. You are reading this, so you are still standing. We may have lost some of our strengths, but we cannot forget to remind ourselves of what we can still accomplish.

I promise you that you can continue to have fulfillment with chronic pain. Dig deeper, and you can find new ways to be strong. Don’t forget you are intelligent and creative.

Stop listening to the negative voice in your head. Our minds are powerful, and we can decide where our thoughts go. Your thoughts also decide your next steps in life.

Just remember that we would probably never speak to other people the way that we talk to ourselves.

Slow down your thoughts to find out what you are saying to yourself and change the dialogue to be who you want to be.

Distance yourself from the people that do not believe in you. Your feelings and thoughts are important.

We need to surround ourselves with people that will nurture us, helping us reach our true potential, not tearing us down or keeping us stuck.

Grieve your previous life before your chronic pain or illness. I wish I had a magical way of going through grief without any pain, but everyone is much too different to have one tried and true way to get through grief. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance and are a part of the framework that helps us understand what we are experiencing when we grieve a loss. I would suggest if you feel stuck in any of the stages of grief to seek out professional help.

Spend time doing the things you love. I am doing a complete overhaul of how I spend my time every day. I feel like I don’t have time for everything I want to accomplish. I have found that I need to make blocks of time and set them aside for the things that I enjoy doing. Find what you love and do it.

Communicate with the people around you.  I understand now that I need to communicate truthfully with the people close to me. It is incredible how much of a difference being real has helped with feeling good mentally and physically. I encourage you to do it but if you haven’t had a voice in a while.  Go easy on those around you. Explain to them the things you want to change in your life and recruit their help.

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You can live your whole life and never reveal your real self to the world. What a shame that would be not to be truly known. You can decide today to live authentically and find happiness. You can learn to love yourself and even be proud of yourself. It creates better life opportunities and promotes creativity. It empowers us to live our best life, even with chronic pain.

Your life is not over. In some ways, when you get to this vantage point of living authentically, your life has just begun.

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Photo by Micah Hill on Unsplash

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

Photo by Ivan Karasev on Unsplash

Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

The Mystery Blogger Award

The-Mystery-Blogger-Award-2Thank you so much to Anita at Discovering Your Happiness, for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! Thank you for this unexpected honor and encouragement! Anita has a phenomenal blog about living a positive life.  One of my favorites of her blog is Your Depression Doesn’t Define You.

What is Mystery Blogger Award?
“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

3 Things About Me:

  1. I am a music freak; all kinds except cannot handle hard rap or opera. I could not live without Spotify and the variety of music it offers.
  2. I am addicted to Pepsi’s.  Yes, I know it is awful stuff.  I’ve admitted I have a problem.  They say that’s the first step. 😉
  3. I love receiving FabFitFun subscription boxes. I have not been disappointed yet.

My Nominees in No Particular Order:

My Answers:

  • What is your 2018 goal?   My biggest goal is to go to a support group training and to start a local or online chronic pain support group.
  • What is one of your biggest accomplishments? Learning how precious life is before it is too late and living life to the fullest which includes learning to listen with curiosity.
  • If you could pack up & move, where would you go? Somewhere at a very warm beach with clear water.
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Leading a support group, helping others navigate the chronic pain life and live fully, and advocating for chronic pain patients. I would love to have my psychology degree within 5 years but not sure if it’s doable, but I can dream about it.
  • What is one of your biggest fears? My biggest fear is that I haven’t learned from the past.

 

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
  2. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
  3. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
  4. What are your 2018 goals?
  5. Who is your favorite musical band?

This was fun!  I can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

 

Where Are Your Thoughts Taking You?

Like most people, I don’t ever want to be embarrassed, but I feel like I’ve discovered some things that most doctors do not take the time to tell chronic illness patients.

We spend time searching for answers about our chronic illnesses, and sometimes we eventually find peace with our life on our own, but that takes time.

I don’t want other people to waste another minute of life. I feel the need to shout what I have learned so that you can have a better experience. I’m willing to risk the embarrassment of being vulnerable.

Being so eager to tell the world my epiphanies reminded me of a movie called Jerry McGuire, where a sports agent finds out that life is so much more than money. He has his ah-ha moment and writes a manifesto for his life.

He bares his soul in it, things he hasn’t told anyone else that he believes in. He sent it to everyone he knew. And, he immediately regretted it.

That’s how I feel every time I hit the “publish” button on a blog post. It takes significant courage to hit the button each time.

Even though it is difficult, I want to be real about my own experiences with living with chronic pain while helping others and sharing other people’s stories.

I’ve talked with other chronic pain patients across the United States and in other countries.  Speaking to others with varied backgrounds has helped me see past myself and my own chronic illness.

I have found out that while we are different races, ages, and backgrounds, we all live the same type of chronic illness lives and have the same challenges We have different diagnoses but similar type problems.

Life can be hard, but there is an opportunity to know yourself better in every circumstance. We can choose to either focus on the bad things that have happened or find the joy that life still has to offer.

Sometimes we lower our expectations in life so that we won’t be disappointed. You don’t have to settle just because you have a chronic illness.

You may not be able to change your circumstance, but you can change your mindset. Your mind is a private battleground of positive and negative thoughts that only you have control over.

People can tell you what you should believe, but you ultimately have the final say whether you suscribe to the same beliefs or not.

It’s only true if you believe it.

Stop and think about that statement.

It’s only true if you believe it.

You decide where your thoughts go. It takes work, but you do not have to let your life circumstances keep you from happiness.

Learning how to slow down your thoughts so that you can examine each one helps you to find the best life has to offer. When you listen intently to the soundtrack in your head, you will hear what you have been telling yourself for years.  You might be surprised at what you learn.

I began doing this whenever my anxiety popped up. The words in my head would be all running together stirring up my fear. One thought after another sped through my mind not leaving enough time even to entertain what the thought meant and why it was there. When I slowed my thinking down, I found that I could challenge the thoughts one by one.

A good way to do a reality check is to balance every negative thought with a positive one and ask yourself a few questions. 

  • What is the evidence for the negative thought?
  • Am I jumping to conclusions?
  • Is there any other way to perceive this negative thought?
  • What can I do to solve the problem right now?
  • Am I safe right now?

Sounds time-consuming, but it isn’t once it becomes second nature. It just takes practice.

Think of it as a child learning to walk. Steps are slow and wobbly at first, but over time they become firm and confident.

Once you find that negative voice, you begin to smack it down faster each time with positive thoughts as time goes by.

Your thoughts determine your next steps in life. Shouldn’t you take time to consider where they are taking you?

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

 

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Photo by Kevin Schmid on Unsplash