How Do You Cope With Chronic Pain?

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Today I’m thinking about chronic pain and I was looking for some ways to cope with daily severe pain and I found the suggestions below on the American Psychological Association website.  I had a read and think that some of the ideas are very valid and would help with certain kinds of pain but it’s not really that helpful to me.  Scleritis is a type of all consuming, agonizing pain that just takes your breath away.

For example when I feel like someone is grinding broken glass into my eye with the heel of their boot it’s not really helpful to me to be thinking about taking up a hobby or telling myself that I am uncomfortable but working towards making a way to deal with it.  In that moment when I am in agony nothing helps, I just want to curl up into a ball, take some endone and forget about everything.  I can’t think when I am in that much pain, I can barely breathe let alone think about positive stuff.

One thing I would like which is suggested here would be to find a support group or forum.  Scleritis is pretty uncommon so there’s not really anything out there that I have found so far.  Found some old threads but nothing up to date.  I think it would help to speak to other people with the same illness and see how they cope with it.  I will keep searching and maybe start up a new thread and see what happens.

I have realised that there is a very big possibility that this could go on for years so I need to arm myself with as much information as I can get as if I have to deal with this hideous pain day in day out for years my mental health will suffer.  I need to find effective ways to cope fast.

For those interested the American Psychological Association offers the following tips on coping with chronic pain:

Manage your stress. Emotional and physical pain are closely related, and persistent pain can lead to increased levels of stress. Learning how to deal with your stress in healthy ways can position you to cope more effectively with your chronic pain. Eating well, getting plenty of sleep and engaging in approved physical activity are all positive ways for you to handle your stress and pain.

Talk to yourself constructively. Positive thinking is a powerful tool. By focusing on the improvements you are making (i.e., the pain is less today than yesterday or you feel better than you did a week ago) you can make a difference in your perceived comfort level. For example, instead of considering yourself powerless and thinking that you absolutely cannot deal with the pain, remind yourself that you are uncomfortable, but that you are working toward finding a healthy way to deal with it and living a productive and fulfilling life.

Become active and engaged. Distracting yourself from your pain by engaging in activities you enjoy will help you highlight the positive aspects of your life. Isolating yourself from others fosters a negative attitude and may increase your perception of your pain. Consider finding a hobby or a pastime that makes you feel good and helps you connect with family, friends or other people via your local community groups or the Internet.

Find support. Going through the daily struggle of your pain can be extremely trying, especially if you’re doing it alone. Reach out to other people who are in your same position and who can share and understand your highs and lows. Search the internet or your local community for support groups, which can reduce your burden by helping you understand that you’re not alone.

Consult a professional. If you continue to feel overwhelmed by chronic pain at a level that keeps you from performing your daily routine, you may want to talk with a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, who can help you handle the physical and psychological repercussions of your condition.

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