I wanted to talk about living with pain. I’ve been in chronic pain now for 6 months, that’s half a year already. It’s sciatic pain caused by a bulging disc in my lower back, and it effects my entire right leg. Actually, it effects my entire life; from poor quality sleep, to poor concentration, frustration and clumsiness, to issues with mobility. I’m not able to do as much as I would like. I learned this weekend via an MRI scan that may need an operation to fix it. While I’m in shock, I’m reminded that living with pain has been huge learning experience, and one I’m actually grateful for. So I thought I’d share –
My Most Valuable Lessons Learned from Living with Chronic Pain:
- Treat yourself kindly: give yourself the compassion and sympathy you’d show a best friend.
- Time is limited: don’t waste it on things that will hurt or that you don’t want to do.
- Live in the moment: when you don’t know how you’ll feel from one hour to the next, every pain-free moment is a bonus.
- Celebrate the small successes: Got out of bed this morning? Yay! Had a great cup of tea? Yay! Managed to get outside today? Woo hoo!
- Rest is precious: take it however, and where ever, you can.
- Just Be: sometimes just being (as opposed to doing) is enough.
- Boredom is good for you: it rests and refuels your brain.
- Treasure Time Out from the virtual world: Less social media, less screen suck, less pressure to make, share, consume. The virtual world will keep turning without you!
- Embrace assistance: sometimes it’s your turn to be the receiver; of care, of entertainment, of help. ‘See the art’ don’t ‘be the art’, for a change.
- Positivity is possible: Even necessary, on the darkest days. Remember ‘this too shall pass’. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it yet.
In the meantime, while I wait to find out what’s next there’s not a lot else I can do but practice self-care. I will take soothing baths, read and do things I love, rest and refuel, and look for endless cups of tea and hugs, while holding onto the blind faith that it will get better if I be patient.
Pain is shitty but life is sweet. (And please please laugh at the photo, I did!) If you are dealing with something difficult right now, I hope you can find some purpose or joy. No matter how hard it might seem, sometimes there’s a silver lining if you look for it. Here’s wishing you a restful evening. And feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.