Chronic pain is not something I’ve written about on my blog before and until now I’ve been a bit reluctant about sharing my experience beyond close friends and family. It’s not exactly the happy, upbeat kind of vibe that I like to have on my blog!
However, it’s the reason I haven’t posted anything in so long and it feels somewhat misleading to only share the good things about married life when, in reality, even the best of ‘happily ever afters’ are not always easy.
I’m hoping I can introduce the topic to my blog by writing about it in more of a positive light.
Chronic pain isn’t always obvious from just looking at someone, and it probably affects a lot more people than we’re all aware of. It can turn your life upside down and put new limits on everything you do. It can be hard to stay positive.
My pain started a year ago and I’m still finding it hard to accept that I need to adjust my lifestyle to manage it. It’s easy to get down about how much things have had to change.
Chronic pain can be hard to live with, so it’s always important to try to see the bright side of things! These are some coping techniques I use to help me stay positive with chronic pain. Hopefully by sharing them I can help someone else or just make people more aware of it in general!
Focus on the things you can do, rather than the things you can’t
I get upset that I can no longer do the things I used to enjoy doing. If I try to do these things (which I often do) I end up suffering in the days that follow. This can include anything that requires a lot of energy, but sometimes even just popping into town can leave me in a lot of pain.
I find it really helpful to focus on the things I enjoy that I still can do.
For example, for my birthday last year I got this beautiful Erin Condren planner (I might do a blog on this another time) and I’ve got really into using hand lettering and stickers to plan and make creative spreads. It seems like a small thing, but it’s a low-energy activity that I find very therapeutic and I know that it won’t worsen my pain.
I also enjoy watching films, talking to friends and online shopping (I probably enjoy this one a little too much but, hey, anything that serves as a distraction from the pain!). I’m also hoping to spend some more time getting back into my blog because I love doing it and I’ve definitely neglected it since I’ve been ill.
These are just a few of the things that I enjoy doing, and it’s important for me to remind myself of that when I’m feeling limited by my pain.
Needing to spend more time doing low-energy activities also gives you the opportunity to try out a tonne of new things that you may not have considered before. For example, I’d love to get better at watercolour painting and learn a new language. There are so many opportunities out there to try, even whilst taking things easy.
Think of your body as a friend that needs caring for
When you’re in a lot of pain, it’s important to take time out to rest. This can be harder than it sounds. It can make you feel selfish and lazy when you can’t do the things you used to do because you’re in too much pain.
I was watching a YouTube video by a vlogger I like, and she suggested thinking of your body as someone else that needs looking after. I’ve found this concept really helpful when it comes to self-care. It makes it easier for me to make my health a priority.
I know that my body needs to rest and be treated kindly in order to help it get better, whether that means sleeping a lot, having a long, hot bath or just resting in general. I need to do these things for my body to reduce the pain to a manageable level, otherwise, it just won’t function. It makes me feel more productive and helpful when I think of my body as someone else that I need to do these things for.
If you had a friend who was permanently in pain and getting really down and fatigued from it, you would encourage them to take care of themselves to help manage their symptoms. I think the concept just really helps encourage you to be less hard on yourself.
Appreciate the small things (and realise that there are lots of them!)
It’s easy to begin to feel useless when you have chronic pain. You can’t do as much, and it can feel like your life has become a fraction of what it used to be.
However, when you’re ill, it’s important to give the small things more merit. Little things become far more worthy of celebration than they used to, especially when these things can be few and far between.
For example, on a bad day, moving from the bed to the sofa feels like a big deal. Getting dressed, making dinner and leaving the house all become reasons to celebrate. And I make sure I note these things down. I usually do this in my planner so that I can look back and see all the things I’ve managed to do.
And as mentioned above, I also really appreciate being able to do things that I enjoy, such as talking to friends and spending time with family. I’ve recently decided to start a gratitude journal to note down the things I’m grateful for. I think this will help me remember the good things when I’m feeling down about the pain.
There are many ways to stay positive with chronic pain, even though it can be hard. If you live with chronic pain or know someone else that does, feel free to share anything that helps you stay positive!