Counting Down to the New Year is a series of 12 posts in which I reflect on 2014 and prepare for 2015.
Moving forward, looking ahead, and remembering the good things that I am leaving behind. It has been a great first 6 months at Life in Slow Motion, and I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings. Take a look at the most popular posts from 2014 to get a taste of what Life in Slow Motion is all about.
10 – Staying Motivated in the Midst of Chronic Pain: Visual Tracking – “In these lowest of moments, I have needed practical tips and tricks to get me over the hump and back to a manageable and sane level of life. By far, my favorite practical trick for staying motivated is visual tracking. Tracking times of progression – and unfortunately times of regression – has been beneficial in so many ways. Seeing a visual representation of my progress over time gives me hope, keeps me going, and reminds me each day of the need to be wise and not overdo it.”
9 – When Pushing Through the Pain Doesn’t Work – “I have a love-hate relationship with pushing through my pain. Sometimes pushing through the pain ends in great results. Other times, it is disastrous. And the uncanny problem that I am trying to wrap my brain around is that there is no forewarning or way of knowing ahead of time which direction this deadly dance will swing.”
8 –The #1 Reason Your Healthy Friends Misunderstand Your Chronic Pain – “When honest and careful conversations end in misunderstanding and confusion, what is the underlying issue that we need to address? A few recent conversations have brought to light what I believe to be the main reason for this misunderstanding. The number one reason our healthy friends fail to understand our pain is because as we speak our stories of chronic pain, our friends are listening and responding based on their past experiences and memories of acute pain.”
7 – Anger Suppression and Chronic Pain: What to Know and What to Do – Anger could be increasing your chronic pain, but perhaps not in the way you are imagining. We can all see the danger of outbursts of anger. It pushes people away, causes conflict, and can leave you dealing with levels of stress that are no good for your physical health. But what about that anger that is kept simmering inside? You might be surprised to know that extensive research supports the claim that suppressing anger actually leads to increased pain levels in those who suffer from chronic pain.
6 – Chronic Pain is not Frustrating – “No, this is not frustrating. That is most definitely not the word I would use. You clearly did not get what I am experiencing despite my efforts to honestly describe the truth. Frustrating is most definitely not the word I would use for the event that has changed my whole life, knocked my world upside-down, and brought me to my knees in agony, devastation, and prayer.”
5 – Staying Busy When You Can’t Do Anything – “The truth is I feel like I can’t do anything, but what that really means is I can’t do what I used to. I can’t work in the same ways I have in the past, but I am still the same person who loves to work. I simply have to find new avenues, new hobbies, and new jobs. I have to redefine what “work” even means and focus on what I can do instead of what I can’t.”
4 – Am I Disabled – “Do I embrace the term, accept it, and move forward? Do I accept that I am at least temporarily and partially disabled, with the hope that I will crawl out of the bounds of the term and gain back my ability to engage in lost movements and activities? Or, do I adamantly resist being labeled disabled for now? After all, I can walk for up to 10 minutes, as long as I rest on ice immediately afterwards. I don’t need mobility devices to get around. As great as my limitations are, many others have it much worse.”
3 – 30 Things About My Invisible Illness – “The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: Realizing I don’t have control over how I feel physically. No matter how strictly I follow my doctor’s recommendations and no matter how carefully and regularly I exercise, eat healthy, control my stress, take my supplements etc…, I have no control over whether I will have a ‘good day’ or ‘bad day.’”
2 – My Chronic Pain in a Nutshell – “I am in pain. All the time I am in pain. When I smile and converse with you, I am in pain. When I go to work, I am in pain. At church, walking around the block, going out to eat, the pain never leaves. I expend vast resources pretending that this pain does not consume me.”
1 – On Telling Our Chronic Pain Stories – “Pain is desperate to be heard; it longs to be known by someone other than the one who experiences it. Describing pain and talking about illness are no easy tasks, requiring both the willingness and vulnerability of the speaker and the empathy and respect of the listener. And perhaps these two barriers are why pain-sufferers so often bear their burden in silence. Too often betrayed by those who listen, the speaker becomes silent, burrows inward, and begins to see isolation as a safe haven, and certainly a safer location than vulnerability.”