Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, Fear of Abandonment, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, mindfulness, Peace, self love, simplify life, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, The Universe, Worrying

Worrying about Worrying

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

Mark Twain

Most people with chronic pain also have anxiety and/or depression.  Some do not know which came first the anxiety or the pain: you know the whole chicken and egg theory that is way overused!  I know what came first for me: anxiety.  I have had anxiety since I was my daughter’s age and she just turned five.  I had many reasons to be worried at a young age and sadly they followed me into my teens and adulthood.  My bike accident and subsequent chronic pain did not help my anxiety at all.  Doubly whammy!  Anxiety and chronic pain are a vicious cycle that one has to find an end to.  Increased anxiety leads to increased pain and increased pain leads to increased anxiety.  The fear of pain and anxiety is often times worse than the pain or anxiety itself.  People who do not have chronic pain notice physical affects of worrying and stress.  People complain of headaches when extra stressed, stomach aches when anxious events occur in their lives, and a multitude of other ailments (all acute.)  The body and mind are so connected we forget the affect worry has on our chronic pain.

Yes, I have come to an amazing point in my journey with chronic pain and have been m managing it naturally for years.  However, I still have a lot of problems with anxiety and spend more time worrying about things than anyone should.  I have noticed lately that I find myself focusing more on my pain as I have begun to worry more about things.  I have not conquered chronic pain and do not plan on conquering my habit of worrying but I am going to do something about it.  My daughter and I were in Barnes and Noble this past weekend and a book randomly jumped out at me: “The End of Worry” by Will Van Der Hart and Rod Waller.  I have been finding time to read each chapter carefully and with an open mind each day.  I read it slowly with my trusty highlighter and do the exercises it asks of me at the end of each chapter.  I am thirty five years old.  I allowed chronic pain to steal ten years of my life and I am damned it I am going to allow my unhealthy habit of worrying steal more of my time than it already has.  I am tired of complaining about my anxieties and I want to feel in control of my own happiness.  I believe that anxiety is not only stealing my joy and peace of mind but keeping me from fulfilling the dreams I am determined to make come true.

No one is in charge of your happiness, health, or peace but you.  No one is going to save you.  Life is not a fairy tale or one of the sappy movies that I am in love with.  With that said we all need a support system and to be around people who can understand what we are going through.  We all need love and support.  However, it is up to you and me to take charge of our lives.  You deserve to feel empowered and filled with peace and joy.  Those of us with chronic pain have a lot of crap on our plate and I have found a way to live a happy life despite pain but I am exhausted from living with this anxiety.  I am tired of worrying about worrying and now it is time I do something about it.

 

Standard
Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, dreams, Empathy, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, inner child, Law of Attraction, Let go, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Non Resistance, Peace, Positive Energy, self love, simplify life, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe, Worrying

Forced to Grow Up too Fast due to Chronic Pain

“Girls my age are all: I wish I was skinnier, I wish I was tan, I wish my hair was longer, I hate my teeth, I want a newer car.”  And I am over here like I wish I could walk down these stairs without wanting to scream!”

Recently a young reader reached out to me who is suffering from chronic pain.  When I began writing four years ago about my journey with this invisible illness I believed my target audience would be mothers with chronic pain and I would be receiving emails from women who are trying to balance a life with chronic pain while taking care of their children.  I am a mother with chronic pain managing it well and am able to help those out there who cannot seem to get a grasp on this indescribable, invisible pain.  However, over the years I have received more emails and been contacted by older teenagers and young adults more than anyone else.  I was thinking about this last night and realized my target audience are those young adults who in the wraths of pain.  This made perfect sense to me and I had an Oprah AHA moment.  The worst years of my life were during the ages of eighteen to twenty two.  I was at my breaking point with chronic pain and life in general.  I can still remember, all too well how much my invisible disease had destroyed every aspect and facet of the person I was prior to chronic pain taking over my life.  During my young twenties I reached my rock bottom and it was at this time that I was literally drowning in pain and honestly wishing I was no longer alive.  I was not living any kind of life and to say I was surviving is even a stretch.  Therefore it does make sense why I have helped or guided those who are at that young age because I understand their pain better than I understand the pain of anyone else.  The people like who I am writing this post for do not realize that their words help me in ways I never thought possible.  It astounds me how strong this person is and how he is in such a better place than I was at his young age of twenty.

