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I try to stay positive on my blog and write about the good stuff about how I cope and share tips to hopefully help you cope with your chronic pain. But as you know, life with chronic pain isn’t all positive, and there are times when I struggle to do every day activities. I’ve been reflecting lately and thinking about the things I wish I could do but my chronic pain won’t let me.
There are many times when I don’t let my pain stop me doing things as I try to focus on balancing my wellbeing and my pain. I’m hardly ever pain-free, and if I stopped doing stuff because I was in pain, I’d go crazy, get extremely frustrated, and feel defeated by my situation and not be living the life I want to live. I’ve been lucky that I’ve learned to cope with my pain as best I can.
The 3 things below are everyday things that a lot of people take for granted. They’re not huge things by any means, and I could do them for very short periods of time before my pain kicks in or it becomes unbearably uncomfortable, but these are activities that I wish I could spend some quality time doing, so I don’t tend to do them at all.
Sit up and read in bed
I love reading, whether it’s a book or on my Kindle. It’s a huge part of my pain management and a brilliant distraction from my pain. I often have to lie down when I read, which is ok for so long, but soon makes me feel tired. This makes me read in short bursts which isn’t as good as spending a good quality amount of time getting in to my book, and benefitting from some proper me time.
When I go to bed, I lie down to read and within 10 minutes my eyes are closing. I’m also straining my neck forward, and although the Kindle means I can get comfier, it still isn’t great and I get fidgety and annoyed.
I would love to be able to go to bed and sit up and read for a good half hour before turning the light off and going to sleep. Reading at bedtime means I have no other distractions, I can relax and focus on my book, and it helps me switch off from my day.
Sit on a public bench
Sitting is my issue and what causes me most pain. I do a lot of walking to avoid sitting, but sometimes when I’m out on a walk I come across a public bench in an amazing location with an amazing view and I just want to sit on it, admire the view and take in the moment.
Public benches are either wooden or metal, and the thought of sitting on hard surfaces even makes me feel a bit funny. Occasionally I will just do it and sit on it, but it only lasts a few minutes, if that, and it often causes me additional pain in my neck and upper back because I am avoiding my sitting pain.
I’m still embarrassed to use my cushion in pubic – I worry about this so much more than coping with my pain, and worrying makes my pain worse – plus it’s far too bulky to carry around with me. If I was feeling brave I’d maybe take my cushion with me, but often I’m not and my anxiety takes over.
Go for a haircut in a salon
I dreamed of doing this before having my coccyx removed. I wrote a list of things I wanted to do if my surgery was successful and this was at the top of the list.
I obviously have my haircut regularly, but my friend comes round to my house to do it. Even though I use my cushion, the sitting up straight position makes it painful, so my friend literally cuts it and I wash and dry it myself.
I used to love going to the salon and having a proper massage hair wash, restyle, and blow-dry – it was like a pamper session for me, and I’d walk away looking and feeling good (well, to me anyway).
What does your chronic pain or chronic illness stop you from doing?
How does this make you feel?
If you need some advice on staying positive with chronic pain, then I highly recommend this post:
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