5 Challenges & 5 Small Victories. Make a list of the 5 most difficult parts of your health focus. Make another top 5 list for the little, good things (small victories) that keep you going
I’ll start off with a humour image I made…
Now down to the serious stuff. Naming difficult things, yeah, that is easy peasy. There are a lot of difficult things that come with chronic pain conditions for me. Things that I really struggle with.
- Work: I have not been able to consistently manage work for over a decade. It has been working, then going on a short term leave, then working, then leave. Then a long term leave. Finally the pain clinic said, hey, you simply are not capable of working full time, which frankly, I knew, my family knew and seemed pretty obvious but had to be bluntly pointed out it seems. But when I tried That, I could also not function that way either. Even though simpler job with less stress. So now trying for yet another leave of absence. It is a tiresome struggle I must say. And one that is necessary because one needs money to survive. It is stressful. It never seems to have a lasting solution. And I am so tired of it all.
- Suicidal ideation: I put this under depression but really it is due to pain levels. And suicidal ideation I am told is pretty common with chronic pain and only becomes a major concern when it becomes suicidal intent. Which it has for me in the past. So my risk factor for suicide is pretty high since I had two prior attempts.
- The pain: Yeah the pain itself is a difficult struggle I attempt to deal with in a multitude of ways.
- The fatigue: You know it is hard to manage anything when you have zip energy to do literally anything. To think or move. Like your body is made of led. And you must have gotten no sleep at all ever in your Life, because you feel tremendously exhausted. Frankly, the lack of actual sleep probably does play a role in this.
- The cognitive dysfunction: Thinking through the pain haze is problematic when you add in migraine cognitive issues and FM fibro fog. Clarity of thought not my thing.
The small victories. The gleams of sunshine.
- Depression treatment: Literally keeps me going. My medication for depression literally makes me less suicidal when I am in a lot of pain. I am still depressed, of course, but it is not the same, at all. It is saving my life I think. Whereas before I was on antidepressants for migraine treatment… and they made me suicidal. I have that side effect on them all. I kept saying, they mess with my mood. But finally the pain clinic reviewed my medications and said, yeah, you can never be on those and put me on a different sort of depression medication. And damn, it works so fine.
- Meditation: It doesn’t seem to work for pain for me. But it does something for me. It seems to quiet my brain, relaxes me and soothes me. As a constant worrier and over-thinker I sort of value this as a de-stresor for me.
- Hobbies: Hobbies are a pain distraction and self-care… they literally keep me going. I Need to focus on things that stop me from dwelling on the pain and fiction writing is that for me. It is part of my self-care on bad days. It is part of my rough mental health days to feel better. It is something I need for my well-being and I think we all really need things that boost our wellbeing.
- Support network: My support network are my peeps IRL like my mom and my spouse or those online like in groups I go to. Either way, they mean a great deal to me. They get me through life. If I have a problem they are there. My spouse is there to help me do things I cannot and encourage me to do things that are good for me. My mom always has my back and gives me rides to places I need to go, recommends vitamins and other things for me. We have to have our go to people that are there for us no matter what.
- Socialization: I am a hermit and an introvert. But there was a time when the pain was as bad as it is now that I was truly a hermit. I didn’t leave the house aside from work. I didn’t do anything else, because of the pain. And that isolation is not good mentally and worse, it made my spouse do the Same. So I promised myself due to my shrink at the times advice to start going out bit by bit to get some social time as a couple. And we have. Sometimes he goes alone, on bad pain days. Sometimes we leave early, if my pain spikes too much and I just cannot handle it. But we do socialize at least once a month. Sometimes twice. Which works for us.