How I’ve learnt to live with chronic pain 63



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Six years ago I woke up every day with a smile on my face. Six years ago I would spring out of bed. Six years ago I could walk, run, cycle and swim happily. Six years ago I could go out with my friends for dinner and have a beautiful time. But right now, six years later, my life is very different.

I live with chronic pain. I had a spinal fusion that went wrong and every day I am in agony. I’ve spent the last six years investigating and trialling different types of pain relief. For so long I woke up each day wishing it would be the day I find something to put me out of my misery, but it never was.

Eventually I became fed up. I gave up looking for the solution and with that I gave up my will to live a full, happy and vibrant life. I was withdrawn, I stopped seeing my friends and family and blamed it on my pain. I stopped eating properly and because I couldn’t exercise I began to put on weight. My life had turned into a spiral of misery.

Until one day while on the phone to a friend, I complained that she never wanted to catch up or talk anymore. After two seconds of silence she very slowly said, “I have always considered you a best friend and I’m saying this because I think it needs to be said. Why would I want to spend time trying to help you improve your life, when you don’t even want it to improve?”

I hadn’t thought of things like that. The fact that I had given up made me a miserable person to be around. I didn’t experience delight at other people’s successes, instead I became narky and negative. I didn’t engage in meaningful discussion because I chose to dwell on the miserable parts of my life. I didn’t go out because I had deemed it too much effort and pain.

I had done this to myself. But that phone call, that single sentence changed my life. I realised that I hated who I had become. I had allowed myself to let go of my friends and happiness and that was the kind of person I had never wanted to be.

Two years later and I’ve learnt that the only way to live with chronic pain, is to find chronic happiness. For every bit of pain and unhappiness I experience, I have to find something bigger and better – I have to find something happier.

I took a step back from my life and realised that it isn’t that bad by counting my blessings. I could still drive – a blessing. I could change my diet – a blessing. I could do small amounts of low impact exercise twice a week – a blessing. I could still go out and enjoy the company of others – a blessing. I had beautiful friends and family who were there if I needed them – a blessing. I could do numerous activities from my own home – a blessing. I had a life that was so much better than so many other people’s.

I was taught the hard way that the only way to live with chronic pain is to find chronic happiness and replace the bad with good. I know that I’m blessed because it isn’t as debilitating as other people’s pain, but I hope that everyone can find a piece of happiness after reading it.

Do you suffer from chronic pain? How do you manage it? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

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  1. Well done – great choice. Wish you well.

    1 REPLY
    • I suffered from chronic pain after a car accident. I had my body re-aligned using Laser Accupuncture. I stopped taking heavy meds and improved out of sight! Life is for the living!

  2. One has to be very strong in mind and spirit to face and endure chronic pain. I suffer from severe pain in my feet, the soles of my feet. The pain is 24/7. It takes me ten minutes to put on shoes, and no massage, ointment, tablets can provide even temporary relief. Have undergone four operations by the best surgeons in Melbourne and it has not improved by 1%. As I live alone, I treat it as a secondary nuisance and carry on doing all chores. My only regret is that it has curbed my desire to travel, which I have done extensively visiting 130 countries. I blame the cobblestones of Europe that aggravated my pain as I trudged through every country from Russia to Gibraltar.

    6 REPLY
    • Sorry about your pain Percy,I do know someone who has a similar problem but its from a much needed back operation and has damaged nerves as a result, it’s permanent and slowly progressive, and is being prescribed nerve meds that help a lot.

    • I hesitate to ask such a simple thing, but do you wear orthotics? I was in similar pain many years ago before orthotics were fashionable, and no doctor has an answer. Had shock/ten therapy etc. But after wearing custom made orthotics for 1 week and standing correctly, pain in the soles of my feet and my back ws very much reduced.

    • My daughter has the same pain as you in her feet and hands she’s 28.
      She has Rheumotoid Arthritus.
      I’m asuming you have tried everything.
      But she was sent to an Orthopedic Specialist in Melb.
      He has helped her so much he is a specialist making orthotics.
      He makes the blades for the Para Olympic runners. He’s world famous for his work.
      Anyway he saw her for the first time and wouldn’t let her go home without orthotics. He personally made them on the spot so she could walk. Until her proper ones were ready.
      I think you might benefit from a visit too him.
      My daughter can’t walk without his orthotics

    • I also have feet pain and restless legs I’ve been taking magnesium tablets plus magnesium flakes in bath or just soaking my feet everyday and it has really help give it a try can’t hurt I also have had orthotic made

    • Percy I can sympathize with you, I have Arthritis in my feet, knees, hips and back, I can live with all of them but my feet are the most painful. I haven’t yet had surgery, and I’m trying hard to avoid it. It feels like every joint in my feet is inflamed and so painful, however I still enjoy my life and although I can’t do the things I used to, especially sequence dancing, I make the most of what I can do. I’m planning a cruise with some friends, so life can still be fun. Good Luck to you.

  3. You should all read Stephanie de Montalk’s
    “How does it Hurt”
    ISBN 978-0-86473-969-8
    Victoria University Press

  4. You should all read Stephanie de Montalk’s
    “How does it Hurt”
    ISBN 978-0-86473-969-8
    Victoria University Press

  5. Such an inspiring blog! I’m so glad that you discovered chronic happiness. You will inspire so many others.

  6. I am in pain every day I have fibromyalgia and post polio syndrome I am still a positive person because I refuse to become a victim. I have a good life yes it stops me sometimes but not always

    1 REPLY
    • Linda I also have fibro – 23 years of it + I have chronic vertigo on top of that. It gets me down but I push thru it as I have no choice – I feel your pain + all the other symptoms that go along eith fibro – its debilitating and sucks the life out of u – so u have to just put on a brave face – or as I call – my pretend face!

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