If you asked me a few years ago to think about some of the positives that I’ve learnt from living with chronic pain, I probably would have laughed at you. Like many people living in pain, I was once in a place where I was stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts, unable to look towards the future with a positive mindset. Time, self care and counselling have enabled me to cope better with my chronic pain, meaning I can view it in a better light though. Of course, I’m not saying that living with pain is an inherently positive experience, but I’ve certainly learnt a lot of helpful lessons from it.
One of the biggest things that I’ve learnt is to take life slower. Chronic pain can slow us down massively, and it can be frustrating, but I’ve actually found that I probably needed to learn to slow my pace a bit. It’s so easy to jump from one thing to another without catching your breath these days, but when you're forced to take breaks, you learn the importance of them.
Linked to that, I definitely appreciate the smaller things now. As a young adult living with chronic pain it’s very easy for me to look around at everyone else, having gone to university or bought a home, and to compare myself, but actually I’ve achieved a lot. I’m grateful for the smaller things in life, moments with loved ones and quiet evenings in. When I stopped focusing on the things I was missing, and put that energy into doing more of what I love, my mindset changed massively.
I’ve also learnt how to advocate for myself and prioritise my needs. When you live with chronic pain at some point I’m sure you’ll have come across people who don’t understand what you deal with, and so you often have to fight a little harder to access the resources you need. Thankfully that’s not a problem here at The Leva Clinic, but learning to advocate for yourself is so important. Alongside that, when you live with a long term health condition you have to start prioritising your own needs more. I’m not afraid anymore to say no to things that I know are going to leave me in more pain. I used to worry about what people would think about me if I put my needs first, but actually by doing so, I have more energy to give to the people I love.
There’s no doubt that living with chronic pain is challenging, but our own mindset can play a massive part in how we cope with our pain. Here at The Leva Clinic our dedicated team includes clinical psychologists, as well as physiotherapists, doctors and nurses, who can help you tackle your chronic pain.