Originally posted on Pain Ninja on Oct 9, 2012.
A few months ago, I was doing amazingly well for being chronically ill and having chronic pain. I had stopped all opioids and my pain levels had become more manageable by using natural methods such as EFT, meditation, breathing exercises, etc. In fact, most days I had little or no pain. Woohoo!
And, then I got cocky! Oh man, did I get cocky. Despite being cautioned by my husband, therapist, health coach and doctor, I ran headlong into life acting like I had the healthy body of a teenager. After all, I had pretty much conquered pain. Surely this meant that I was basically well. Ha!
I don’t remember the order, but all of the following contributed to…One. Big. Fall. I tried to stop a medication I had been on for years, I began my pain coaching business and was working with clients, we decided to make some big changes in the large support group that I co-lead. After not really driving for over a year, I tried to drive into Portland for a doctor’s appointment. I tried a new kind of massage that (initially) sent me back into screaming pain. And, I was working pretty much seven days a week.
CRASH!!! **cue sound of squealing brakes and grinding metal like two trains colliding**
Yep, you probably saw that one coming, didn’t you?
Stopping the medication didn’t work and I had to resume taking it. I love pain coaching, but it was taking a lot out of me to be on the phone so much. The driving experiment was an epic fail. It took me an entire week to recover.
My poor body was jerked all over the place with stress, medication changes, and lots and lots of overdoing.
I stopped thriving. Through all of this, I lost my joy.
Depression began to set in and I felt powerless to stop it. That is until I realized that the problem was how I was just pushing myself to get through the days and not having any fun or down time.
I even took a week off and had all kinds of plans for creative projects. I didn’t do them. I was just flat too exhausted and too depressed. I ended the week off wanting another week off. I felt like I was back at my job in corporate America working too many hours and not loving it.
I badly needed to find some joy. Joy alone is a powerful pain reliever and immune booster. My body and psyche deserved to experience joy. We all deserve to experience joy.
What about you? Are you feeling joy daily? Are you taking care of yourself and not pushing beyond your limits?
It isn’t easy, is it? So many times we try to shoehorn our bodies into acting like they are not chronically ill. This can only end in disaster.
I heard this quote on Kris Carr’s “Crazy, Sexy Cancer” movie:
“We accept our ailment as an assignment; an occasion to go deeper into ourselves to heal our bodies, feelings and lives.”
What a novel way to look at chronic illness. It made me wonder what it would be like to honor my illness. To treat it, not as an unwelcome guest, but as one of my greatest teachers.
Could my illness lead me into joy if I stopped fighting and pushing against it?
I have decided to experiment. I am dropping the pushing and its resultant crashes. I am going to honor, love and appreciate everything about my body. EVERYTHING! That especially includes the illness and pain.
I am going to try to only work 2-3 days a week. I am going to reinstitute some of the things I love to do such as knitting, reading, painting, cooking and writing. I am going to find out what other lessons my illness has to teach me. Then, I will come back here and share what I discovered.