An inspiring excerpt from Judy Foreman’s book A Nation in Pain…..
Not long ago, I spoke with a young Massachusetts man whose chronic headaches ultimately prompted him to join a pain support group, the first time in his life he had ever done such a thing. Upon joining the group, the leader asked what he hoped to get out of it. “Just one and a half hours a month where I don’t have to hide that I am in pain,” he told me.
That doesn’t seem like much. But to him and other people in severe, chronic pain, even just a few hours being with other people who understand chronic pain can help.
Ultimately, for people who live with chronic pain, the goal is to live life as fully as possible despite the pain. This means many things.
It means exercise. It means using opioids and other powerful drugs if you need them, and using them responsibly. It means getting whatever mental health support you need, not because emotions are causing your pain but because emotional distress is part of pain.
It probably means putting together your own program of healing – integrating the best of Western and complementary medicine. Some hospitals and pain clinics integrate all this for patients, but many do not, which means you may have to do it yourself. But think of it this way: If you find five things that each help a little bit, with luck you may make a significant dent in your pain.
Most profoundly, living fully despite chronic pain may mean acceptance: That chronic pain may be something you have to deal with every day. That you may never find the underlying reason for the pain, or the perfect cure. That you may have to make big adjustments in your life – doing what you still can and letting go of the rest.
That is not easy, obviously. But isn’t that, basically, what life is all about? A Nation in Pain Judy Foreman Oxford University Press 2014