17 Sep Living with Chronic Pain from an Emotional Perspective
We all receive messages from family, friends, teachers, peers and partners regarding expectations around our actions and things we say that meet with their approval. But what happens when life throws a curve ball and for legitimate reasons you cannot be the person you once were or what others expect you to be. Chronic pain can limit a person’s mobility, strength, and endurance. This may make it challenging to get through daily tasks and activities. Often this leaves the person with chronic pain feeling that they are not measuring up and creates emotions of guilt, frustration, and resentment. Each day living with chronic pain brings with it uncertainty about what the body may or may not be able to handle and may bring with it worry and fear, leaving a person feeling isolated from the daily lives of those around them.
Living with chronic pain can feel like a veil of darkness that doesn’t go away. The person wants the darkness to vanish, for someone or something to turn on the light so the darkness will dissipate. What is the answer? Unfortunately, there is no magical remedy or quick fix.
Pain is processed in the brain in the same area where our emotions are regulated. It is this connection between emotion and pain that can provide a pathway for people to gain influence over their chronic pain. The sensory parts of the brain are connected to what we feel emotionally. Chronic pain creates a dysregulation within the nervous system which in turn dysregulates our emotions and can provoke stress or unwanted feelings that have been pushed out of balance by life’s circumstances. It may be that you begin to feel desperate to change your situation. The desire to be well and enjoy life, the desire to experience some satisfaction in relationships and life, in general, is an important first step. Taking small steps each day to find out a bit more about yourself, contributes to life’s basic desire to improve our emotional well-being. Everything in life happens step by step until the doing becomes second nature.
To create change in life and broaden choice, attention must be connected to your automatic reactions. As we recognize conflicting and self-destructive behaviors, entering into clinical counselling can start the process to diminish defeating patterns of thought and behavior and begin to construct healthy responses to life. This is a gentle, safe way to learn how to improve your emotional health. You can now choose your mode of thought and perception which will influence the reality that you experience rather than seeing life as something to grapple with. By shifting your thoughts away from the pain pathways in the brain onto a different pathway, you can alter how the body responds to pain. This means that you can direct change consciously bringing a synthesis to your personal understanding for growth and expansion rather than limitation and deprivation. Rather than focusing on what’s wrong, the work is to shift the focus towards health. We want to work with your emotions that are creating patterns of response in your life that do not bring you the results that you desire. The well-being of emotions affects all other parts of self. Accomplishments come in life when our mind is allowed to grow, to try something different, to expand our mental boundary.
We have abundant capacities in ourselves and by becoming more self-aware we begin to see what is possible. Find out how else your experience of life and self can be expanded. To create the possibility of change increases the ability to discover what capacity hides beyond the pain. If you are living with chronic pain, there is a book that you might find helpful. It is called How To Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness by Toni Bernhard. This book is now available at our clinic.
If you would like to enter into clinical counselling, please call the clinic to book an appointment. There are two options available to start the process. I offer a free fifteen-minute consultation where you can come in to meet with me and ask questions. The other option is to begin right away by booking a sixty-minute appointment. The number to call is 250.881.1806.