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.
Join me in taking my own advice today. Stop the negative thoughts by challenging each one. People say “get out of your head,” but I think we need to “get in our head” to have a happy life no matter the situation or surroundings.
One thing no one can take away from you is your attitude.
Much Love and Many Prayers,
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