He brought up a very important topic that I believe will capture the eyes and minds of many young people who are drowning in their own pain.  When I was around the age of twenty I hated everyone and everything in the world.  Worst of all, I hated myself.  I isolated myself from all my peers because no one understood what I was going through and I could not bear to hear their problems because although I looked okay on the outside, I was near death on the inside.  Hearing my friends talk about cramps or a recent breakup from a two week relationship made me angry.  Hearing the problems of my friends made me want to scream: “YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW LUCKY YOU ARE!  I WISH I HAD PROBLEMS THAT ARE SO EASILY FIXED.  I MAY DIE BECASUE OF THE CONSTANT DAMN PAIN I AM IN EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY. I WISH FOR ONE DAY YOU COULD WALK IN MY SHOES AND YOU WOULD NEVER COMPLAIN OF SUCH FRUITLESS MATTERS AGAIN. AND MAYBE YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND ME BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE DOES!”  However, I never said these words to anyone.  I either retreated to my bed to cry or asked my friends to have drinks with me.  I knew alcohol would numb my physical pain and I could then bear to hear about their problems.

I am thirty five now and I feel younger than I did when I was twenty.  I never found a cure to my chronic pain but I did find a way through the pain.   I still have chronic pain but it does not consume my life as it once did.  I can now listen to my friends problems without resentment or anger.  No one understands a pain or a struggle unless that person has endured that certain pain or struggle.  Anger and resentment towards anyone or anything only intensifies our own struggles and our own pain.  We are only hurting ourselves.  However, I want to remind anyone who is reading this who knows a friend or loved one with chronic pain that your loved one is suffering.  He or she is not selfish and wishes more than anything that they could listen to your problems and be there for you.  However, they cannot do that.  If you know someone who is truly suffering from an invisible illness understand that although he or she looks okay on the outside, that person is literally fighting for their life and doing the best he or she can.

This post is dedicated to Ethan: Thank you for your questions and please know that you are (like all of you) so much stronger than you believe.

Standard
abandonment, Anger, Brain Surgery, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, inner child, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Non Resistance, Peace, Positive Energy, simplify life, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, The Universe, Worrying

A Letter to Caregivers to those with Chronic Pain

“I am a strong person but every now and then I also need someone to take my hand and say everything will be alright…”

Unknown

I was recently asked by the very informative site http://www.themighty.com to write an article on what I would tell my parents what I feel they did right when I was suffering from chronic pain and also what I feel they did wrong.   I am going to go back in time and write a letter to my dad, who was my closest support system during all the years I was suffering from chronic pain.

Dear Dad,

I know it must be really difficult to see your only child going through such hell because of physical pain no doctor can fix.  I feel guilty all the time because I know I am not the daughter I once was and I miss me as much as you must miss me.  I know I can be really hard to deal with and you are usually really patient with me.  I am angry, depressed, anxious, scared, and feel worthless.  I do not even want to get out of bed anymore and the only reason I do is for class or a doctor’s appointment.  You are spending so much money on all these procedures, doctors, medications, and everything else we are trying in order to rid my body  of this horrific pain no one can see.  Some days I want to just die and then I think of what that would do to you and I cannot imagine hurting you more than I probably already have.  I hate myself dad.  I want to tell you how I keep going and the main reason I am able to keep going is because of you and how supportive you are during this awful time for me.  I know no one can no longer see my scars or physical pain and many people think I am making this pain up.  You never doubt me.  You always believe me and never once have questioned whether or not I am in actual pain despite not being able to see my pain.  I never have to prove anything to you.  You believe me and I have never doubted your belief.  When I feel as if I am going crazy, I remember that the person I love more than anything has never once doubted an illness he is unable to see.

You take me to all my doctor’s appointments and I am no fun to be around right now.  I look at you and all the effort you put into helping me find a cure and I know that I cannot give up.  You must really love me to take so much of your time to sit in waiting rooms with me half of both our weeks!  I always feel so guilty when a new medication does not work.  I always feel guilty when I have another procedure or surgery that the doctor promises me will work and it fails.  I do not even feel like the medication or the surgery failed, I feel as if I failed.  However, you never look at me like a failure.  You never get down and out or seem consumed with worry as I do.  You probably hide it very well because you care so much for me.  You truly believe something will eventually work and how can I give up if you are so adamant that we will not stop until something works for my invisible illness?  You keep me going.

