Before leaving the Pain Rehab Program at the Mayo Clinic I was asked to write up a Personal Plan for “Difficult Days.” AKA: A plan for days when the pain is so bad but there is no medicine in the medicine cabinet and I have to handle this naturally without crying all day. My biggest struggle I knew would be isolating myself on difficult days. I dislike being around people when I am in the midst of a difficult day. A: I was jealous because whomever I was with was happy and laughing and pain free. B: I never wanted to be downer and have people ask me over and over again: “Are you ok? You aren’t yourself.” My other two fears when I would be faced with a difficult day is that I would lay around crying and feeling sorry for myself all day and it would bring me down to the point where I may want to lay in bed the following day as well.
I came up with distractions to get me through difficult days as opposed to going to pain specialists or taking medicine. My first distraction was music. My second was exercise. There is nothing like listening to your favorite songs to get you moving even if you are having a very difficult day. Sometimes I am not sure if it is the music or the exercise that works better. They kind of go hand in hand for me. Music is awesome. Whether you love hip hop, classic rock, punk, or even Christmas carols. When I am running and a good song comes on I find myself running faster. When I’m sad and driving in my car and a song comes on that relates to why I am sad, I feel better. Even in yoga classes, a good song helps me in the meditation portion of the class.
My other strategies/distractions for difficult days were going for a walk, reading, writing in my journal, doing a meditation, doing a yoga dvd, or cooking. Each one of these distractions involved music for me. Yes, even meditation at times. Anyone with chronic pain who has some days that are more difficult than others, I strongly suggest writing a list of things to do or people to be around to help you get through difficult days. It sounds so silly and obvious but it really does help. Make sure you put music on your list! Music is one of the best solutions to any problem’!