Guest Blog: The importance of mental entrapment in physical pain

Chronic pain is something I think we all deal with at some point in our lives. Whether this pain is physical or mental, times of hardship never come easy. I personally, have not yet experienced chronic pain, so I can only talk on behalf of others who are very close to my heart that have. I have only ever been a bystander, so can only speak from my point of view as to how I perceive, how best to deal with it, because I believe this is one of the most challenging aspects of chronic pain.

My boyfriend suffered with chronic back pain for over 2 years. At times it was so severe he couldn’t walk anymore. I would like to start off by saying that to experience pain at such a young age, where every day, you are watching your peers strive around you (both physically and mentally) is extremely challenging. I began to see him enter this vicious cycle of thoughts; first it was ‘why me?’ leading on to profound sadness and fatigue, leading on to denial where he thought everything was okay again and immediately going full out on all activity he could, finally leading to a day in more pain than he had been before. And this would restart on a weekly basis and suck away all his energy. He was a completely different person than I knew before during those couple of years, and it struck me to see how something so minimal (in my eyes, at the time) could cause such a huge mental impact on someone who I thought to be, so resilient and strong.

One thing that I tried to promote was progress. Even if it seemed minuscule or even inexistent. Getting up every day and staying in a positive mindset and focusing on the marginal improvements you are making to be in a state of less pain, or even painless. Whether this is taking a few more steps today than you did yesterday or being able to stand instead of sit to put your socks on, all of this is valuable progress.

There will always be times of good and bad in life which is why I am a firm believer of yin and yang. Overall, I think it is uttermost important that the pain never manages to capture your thoughts and feelings in a way that overruns every aspect of your life. It is about finding out how to overcome these negative feelings and find things to do that make the pain better. It is important not to become a victim of this vicious cycle which can lead to the downfall of motivation and happiness. And most important of all – appreciate the small blessings in life, every day is a new day to improve!