I continuously feel as if I am letting you down and yet when I look into your eyes I do not see a dad who is upset with me.  Only once can I remember you getting really frustrated with me because I did not believe a certain therapist/holistic healer could help me.  You drove me into the city of Philadelphia and sat in the waiting room as I reluctantly and unwillingly went into the therapists office who specialized in invisible illnesses.  I knew she could not help me and did not have an open mind and left her office crying endless tears.  You got very upset with me on the drive home because I refused to ever go back to that office.   You were not happy with my negative attitude and you yelled at me in frustration that crying would not help anything.  I am sure you were not really mad at me but the invisible illness.  It has to be frustrating for you to keep trying everything in your power to help me and my pain and yet nothing helps.  You are human after all.  I know deep down I am not letting you down but sometimes I forget when you get frustrated with me.

The two most important things you did for me during my darkest hours of chronic pain were believing in me and my invisible illness and never giving up on me.  What more could anyone ask for?  All I really needed was to be believed, validated, and supported.  I truly cannot think of anything  you could have done differently. In many ways you saved my life.  Even now at the age of thirty five you are the one person who knows the ins and out of my journey with chronic pain.  Sometimes I think you forget I still have chronic pain because I never talk about it and manage it so well and I just want you to remember that it is still there and there are times when I am extra quiet or cranky because of my invisible illness. Even at the age of thirty five, a mother myself I need someone to hold my hand say everything will be alright.

Love,

Your daughter Jessica

This post is dedicated to my hero also known as my dad.

Standard
abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, dreams, Empathy, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Non Resistance, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, self love, simplify life, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, The Universe, Worrying, yoga, yoga nidra, Your Soul

Healing Through Time

ba1ce1608c71006a3943f83cf836b5b8

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes?  But when you look back everything is different?”

C.S. Lewis

The best day of my life was the day I brought this angel into our world:  February 2nd, 2012.  I am sure so many parents feel that way about the days they brought their children into this world however I never thought I would be able to physically or mentally be able to be a mother because of chronic pain.  For years I lived in constant fear that my invisible illness had stolen all of my dreams and desires.  I battled my chronic pain demons to the point of self destruction.  During my darkest hours of pain I dropped out of college and gave up on any life I had hope for.  I began to mourn the loss of the Jessica I believed was gone.  I mourned all the losses I thought had been ripped out of my heart without any reason except incurable, non stop, excruciating physical pain.  Yes, I had dreams to do well in college and become a teacher or a counselor.  I had dreams of becoming a writer and sharing my stories.  However, my biggest dream in the world was to be a mother.  The thought that chronic pain had stolen any chance of my biggest dream coming true was too much to bear and I did hit my rock bottom in my relentless battle with chronic pain.

Fast forward a couple years to when I first heard the words: chronic pain and acceptance and I was taught how to manage my invisible illness naturally and my dreams slowly began to come to fruition.  Despite chronic pain I graduated college and received my degree in social work.  I spent many amazing, unforgettable years practicing social work in the medical field.  I was healthy.  Chronic pain was no longer controlling my life and I was finally in charge.  I was no longer battling my invisible illness or allowing the illness to take away my dreams.  My biggest dream came true when this little girl entered my life and I became my favorite word in the world: mother.

I keep a one liner journal that I have shared with my readers at times and will continue to do so when special days arise.  Each day I write one to three lines of what stood out most for me that specific day whether the day was difficult or amazing I write it down.  I never thought that taking a few minutes a day to write down three sentences would alter my view on my life to the point it has.  For ten years chronic pain controlled every moment of every day of my life and honestly came close to taking my life.  I lived in catastrophic mode realizing like in the movie: “Groundhogs Day” I would wake up every day and be in a state of pain with no relief and no cure.  Despite having control over my invisible illness I still have difficult moments and at times a whole day with pain and have a difficult time distracting myself from my physical struggle.  I am also human and chronic pain is not the only difficult thing that has happened in my life and I will continue to face the challenges life brings us all.  I am able to look back on my one liner journal every day and see just how much can change in a day…a week…a year.  This journal reminds me that no matter what, I can never give up and that all my hopes and dreams will come true no matter what my current situation or current mood is.  I want to share with you my journal one-liner entries are for February 2nd.

