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I came across this Link Up Party by Sheryl from A Chronic Voice on Twitter. Sheryl shares some amazing stories of her own, but is a great support for other bloggers and writers who have a chronic illness and/or chronic pain. I’ve decided to take part in this month’s Link Up Party, and use the prompts in the below image to help give more of an insight into my life with chronic pain.
Full details of the June Link Up Party and other posts are here. If you have a chronic illness or chronic pain why don’t you take part too?
I’m really excited about my blog at the moment. I’m getting up a few hours before my day job starts to do some blogging work, and I’m also working on it in the evenings. I absolutely love it – it’s a brilliant distraction from my chronic pain and from some other things going on in my life right now, and I’m so motivated and energised by it all. But I need to keep reminding myself that I can only do so much at a time, and not pressure myself to get everything done straight away. When I start to put pressure on myself or sign up to doing too much, then it will add unwanted anxiety and it won’t be fun anymore.
Some days I have so much energy that I keep ticking off the things on my to do list ( I love lists and the feeling of being organised, productive and getting things done). I don’t always see this as a bad thing, as I am grateful for feeling this way. People with chronic pain often suffer from fatigue and it can be hard even getting out of bed in the morning. I do suffer from fatigue as a result of my chronic pain, but I am learning to manage things better and pacing is a huge part of this. Overdoing it means I won’t have the energy or focus the next day, or my pain could be worse because if I’ve sat and struggled for too long the day before. Sometimes I have to just listen to my body and be sensible.
When something like chronic pain controls a huge part of your life, it can be challenging to accept and you can often feel defeated by the pain. This can have a huge impact on you mentally. I’m learning to see surrendering to my pain as a positive – an opportunity to do something else I enjoy and that is more important at that time, or just to be more mindful in that moment. For example, I could be working on my blog but sitting and using my laptop is too painful, so I have to lie down. I see this as an opportunity to cuddle my partner and watch TV, or go and read my Kindle in the bath, or get out in the fresh air and go for a walk. Surrendering feels very negative, but it can easily be turned into a positive if we change our mindset.
I’m one of those people who can always find something to improve on – my knowledge of something, my blog stats and figures, or my skills in something like cooking or writing. At the moment, as silly as it sounds, I am improving my listening skills. My brain has an annoying habit of wandering off or thinking about everything on my ‘to do list’ or what I can do next on my blog. I’ve always been the same, and watching TV programmes or films can be a struggle as I switch off, even for a few seconds, and have no idea what’s going on. I think I’m even worse now because of my chronic pain. My pain can easily be distracting, or I’ll get a sudden twinge and it takes away my concentration from listening to something or someone. When I’m anxious I’m even worse – one of the vicious circles of chronic pain and using my energy on the right things to be able to manage my pain, which you can about in my post Surprising symptoms of chronic pain: anxiety.
One of my personality types is a reflector; I generally like to have time to think things through before making decisions or agreeing to something. When I don’t have that time, I can easily say no to something or stay silent because I need time to prepare what I want to say. I’m learning more to just go with the flow of things – flowing, and not over-thinking, can take away the added stress of thinking too much. If I just do something, I don’t have time to over-think and worry about stuff, which means I can be more spontaneous, and I’m more likely to manage my pain better because the anxiety and stress isn’t there causing extra tension in my muscles. It’s easier said than done but I’m trying.