I started writing an ethical will for my three sons a couple of years ago.
I’ve never finished it because I have so much I want to tell them. I just don’t know where to stop.
An ethical will is a way to tell your loved ones your values, blessings, life lessons, hopes, and dreams for the future. It’s simple really.
It can actually be about anything you feel is valuable information to pass down to the next generation, and you do not have to wait to die to pass it on to your family members.
You can give them a copy at any time for any reason, or no reason at all.
It is not a legal document of any kind. It’s just thoughts and things you want to share.
Don’t we all have times when we wish we had one more moment in time to tell that special person something that we value deeply?
Here is just a tiny sampling of things I have written in my ethical will of words of wisdom I want to pass on to my children.
Life is hard no matter what path you go down.
The people beside you are hurting in some way just like you.
That’s just reality.
EVERYTHING depends on how YOU react to it.
You can try to find positive instead of looking for the negative.
It’s harder work, but it pays off with dividends: Joy.
I guarantee you’ll have joy if you learn to ride the wave instead of drowning in the wave.
Much Love and Many Prayers,
JULY Chronic Pain Support Group Update:
I am waiting on the final go ahead from the community agency that is allowing me to lead a chronic pain support group at their facility locally.
I will now be making the flyers and cards to give out at doctor’s offices locally and to put up around town.
The dream is slowly coming together. I want to thank everyone that is supporting and encouraging me; specifically, my hubby. This is probably one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever thrown at him but he has never lost a step right beside me. Always & Forever.
Help My Mission of helping others live the best life they can with chronic pain.
Photo Credit (I could not bring myself to crop the photo – the colors were too awesome- so it is too large but beautiful) by Paul Larkin on Unsplash
This morning I was thinking about my thoughts and beliefs that kept me “stuck” for so many years with deep and dark depression and anxiety from chronic pain.
I felt stuck because…
I did not have belief in myself.
I allowed others to do everything for me.
I always thought my body had to be completely healed to have a better life again.
I thought I must be weak because I can’t push through the pain, and that made me feel shame.
I became angry when doctors told me I must learn to live with it so I “dug in my heels in” that a cure must be found.
I didn’t take responsibility for my treatment. I trusted in doctors to have complete control over my treatment without question.
I believed that going to a psychologist meant the pain was only in my head.
I had untreated severe depression and anxiety due to pain.
I relied only on medication and not lifestyle changes to get through my pain.
I was grieving my “old” life and who I was before chronic pain.
I kept myself isolated at home.
I compared my life to everyone else’s “perfect” life on Facebook.
It is in my personality to resist change and to be inflexible mentally.
This is just a few reasons I could not move forward with my life.
So, how am I turning things around?I realized over time that I was the only one that can change my situation. It is a long slow process. I had given away my power a long time ago, so I had to find the strength to make the changes. I struggle so hard with making changes. I just cling to whatever I am doing, even if it isn’t the best thing for me. Change is scary.
In fighting to change for the better, I felt like I was in a cocoon pushing out an arm and a leg, occasionally punching through only to have it close back up quickly. There are days I still struggle with breaking through the difficult stuff and being consistent.
When I hit 250 lbs from being sedentary, I woke up and realized my weight issue was completely out of control. I sought out a surgeon for weight loss surgery. Part of the process is seeing a nutritionist and psychologist. Both have helped me change my life.
This was the first step in lasting change although I didn’t know it at the time.
I had to take a very long multiple choice quiz about my behaviors and beliefs. The results are used to determine if you are a good candidate for the surgery mentally and if you will commit to making the lasting changes. Needless to say, my results showed I “got issues.”
That was the beginning of my journey to healing. It was not the cure I was hoping for. I was looking for that miracle that would make my life go back to normal.
I would love to tell you I have it all figured out but I am moving very slow with the changes. We are talking tiny baby steps. Creeping ever so slowly over the past two years.
With every a-ha moment of understanding how my brain processes thoughts, I began making small changes in how I thought about myself through therapy.