February 2nd

2011: I had a D & C/miscarriage.  We lost the baby boy that was inside of me.  I cannot get off the couch and just don’t want to be alive.  I have worked so hard to get to where I am and had my dream inside me and the doctor ripped it out of me.  I’ll never be the same.

2012:  Our daughter, Kayci was born!   I am a MOMMY!  Kayci was born at 7:41pm.  The same doctor that did my D &C last year delivered my daughter!  Six pushes!  I have never been so happy.  This was the greatest moment of my life.

2013: Kayci turns one!  Birthday party of the century!  My mom was amazing and got a pony to come to our house 🙂 She did so much to help celebrate my angel’s first year and sadly missed the party because she was in the hospital.

2014: Kayci turns two!!! Had an amazing birthday with our family and loved ones.  I had two glasses of wine and was literally hungover from just that.  What happened to me?  When chronic pain was terrible two glasses of wine would have been like juice!  I am such a different person!  Exercised and did yoga nidra to feel healthy again!

2015: Although it has been a difficult few months I refused to allow my recent struggle to ruin Kayci’s third birthday!  Decorated house to surprise her and spent quality time with my now three year old.

2016:  Kayci awoke at 4:45 am because she was so excited to turn four!  She loved finding the small gifts hid around our home.  I took her to Build a Bear to start a birthday tradition.  I was in tears of happiness watching her joy as she built her own bear.  She is the best kid ever!

2017: I cannot believe Kayci is five!  It is bittersweet for me, where is the time going?  Decorated house and exercised with my now five year old.  I took Kayci to Build a Bear to keep the tradition going.  She did not remember last year so it was all new to her again.  I had tears of happiness again.  We had pizza and cake at home and she was so happy she refused to go to sleep.

I share this with you because everything does change and although you may feel hopeless with your personal invisible illness or crisis at the moment you must remember that everything does get better with time.  I have things in my life that I wish were happening now and I have multiple struggles in my life that I wish were better this second.  However, I know all my dreams and desires will come true especially when I see days like the one above.  I cannot lose faith or hope and neither can any of you. You may feel sad, hopeless and defeated today but you truly do not know what is in store with you and this time next year everything may be totally different.  I will not give up hope and neither should any of you!

 

Standard
abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, chronicpain, Depression, dreams, Empathy, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Non Resistance, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, self love, simplify life, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe, Worrying

Fearing the Future

759179cdc8f8e6c27863241e9ded1901

“Fears are stories we tell ourselves.”

Unknown

Above all of you lie a sentence with only six words included that sum up fear better than any phrase I have yet to see.  We are all afraid of something and many of us spend an exuberant amount of time focusing/fearing our futures.  We are afraid of not getting what we want and we are afraid of getting what we do not want.  I received an email recently from a young girl in college who has been following my blog for a couple years now.  She is a very kind, strong young person who has had chronic pain for a couple of years and is trying the best she can to manage her pain while working towards achieving a college degree in social work.  She asked me in her very encouraging email if I had remembered her and what my readers do not realize is that I find it very hard to forget any of you that reach out to me directly for help and support.  I am beyond flattered and amazed that so many people read my story because I do manage pain in an unconventional way. If I was the younger Jessica who was spending her days searching for a cure to chronic pain I would have never read a blog about a woman who has accepted chronic pain as part of her life and manages that pain naturally.  Then there are those of you who not only read my life story but you take the time out of your busy life that I know is not easy as you have an invisible illness to write me just to either say thank you and let me know that I have helped you or to ask me genuine questions.  You tell me your stories and you then see that I will never judge any of you for how you live your life or how you choose to manage your pain and you begin to trust me and many of you take some, if not all of my advice.  How could I forget any of your personal stories when I have not only lived/live your story but am astounded by your personal strength and gratitude.  With that said, of course I remember this young person who I am so very proud of and almost envious of in some ways.  She is in her young twenties and is in a place with her personal journey with chronic pain that I was not able to get to as early as she has.  However, she brought up to me some of her fears regarding her personal future and how she will be able to follow any of her dreams with this invisible illness: chronic pain.

