Shar with readers about a time you had to overcome a daunting challenge. What words of encouragement would you share with others who find themselves facing similar difficulty?
I think I could quite honestly point to a few times in my life that have been rather challenging due to chronic pain and illness. However, other times where things were managed quite well.
So the challenge is when things are Not managed well at all. Then life’s regular stressors and obligations are there and you cannot meet them or handle them. My recent journey on this adventure is when my chronic migraines became daily, with the fibromyalgia, and trying to continue to work full time.
I could not do it. The pain had exceeded my coping strategies. So I tried to push through it… to get to the next years neuro appointment in hopes he would help. He did not. So I would much through it, in hopes something else would help. Nothing did. Pushing through it though just causes a lot of mental and emotional strain. And inevitably I would fail at the first status migraine every month I would miss work. So every month I was missing work. My employer was less than pleased, and yet declined all my compromises. My doctor was indifferent. I felt like there was nothing I could do, but suffer eternally and fail. This lasted for years. I struggled like this. Until I gave up and tried to kill myself.
After that I realized if anyone is going to change these things it is going to be me.
- Got rid of indifferent doctor and got new meticulous doctor.
- New doctor sent me to new neuro and to the pain clinics
- New neuro also said I needed pain management and sent me to his pain clinic.
- Pain clinic assessed my medications, changed them a bit. Had me on an exercise program. And in a program called pain 101.
- I started seeing a pain psychologist- to help with meditation and biofeedback and so forth.
When you are struggling at work because your pain is not managed. You need to assess your situation. Assess your doctor situation and if he is a doctor who works with you. You have to assess your work conditions to see what sort of accommodations they could allow for you. I know in the states they have something. In Canada we don’t. But ask about hours, flexibility options, telecommute options. Seeing a psychologist at this time is also a good idea. They can help pain patients in a lot of ways. And you could see if there is a pain clinic available that might work for you.
However, without accommodation of any sort from an employer I had to go on leave. And that might be the same for many people. It is never good to be gone for long periods of time. Your skills get rusty. But if necessarily, as you cannot function at work, and need to see specialist to assess you then it is a something that gives you the time to undergo treatment option.
Essentially I was stuck between an employer giving me ultimatums I could do nothing about unless I cured myself and a doctor who was really rather disinterested in my care…. when I was in the most pain of my entire life. As I said you do what you can to resolve it on the employer side of things but not all employers are made equal. Some will offer accommodations that will enable you to keep your employment while seeking treatment. Some have no idea what accommodation means. Once you decrease the stress on that side of things you see what is available for treatment from a neuro and a pain clinic. And if Canada, what a year to see them. Then start the treatment they offer.
My main challenge was that I wanted to work. I liked to work. It gave me purpose. But I was not functional enough to work full time. Just wasn’t. And I denied that for such a long time. Just kept pushing and pushing at it, like that would work. If you know your pain is not managed, take the steps to get it done. If that means going on a leave, or working part time or flexible time… then so be it. When pain isn’t being managed it is our Alarm. It tells us we need to change something in our coping strategies. Tells us we have to change how we are approaching the problem. Always listen to that.