For me, going over the old me and keeping what works but throwing out the no longer usable tools in my mental health toolbox has been helpful.
Has it been easy? No. It has been excruciatingly painful emotionally at times, but I have learned so much about myself and the people around me.
Becoming aware of who I really am and accepting that person even though I am different than the beliefs I was given as a child has been key to making changes.
It is just the starting point sitting across from a mental health professional. You have to get over the hump of using your brain to control your thoughts.
Most everyone has heard the buzz word “mindful.” It is having control of your immediate thoughts and changing your negative belief pattern while living in the moment, not in the past or future but right in the present.
Feeling stuck, lonely, and depressed is no way to go through life. Some people do not win the battle, and that makes me very sad. I hope I reach someone today that feels defeated and they seek out professional help.
You can choose to take control of your thoughts. There is no shame in seeking out help. The medical doctors are not taught how to handle emotions and mental health issues that chronic pain causes.
Medical doctors have very little training in treating a patient’s emotional pain from chronic pain. Mental health services should be offered when you are diagnosed with chronic pain and not at the end when they do not know what to do with you anymore. They leave you emotionally damaged by chasing miracles and expensive alternative treatments they offer when they cannot do anything else for you.
A psychologist or other mental health professional should be a part of the chronic pain treatment plan in the beginning, and it should be covered entirely by insurance.
Don’t stay stuck.You really can feel happiness in the midst of chronic pain.
I promise it is worth the hard work. The first step is believing in yourself and that you are worth the work. I believe in you.
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.
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!
I have always wanted to meet Apostle Paul out of any other person in the Bible. I know that is a shocker because most people say they want to meet Jesus, but I am fascinated with Paul’s letters of strong faith. So, when I heard about a movie of Paul’s life, I knew I had to see it.
Assigned reclining seats is a game changer for this anxiety-filled chronic pain girl going to the movies! I hope you have one like that in your area. I was so comfortable, and I even saw that some people brought blankets. What a great idea! The seats were roomy too. If I could just figure out how to take my heating pad…
In the movie, Luke went to Paul where he was in prison and wrote down Paul’s wisdom for the encouragement of the early Christians. I am so thankful that we have the letters now. Without the struggles that Paul went through he probably would not have been able to give such wisdom. Paul’s writings have always given me strength and motivation to keep on toward the goal on the hard days.
Seeing in the movie what the early Christians went through and the violence committed against them just for their belief in Christ was brutal, but it helps me put some things in perspective about my chronic illness.
Paul had a “thorn in his side.” He begged for God to take it away, but God did not. The MSG versions of 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 explains how Paul felt about his thorn in a way that we can understand it better and apply it to our chronic illness.
6 If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I’d still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I’ll spare you. I don’t want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you’d encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.
7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Have you cried out to God to take your thorn of chronic pain away? I have. I’ve gotten mad that He wouldn’t take it away. Some days, I am still kicking and screaming. It can be easy to get stuck being angry about it, but Paul boasted about his weaknesses. He had baggage just like us. Everyone has things they regret, or they don’t like about themselves, and even Paul had issues.
In the movie, he was sleeping, and the dreams of his past when he persecuted Christians haunted him. The devil’s angel of condemnation was visiting him trying to undermine his faith. Can you imagine Paul’s conversation with God?
Paul: Please God let me out of prison and give me my life back!
God: My grace is sufficient for you.
Paul: I cannot handle living this way!
God: My grace is sufficient for you.
Paul: Please, God, take away my thorn in my side.
God: My grace is sufficient for you.
Why didn’t God make Paul free or take away his thorn? He had the power to do it. Couldn’t Paul do more for Christ on the outside of the prison rather than inside? We think we know how the story should go but God has His own higher plan. Things we cannot see coming. We must rely on faith as Paul did.
