“12 Ways to Cope with Chronic Pain and Depression”

I often assert, when the question of depression and chronic pain come up, that I am not depressed; that if my pain was to disappear tomorrow I would be happy and all would be good in the world again. Perhaps a year or two ago that might have been true (or perhaps not). But as time has gone on and the effects of chronic pain on my entire life, including my emotional wellbeing, has taken its toll, I am slowly considering that perhaps it’s no longer just chronic pain and the direct effects it has on my ability to live my life how I want that gets me down. Maybe, my psychological state has been actually altered as a result of pain and lack of movement, medication side effects, and huge drops in taking part in those things that have historically provided me with the chemicals and hormones that make us feel happy and content; that if my pain did go away tomorrow I may still need to work on my emotional health a bit longer.

Now, I am still not saying that I am depressed. That’s a hard thing to admit to. But, I will admit that my emotional health needs some TLC. Ploughing through pretending it’s all going to sort itself out someone is not an answer any more, and my emotional health has taken some battering. I do reach for ways to improve my mood and help me feel better about myself.  I will tentatively do things to try to help, then throw my toys out of the pram reminding myself this is all down to pain and if I sort that out, I won’t be depressed, so I need to work on getting better. 

I’ve just read a great blog from Arthritis Health, called “12 Ways to Cope with Chronic Pain and Depression”. I guess I like it because, whether I am, or am not depressed as a result of my chronic pain, whether I accept I am depressed or don’t accept it, it has helped to remind me that changing holistic aspects of my life for the better will only benefit me. It will benefit anyone else suffering from chronic pain who might, or might not be depressed as a result, or for other reasons. 

We need to take care of our emotional health, whether or not we suffer from chronic pain; more if we have chronic pain, as our psychological self has a continual pounding as well as our physical self. I am going to work a little more on addressing my mental health needs, so that if I am depressed, I can move out of that space. And if I am not depressed, it will till help me to build my feel-good vibes, which will in turn help me manage my chronic pain.

For those that don’t like hovering – here’s the link to the article:

http://www.arthritis-health.com/living-arthritis/managing-depression/12-ways-cope-chronic-pain-and-depression

Small Changes – An Inspired Blog

Inspired by The Naked Mum’s blog hop post, I am writing about the changes I will be making to my life this week. I have had to think about how to write about this, and that reminded me of the enormity of some of the changes I actually need to make, and want to make, to my life. But to make those big changes happen, there needs to be lots of smaller changes that need to be made first, to my life, to improve it, to make it a happier and more fulfilled life and one in which I have more control. Then the bigger changes will fall into place more easily. Although, I say that more with hope than conviction.

Rather than outlining my entire ambitions in a dialogue, I am going to make a list of 5 small changes that I will be making this week. And then who knows, maybe this will become a regular contribution! I really need to break my goals down into achievable steps, so thank you to The Naked Mum for reminding me to be realistic and to write it down!

This week, I will be working on improving my emotional health, feeling positive and better about myself:

Goal 1. finish the Disability Living Allowance form that I have been trying to complete for weeks. If I am lucky enough to be entitled to a little financial support, the amount of difference this will make to our lives is huge, especially if I stay off sick from work as my company sick pay (which I am so lucky to have) reduces to half pay in a few weeks.

Goal 2. start my reverse crunches properly, so that I can start to improve my core muscles and get over this last relapse properly. I need to be more motivated to exercise right now. 

Goal 3. To say something lovely to EVERY PERSON I have a conversation with each day for the whole week, whether I know them or not. I have been doing this already and it makes me feel really good about myself for some reason, as people smile and that makes me smile. I don’t smile enough so this needs to change.

Goal 4: Do something kind for a stranger. I have been fortunate to have a lot of strangers do some amazing things for me. Pay back time. I need to be kinder.

Goal 5. Get dressed every day. I have been slack and not got dressed every day if I don’t need to go out. This is not good for my mental wellbeing and I have even started to think of reasons to not go out, so I can stay in my jimjams. It hurts to get up and about, but I feel better for doing it.

I will report back on how I have done at the end of the week!

Back From a Blog Break

I needed some time out. I have had a really hard few weeks. In many ways, but not least due to a major relapse. And yes I know the whole point of my blog is to moan and whine (wine) about my back problems, but it has been so all encompassing I needed to step back from it a little. As it happened, I didn’t do that, but was thrown full force into my back problems swallowing me whole and eating the identity that was once Me.

But that must change. So this blog may take a new direction. I don’t know how, but, I cannot just be, as my daughter stated last week when I put some make-up on for the first time in a while, as I was so sick of being asked how I was, people commenting on how bad I look, how much weight I had lost etc etc, I wanted to be seen as someone who looked well again – that I was ‘wearing make-up to show that I have beauty and not just a bad back.

I have bought some new clothes (I really have lost a lot of weight – my new ‘butt-lift’ jeans have nothing to lift up, so just hangs there baggy), some new make-up (got some free with No.7 voucher and a little spend, just my colour, sparkly black eye shadow!), had a child-free day today. Rock and Roll me!