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Living with Chronic Pain: Can it Get Better?

“Nobody really understands what I’m going through”.

Chronic illness is something people can either see or they can’t see. Sometimes even the people we love just don’t seem to understand. They might even lose patience because our illness is “invisible”: IBS, diabetes, chronic pain, lupus. And while other chronic illnesses are more visible, all of them can be limiting.

Chronic illness is also an emotional experience. We feel sad and discouraged when people don’t “get it.” We feel lonely without support, anger at the unfairness, and even shame when we need to put ourselves first. We also celebrate with overwhelming joy when we hear the words, “YOU’RE IN REMISSION!”

The Reality
You are not your diagnosis. Believe me when I say: You may bend, but you will never break. In the trenches is where we fight, win, lose, laugh and cry. It’s also where we find out how strong we really are and what we need:
• We need support and to allow ourselves to experience it.
• We need to know we’re not alone.
• We may need reminding that our own bad habits can make our illness worse.

Support and its benefits are limited only to our imaginations. If you have chronic illness, I bet you’ve felt that support is hard to find. I’m here to remind you you’re not alone.

What to Do
Reach out – to me, a friend or family member, or just someone you feel comfortable with and trust. If the first person does not work out, find the next.
1. Find a therapist. I would love to work with you, to be someone you can talk to and feel comfortable with.
2. Find a support group. If you can’t leave home, there are a lot of online groups that are just as rewarding. If you are still unsure of who to reach out to, ask your doctor about referral recommendations.
3. Find yourself again. Never forget who you are, that unchanging core that is you. If you can’t remember your “self” pre-diagnosis, try new things! It’s never too late and nothing is ever too impractical. Turn your illness into a never-ending journey of discovery for the treasure that is you.

And remember: while chronic illness may have strained you – emotionally, physically, and mentally – it does not define you.

Reach out for the support you deserve today: 615.604.6853 or 615.504.2059

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