With his thorn in his side, whatever that might have been, Paul said he delighted in his weakness. Do we resign to be miserable or can we make a conscious decision of choosing to delight and even boast in our weaknesses as Paul did? I know that the thought of this is painful because all of us really just want to be fixed, but what if that isn’t in the plan? That’s a hard thing to wrap your head around, I know.
The best thing we can do is trust in God’s bigger plan and rest in Him. Easier said than done sometimes, isn’t it? We are to have the faith of a child. Sometimes a child does not fully comprehend a situation and has to trust their parents to take care of them. We should do the same with God. We are His children, and we can trust Him.
How did I get to the point of just trusting God?
I look at scriptures to find my faith and trust. Reading the Word creates faith through the Holy Spirit. I study it by reading different versions to make sure I understand the content. It is also important to know what context of the verse or verses such as who wrote it, to whom it was written and the culture at the time it was written.
I also read Bible commentaries that you can find online. (Scroll down the page on Bible Gateway, and you will find the free Matthew Henry’s Commentary for the Bible.)
We need to believe the truths that we have been given in the Bible and apply it to our lives.
Praying also helps. Do you let Satan push you to your knees in despair or does it put you on your knees in prayer? Tell your thoughts to God. Tell him all of them. He can handle it, I promise. He already knows how you feel, but He wants you to tell him; so just say it out loud and get it in the light of Jesus. Sometimes we fear what God thinks of us, but we need to look at ourselves the way God looks at us. Do not be ashamed and allow God’s love to flow over you. It’s ok to be honest with God.
What hard questions are you asking God today?
How do you handle your “thorn in your side?”
Are you asking God to take your body out of the prison of your illness or are you choosing to delight in your weakness and boast in Christ’s strength?
I have been unable to sleep tonight due to the burning pain in my back and the vice grip feeling in my leg. I just pushed myself too hard last week, and I am still feeling it and regretting it. There is always a give and take when you live with chronic pain. To continue living, you need to accept that some of your “reward” for trying to continue living full lives will be pain and that may come in the form of physical or emotional suffering. They are tied together, but how do you reconcile the “reward” of earthly pain and still feel blessed?
I came across this commentary about feeling blessed even when your world feels upside down and out of control. Read Matthew 5:1-11 aloud.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(B) 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.(C) 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.(D) 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.(E) 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.(F) 8 Blessed are the pure in heart,(G) for they will see God.(H) 9 Blessed are the peacemakers,(I) for they will be called children of God.(J) 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,(K) for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(L)
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you,(M) persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.(N)
Really? I am supposed to feel blessed right now at 3 a.m. while I am unable to sleep due to the burning shooting pains in my back and the vice grip on my leg and foot? I am also worried about how bad tomorrow is going to be and when will I get a break from the relentless pain. It has taken a while to digest the reality of these verses, but here is a commentary to help put it in a higher perspective.
“Blessed” translates the Greek word makarios. It could be rendered as “happy” or “fortunate” if those words aren’t taken in a shallow, emotional way. Makarios is a state of existence in relationship to God in which a person is “blessed” from God’s perspective even when he or she doesn’t feel happy or isn’t presently experiencing good fortune. Negative feelings, absence of feeling, or adverse conditions cannot take away the blessedness of those who exist in relationship with God.” (Emphasis is mine.)
Michael J. Wilkins. The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 204.
In this sermon, Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded — but perhaps not in this life. I am so thankful for this hope I have that one day I will put on a new infallible body in heaven. There will be no pain, no night, and no crying. That’s my reward for being faithful. Everything I am feeling tonight will be gone. I feel like I can’t wait for that day, but I must.
In the meantime, I have to hold time to Jesus’ teachings. There is still work to do, and that will include daily pain. When I get to heaven, I hope God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
So, yes, I feel very blessed by God that I have chronic pain. That may sound crazy, but it all has contributed to who I am today. God is refining me for something special — the day I return home.
Much Love and Many Prayers,
Follow on Facebook @ChronicPainWithAHigherPerspective
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 painful step and then the next one.
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’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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