Coping with pain
Why am I writing about this now?
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,And then is heard no more. It is a taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and fury,Signifying nothing.Macbeth – William Shakespeare
So how do I achieve this?
The first thing is that I accept that my illness is part of my life. Acceptance does not mean that I dwell on it. It takes real effort to acknowledge the suffering and then to push it back into a background role. There are various tools that I have to help me achieve this.
The first is willpower. I have learned to focus on the positive. For example, this morning when the sun caused me pain, I closed my eyes, breathed, and concentrated on my breathing, and then felt gratitude for its warm touch on my face. I reduced the pain, a little, and then actively concentrated on the positive sensation. Gradually the pain was no longer my focus, and the heat was.
I also have physical aids. Recently I purchased new glasses that really help. Transitions™ for walking outside on a cloudy day, and Drivewear™ lenses for in the car, and when I will be somewhere with LED or UV lights. I also wear a hat with a visor to keep the sun and light from my eyes. Willpower is part of the solution, and practical tools complete the picture. It takes time to find these ways of helping yourself, and the rules continually change. Adapting to the changing environment is crucial. Sometimes this fight gets too much, and so I have to reboot myself and start again.
As I have MS and chronic pain the future is uncertain, and things will change. Will I be better or worse, I do not know. So, for now, I have to think about now. This moment. In this moment I have to extract as much joy as I can, be grateful for what I have that is good, and consign everything that is bad in a very secondary place. It is tough, and only someone with a chronic illness can understand what it is like. At least I know that I have found a way that works for me that helps when adversity shows its ugly head.
How do you live with your illness? What do you do when it starts to dominate your life? Let me know in the comments below.
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