When I was around the age of nineteen/twenty years of age I had more fears about my life than I had when I had brain surgery because of my bike accident.  I do not know what is worse living with chronic pain or the fear of pain itself and what we tell ourselves pain will steal from us.  I never thought I would have a family, be a mother, have a college degree or be the person sitting here writing about how I, Jessica Martin is managing pain naturally.  I  believed with my whole heart and soul that chronic pain had robbed me of everything I had ever wanted, desired or dreamed of.  I lived in pain and fear every second of every day.  The fear/anxiety made the pain worse and the pain made the fear/anxiety worse.  Ten plus years living in a never ending circle of pain and fear/fear and pain.  Turns out all the things I was fearing never happening because of chronic pain happened and all the things I feared of happening due to chronic pain never happened.  Do I have the life I would have had I never fallen off of my bike and chronic pain? No.  However, I have learned that fear of the unknown was just a story I made up in my head that caused me more emotional/physical pain that was truly unneeded.  Although, my life with chronic pain has taught me that fear is nothing but a story we tell ourselves, I still live in a lot of fear and that fear does have an impact on my pain levels.

I do not fear the things I used to fear when I was living in my darkest hours of chronic pain.  However, I am still a very worry filled person.  I spent most of my life being afraid and now I have to re-parent/re-teach my inner self to not be afraid for everything does work out.  I am not afraid of the little things in life that some may be afraid of.  I look forward to sky diving one day and I love roller coasters and haunted houses.  Those things do not scare me in the least, they excite me.  However, the big things in life scare me.  I still am afraid of the things I dream of happening not happening and the things I am afraid of happening coming to fruition.  Has my journey with chronic pain taught me nothing??  Everything I have ever feared not happening has happened just not  how I envisioned those certain life blessings to happen.    I know I need to let go and trust the process of life while working towards what I do what and I must stop living in a state of fear.  From childhood to adolescence to early adulthood up until my thirties I have had fear in my life and I did not know better and do not fault myself for those fears.  I do know better now.  However, to be fair to myself I am in the process of re -wiring a fear based mind into a peaceful, calm mind.   I can read and write as many quotes as I want to and I can logically know that fear is just a story I am telling myself but I am human and changing the way your mind works is a process.  Hell, it took me years to re-wire my brain from constantly focusing on pain.

This post is meant to thank the people who take time out of their day to remind me of what I am writing and remind me of my own personal story.  You are kind and generous enough to applaud me in how I have overcome so much and tell me what  an inspiration I am  to those who are living in fear due to chronic pain.  All of you are my teachers as well and I cannot thank you enough for your feedback and helping me in my own personal journey without even realizing what an impact you make in my life.  Thank you.

Standard
abandonment, Angels, Anger, Anxiety, Brain Surgery, Buddha, Caregiver Stress and Chronic Pain, Change, Christmas with Chronic Pain, chronicpain, Depression, dreams, Empathy, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Fear of Abandonment, Griveving Process, Happiness, Infertility, inner child, Intuition, Law of Attraction, Let go, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, Manifesting What you Want, meditation for chronic pain, mindfulness, Miracles, Non Resistance, Peace, perfectionism, Positive Energy, Rumi, spoon theory, Suicide, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe, Worrying, yoga, Your Soul

A New Year: Be Present

“Healing comes from gathering wisdom from past actions and letting go of the pain that the education taught you.”

Carolyn Myss

I have heard from multitudes of people that the year 2016 has been if not difficult, disastrous.  As I heal and enter into my next phase of working to bring another angel into this world, I realize that for me the year 2016 has come with many ups and many downs.  I have had some of the greatest moments in my life and honestly some of my worst.  I am truly trying to find the lessons that both the difficult times and amazing times have taught me.  With that said, I am going to share with you my New Year’s Resolutions.  I will also write down my very personal News Years resolutions that I do not want to share with the entire world, yes there are some things I do keep to myself and my close friends and loved ones.   However, I do want to share some of  my resolutions for all my readers to read in the hopes that some of you can relate to certain changes.  I know it is not yet Christmas but I feel that we can and should write down and think about resolutions many more times than just on a drunk filled holiday we call New Years.  So, here is what I have been thinking about regarding change, lessons, and things I would like to work on today and tomorrow and for my upcoming year as well.

