This post is a continuation of the post on Helpful Things to Combat Depression from Pain or Illness …… Again I have to explain I am not a medical doctor nor am I suggesting you change what your are told by any medical professional.
So, to continue on the with the post …. .
10. Talk honestly about your feelings and fears.
- Do not expect that the people around you know what you are thinking.
- If your family is not listening, then seek a counselor.
- Remove any thoughts about ‘being strong is not sharing your fears’.
11. Avoid negative mental activities. i.e.:
- Talking with people about topics that anger you but have nothing to do with your well-being.
- Listening to the daily news, if it causes you distress.
- Being active on social media.
- Blaming yourself.
12. Avoid judgmental people.
- Seek people who are not consumed with anger or negativity.
- Avoid those that try to ‘one up you’ on your illness.
- Avoid those that hint you are lazy or exaggerating your illness.
- Avoid those that blame you for their losses that your illness causes them.
13. Mourn your loss but find the good in that loss. Move on after you do your mental burial.
14. Learn to like your new normal. It is what you have, no trade-ins.
- You choose to make yourself miserable or happy.
15. List the things you can do, not those you can no longer do.
16. Remember others have been down your path.
- Remember each person has trials or things they need to cope with, this is yours. Do not get stuck on the “why me”.
17. Focus on someone else. See to their needs and be grateful they are in your life.
#10 Let’s look at talking honestly about your feelings and fears. Most chronic pain individuals, myself included, tend to try to relay an outside appearance of strength. It is hard for us to share our feelings and fears. Maybe we think if we share our fear, it will become a reality. But we have an obligation to keep our family, those we share a roof with, informed of our medical issues and the fears that those issues cause us. It is their responsibility to help us during this journey. Remember, they are just as scared as you. If you do not know how to talk with them, or about your illness, then try getting copies of medical information for them to read and learn. An uneducated family member can not provide comfort for your fears; nor can they provide empathy. The reality is that it is not being strong when you do not share, it is a weakness and an extension or addition to your fears.
Then with #11, we all have negative mental activities constantly running like reruns in our mind. I guess each of us has read numerous amounts of research that shows that our mental health will affect our physical health. We hear ‘laughter is the best medicine’. Therefore, if we are bombarding our health with negative environments we can then expect negative results. But that is not the only way we can reinforce negative-ness into our health. What we watch, listen to, even read can upset us even to the realm of depression. Depression then leads to pain. The catch phrase ‘unplug’ is so important to a chronic pain individual. Practice cutting some TV time, even if you play video games that are violent, then toss them. I could say that I have become addicted to doing puzzle type games on my tablet; I will play them until I hurt. I have had to start setting timers to make myself do something else. Yes, this 50-year-old acts like a teen glued to the game console. The games I play are not violent, but I do tense up when I am playing them. Tension leads to pain. Tension leads to being upset and getting angry because a certain level is giving me a hassle. Thus, the tension is a negative mental activity, i.e… the playing of games becomes a negative mental activity.
#12 We all have been around toxic and/or judgmental people. They are the people who take the life out of a room. I am here to tell you it is OK to not be around them. Yes, it is OK! If they are in your home, then pull your granny panties or long johns up and tackle the situation! Re-adjust your suspenders. Seek counseling to help you deal with them, and yes, demand they go with you after you get your confidence up. If you have that one family member that also has a bad back and they get on just by taking an aspirin, you do not have to invite them back into your home. Heck, even ask them what was on their MRI and can you read their report and diagnosis. If you have a spouse that is upset because you cannot do for them as you did before, this even includes being intimate, then they and you need counseling. They must go through grief just as you do.
#13 & 14 Learning to like your new normal is not pleasant but is a necessary step to managing pain. It goes hand in hand with the mourning of your old life. Every moment in life is a step toward your future. Our outlook on our future should always be positive and mostly realistic. If you are a mature adult just remember your high school years. Heck, each of us have a love-hate attitude toward those years. We wish them back, but we also do not want to go back to them. The way I have come to accept my new normal is to blog. I have come to realize that I was trying to control every aspect of my life and was taking the ‘fun’ out of living one day at a time. Now, I have come to think of ‘tomorrow’ as a surprise in what I will be able to do. It is a challenge to me, not a hindrance.
#15 Always keeping in mind what you are able to do and being grateful for those things gives yourself a positive boost. If you are spending energy feeling woeful for what you are not able to do, it keeps you in a negative mindset. This makes you tend to feel sorry for yourself. Also, by listing the things you can do helps the other family members know what chores they will be helping with. It also keeps them from asking if you did something or why it was not done. It even helps the family determine what types of extra fun stuff that you can participate in. This is what I did when I first had my surgery. I figured out really quick that I could not hand-wash the dishes that could not go into the dishwasher, so the chore of loading the dishwasher became mine. The hand-washes are the privilege of the husband. The laundry is mine except for getting the dirties downstairs and the clean upstairs. Vacuuming is a one room every other day or since my kids bought me a robot all I do is trap it in a room and shut the door. We replaced the living area with hard-wood to make using a dust mop easier. I have reexamined the things I can no longer do and have found that they were not that important in the whole scheme of life
The next two items, #16-17, is understanding that you are not alone. Yes, others are out there that are going to be tackling the same things you are. Yes, they have pain; yes, they have moments of depression. It may seem lonely at the beginning, but you are really not alone. Consider your family, yes some are toxic, but with honesty most will become your advocate if you only allow them the privilege to help. Find someone or something that is in need of company, protection, love; then adopt them as your ‘give to pay it forward’. There is nothing better to help keep our minds off our body then being concerned with someone or some thing else. By being a mentor or ‘buddy’, you are not thinking about yourself while you are with them; that is unless you allow yourself to be come a ‘pain drama queen’.