  1. I am what one would call an over thinker, a worry wart, and a person who logically knows things work out but find it very difficult to turn my brain to belief instead of worry.  I do not know what came first: anxiety or chronic pain.  I believe I have had anxiety since I was a very small person and following my bike accident and subsequent chronic pain this anxiety only intensified.  Anxiety and chronic pain can become a vicious cycle.  Anxiety increases pain and pain increases anxiety.  I am going to truly work on changing my thoughts.  Once I begin thinking something that worries to me to no end such as the troubles we have faced having another child, I go into catastrophic mode and start thinking months, years into the future wondering what will happen, when it will happen, how it will happen, and then the what if’s come in which are much more daunting than the what’s.  What if’s are two words that I am cognitively going to start deleting from my conscious mind and my vocabulary.  I need to keep remembering and plan to write this down where I can see it every day this: “Everything I have ever dreamed of happening but have been caught in fear that it will not happen always ends up happening just not how I planned.”  I am going to practice following my dreams but not forcing my dreams.  I need to allow things to come into my life with open arms instead of worrying that my dreams will not come to fruition.  Like the saying goes: worrying is like paying interest on a debt you will probably never owe.
  2. Comparison is so called the thief of joy and I find myself comparing myself and my life with other’s which is not only illogical but causes me sadness.  As far as I have come in my journey with chronic pain, I still find myself almost annoyed when I see someone in acute pain (pain that will only lasts hours or at most days.)  People with chronic pain would be thrilled to have acute pain however, my reality is chronic pain and comparing myself to other people’s lives steals my inner peace and joy.  I should be applauding myself for how far I have come and what I great life I have despite my invisible illness.  There are many other things I find myself wishing I had instead of being grateful for what I have in this space and time.  Social media has a huge influence on societies personal views on their own lives.  As people look on sites such as Facebook and Instagram they only see the happy moments in a person’s life.  No one posts pictures of the hard times and the sad/difficult moments in their daily lives only the great ones, myself included.  We need to remember this if we are on social media sites.  Many of us would be better off taking time away from the internet if it is bringing sadness and/or distraught feelings.  If something does not make you happy, do not look at it.  We all need to stop comparing our lives to other’s lives whom we think have it all because I promise you if you lived in their shoes for a week you would probably miss your own life a lot.
  3. I have started practicing yoga more and have lessened the amount of cardio I do for both chronic pain and anxiety.  For about two weeks now I have practiced a solid hour yoga session each morning and see how much yoga truly touches body, mind, and spirit.  It is not only the poses and exercises I love, it is the words coming from the instructors voice.  I learn a lot of lessons both consciously and sub-consciously as I move through each pose. I love exercise as a result of chronic pain.  It truly helps me a ton and I love cardio more than any other form of exercise.  However, I am trying to work on my inner self more than my outer self.  I never imagined yoga would teach me so much.  I truly believe our school systems should incorporate some sort of yoga into our student’s daily life.
  4. I need to chill out.  I become so consumed with fear of the future and thoughts from my past that I forget to live in the present moment.  I used to tell my patients: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift and that is why it is called the present.” It is so easy to say aloud or even write down: live more presently but it is one of the most difficult things to do.  For example, when you are taking a shower in the morning are you thinking about how great your hair smells in the wraths of shampoo or are you thinking about what you have to do next?  We are rarely fully present and we miss out on so much of life’s blessings and joys because we are always thinking forward.  I have found that if I focus on my breath and calm myself down when I start getting anxious about the future (even if the future thought is ten minutes ahead of me) I can bring myself back to the present time.  My dad asked me for Christmas what I wanted and the one thing that stuck out was a very awesome day planner.  Right now I have like four different ones I use instead of just one go to planner.  I find that if I write down exactly what needs to be done each day I can let go of the thoughts of the future because they are already written down.
  5. Finally I need to tap into my faith.  I need to surrender my dreams to the Universe and allow what is going to come into my life to come without worry or grief.  I need to believe, surrender, and let go.  What if we spend all this time worrying and planning our future when the Universe already has it mapped out for us?  If that is the case then we are all carrying around fifty pound weights for no reason.  I plan to truly take one day at a time and some days will be difficult and some days will be amazing but there is some joy in every day.  One of the last presents I gave my Grandmother before she passed was a magnet that says: “We do not remember days, we remember moments.”  I think in this coming year we all need to cultivate more faith into our lives and let go and be lead towards our divine plan.

 

Standard
Angels, Christmas with Chronic Pain, chronicpain, Depression, Exercise and Chronic Pain, Griveving Process, Happiness, inner child, Law of Attraction, Loss, Managing Pain Naturally, mindfulness, Positive Energy, self love, simplify life, Suicide and chronic pain, Support for Chronic Pain, Teenagers and Chronic Pain, teens with chronic pain, The Universe, Worrying

12 Gift Ideas to Give to Someone with Chronic Pain

6143ee94a71a4bb98552507290b4a6a8

The holidays can be a very exciting, magical, happy time for many people while for others it is very stressful, depressing, and exhausting.  I remember during my darkest hours of chronic pain dreading my favorite holiday in the world: Christmas.  I have always adored the magic of Christmas: the lights, shopping for my loved ones, Christmas cards, Christmas carols, decorating with my family, Santa, and just feeling that sense of joy as the world went from brown leaves falling to the ground to streets filled with lights and stores windows stocked with festive trinkets.  Once chronic pain began to control my life I despised Christmas.  Everyone was so happy and I was miserable.  I was asked more questions than usual about why I was so sad and isolated.   People had always known me as the enthusiastic, vibrant girl who brought Christmas everywhere she went.  That girl was gone for many years and I thank my father who always believed in me, the Mayo Clinic for teaching me how to live with chronic pain naturally, and I thank myself for doing the hardest work of my life in my management with chronic pain to once again love this time of year more than I ever have.

I was recently asked what a person with chronic pain would want as a gift for Christmas.  The easy, most logical answer would be: a cure to chronic pain.  I wished for that for fifteen years but I am at a different place with chronic pain than I once was and can now answer that question.  I manage pain naturally and if I was still suffering as I once was with this invisible illness I know what I would want to receive as a Christmas present from my loved ones.  Here are the top twelve things that stand out more than anything when I think of Christmas and chronic pain.

  1. A hand written card that speaks from your heart to your loved one with chronic pain.  A letter expressing love and support without any pity.  Words that express how strong you believe your loved one to be and that although you are unable to understand what your loved one faces on a daily basis you are always there to support he or she in anyway they need.  People with chronic pain isolate themselves and feel beyond misunderstood especially from the people they love most.  They feel unworthy of love and need to be reminded that they are not their invisible illness and reminded of just how loved they are.  Most importantly they need to know you believe them; although you cannot see their illness you know it is there.  Words are powerful and will stick with your loved one far longer than any object can.

2.  A CD on yoga nidra.  People with chronic pain find it very difficult to sleep.  Many spent most of their days exhausted, excited just to get into bed and fall asleep and yet once their head hits the pillow they are unable to sleep.  Yoga Nidra is the meditative heart of yoga and is one of the most fantastic, helpful tools I have found to help me manage chronic pain.  It takes a tiny bit of ‘practice’ however all one needs is a CD player or an MP3 player, a pillow and blanket and he or she is set.  A half hour to an hour of Yoga Nidra is equivalent to about three to four hours of sleep.  It took me who is one of the most anxious persons you could meet about three times before I did fall into a deep meditative trance and awoke feeling like a new person.  You can find Yoga Nidra on http://www.amazon.com or any online site that sells music, books, and/or yoga DVDs.

3.  Essential oils such as Lavender, Eucalyptus, or Peppermint.  Essential oils mixed with Epson Salts create the most relaxing bath one could imagine.  There are times I will take a bath with Lavender and Epson Salts and just practice deep belly breathing.  I may listen to a meditation CD or just lay there concentrating on the scents and the feeling of my breathing.  Twenty minutes in a bath with oils is beneficial to anyone!

4. A gift certificate for a pedicure.  Pedicures are not only relaxing but very healing and grounding as well.  I love getting pedicures because it gives me a solid hour to just sit in a nice, light massage chair (which one does not have to use) and allow myself to be pampered.  I always bring a book as I do not like to talk during my one hour of relaxation.

5.  Candles!  I am a huge fan of candles and love practicing yoga in the morning surrounded by candles.  They are not only healing but they smell delicious.  One of the first things I do in the morning before I exercise is light the candles I have on our living room mantle.  Right now the candles are the smells of Christmas and one of my personal favorite smells is the smell of a Christmas tree so it is obvious to those who know me why my current candles are green.

6.  An adult coloring book along with a box of colored pencils.  Whoever came up with adult coloring books is brilliant!  My dad gave me my first adult coloring book along with a beautiful tin filled with colored pencils and I love it!  Who knew that coloring could be so therapeutic and healing.  I should have known I would enjoy coloring the beautiful pictures as I love coloring with my toddler.  However, coloring scenes of gardens, oceans, and designs is a little more up my alley than coloring pictures of Mickey Mouse.

7.  Pending on your loved one’s degree of pain and where he or she is in their journey with chronic pain a great gift could be either a yoga DVD or a gift certificate to a yoga class. Anyone can do yoga and I mean that.  There are multitudes of various types of yoga from chair yoga to power yoga to yoga for chronic pain.  If it was fifteen years ago and I was given this gift I probably would have cried because my mind truly believed I was unable to do any movement but now I love yoga and see that it is beneficial to everyone: chronic pain or no chronic pain.

8.  A journal that speaks to you about your loved one.  I clearly love writing and keep a journal however I find it easier to write in a journal when it is in my eyes beautiful.  Writing is an amazing outlet for anyone but especially those with chronic pain.  One can write down their deepest worries and their personal truth.  I find it very helpful to write down my worries before I go to sleep and leave them aside for another time.

9. A day planner.  It may sound ridiculous but just because someone has chronic pain does not mean he or she does not have a life.  Many people with chronic pain/anxiety often have a mind that never stops racing. I live for my day planner.  I write a to do list every night before I go to sleep and love the feeling of crossing something off the following day once my errand or what have you has been accomplished.  I exercise every morning but I still write it down on my to do list at night because it helps me to feel extra motivated and structured.

10.  Stationary: ok, obviously one can tell by now I really like writing!  There are many people who have chronic pain who do not know how to verbalize how they are feeling or their love for you.  Often times writing letters on pretty stationary helps a person with an invisible illness feel more human so to speak.  He or she wants you to know how much they love you but are often times in too much pain: body/mind and spirit to verbalize their feelings.  Who doesn’t enjoy receiving a letter in the mail instead of a bill?

11. As I come to the end of my list I remind myself that you know your loved one much better than I do!  I may know chronic pain better but you know what your loved one enjoys: books, music, funny movies?  Please remember that we as people with chronic pain do not want to be defined by our invisible illness.  Sometimes the greatest gift can be your loved one’s favorite movie.  Comedies are great because there are times where the saying: laughter is the best medicine is extremely true.  I use distractions constantly in my journey with chronic pain and I find that my hobbies help train my brain to not think about pain.

12. The title of my website is http://www.noonegetsflowersforchronicpain.com.  Therefore, get your loved one some flowers!  One of my favorite movies is entitled: “The Breakup” with Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughn.  In the beginning of the movie they start arguing over who is going to wash the dishes after a family dinner.  Vince Vaughn sits down to watch the game that is on television and Anniston cannot believe that she is expected to wash the dishes after preparing the entire meal and cleaning prior to having their family over.  Anniston says to Vince Vaughn: “Gary I want you to WANT to wash the dishes!”  In turn Vince Vaughn (Gary) replies: “Why would I want to wash the dishes?!”  The argument escalates and Anniston ends up saying: “Ya know wouldn’t it be nice if you thought one day: ‘hey maybe I should buy my girlfriend some flowers.'”  Vaughn replies: “You told me on our very first date that you do not like flowers.”  Anniston then says with conviction: “Every girl likes flowers Gary!”  Everybody deserves flowers on occasion Christmas or no Christmas, chronic pain or no chronic pain.

Standard