Are you a fan of podcasts? Would you rather listen to the 1step2life blog than read? We will be podcasting many of our essays. Follow us on Breaker, Google Podcast, Pocket Casts, RadioPublic, Spotify, and Anchor (RSS). We will be adding new content as it comes out and slowly recording our catalog.
Confession time I feel guilty. Why? Because there are times I feel I’m failing at my most important job: being a mom. My son hurts all the time – and I can’t protect him. He is having a hard time transitioning gracefully to adulthood. He struggled to make it through high school – it’s tough […]
It’s hard to believe that pain is ever good. But it is. A friend developed a condition where she was able to move her lower body, but couldn’t feel pain and had no sensation. The biggest danger she faced was injuring herself because her warning system – pain – didn’t work. Chronic pain, on the […]
Hydration is important for everyone. Folks with chronic pain get really tired of being asked if they’re drinking enough water. I know my son does. But how much you should drink is a more complicated question than it first appears. And important enough to think about before rolling your eyes when asked – one more […]
Many types of pain – including migraines, amplified regional pain syndrome, and fibromyalgia – are caused by a failure of the nervous system. A negative spiral Acute pain protects us from tissue damage – we pull back from flames because we feel pain. Unfortunately, this healthy system can backfire. Many chronic pain conditions are caused […]
Learning to breathe, meditate, or do biofeedback doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to cost money. It doesn’t require you to leave your house. It’s BREATHING and focusing. It’s what people did in cold medieval churches and in Tibetan monestaries. It’s what I learned to do – and got me through – labor! […]
Biofeedback is a set of techniques that allow you to exert conscious control over what are normally involuntary biological functions. For example, consciously slowing your breathing and heart rate are common forms of biofeedback. With more practice, you can learn to increase circulation in your hands and warm them up. You can become more conscious […]
I walked into my son’s room this morning – it was immediately obvious it was one of ‘those’ days. Light sensitivity. Migraine spike. Fog. You know the gig. So I asked my usual self-care questions: Did you take your rescues? Water? Salt? Magnesium oil? Daily meds? “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” No eye roll (thank […]
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Like many people over the last few years, I invested in weighted blankets for members of my family. I’d read they are particular good for improving sleep and reducing anxiety. Because I had always slept markedly better with heavy quilts, that made sense to me. I followed the guidelines for buying them: 5-10% of your […]
Why is Sleep So Important? Sleep is your body’s way of letting the brain rest. Getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night has a number of positive effects: improved concentration, metabolism, immune system functioning, reduced depression, and inflammation. Lack of sleep can block signals in the nociceptive pathways, which increases the perception of […]
Physics has gravity (it’s not just a good idea, it’s the law). Psychology has learning theory. The basic ideas behind learning theory are deceptively simple: If you are rewarded for something you will do it more often. If you are punished for something, you will do do it less often. If something bad is happening […]
Last year, I wrote an essay called What’s Working? A 5-Minute Exercise for a Better Life for Psychology Today. Although everything else seems to have changed since last year, the ideas in that essay have not. Today, I want to talk about using it to take a few steps forward that will make your next year better. […]
1step2life is built on cutting edge developmental and rehabilitation science. Research shows that when people live with chronic pain, continued bed rest and withdrawal from activities leads to a downward spiral. Inactivity leads to muscle breakdown, weakness, and increased pain. Withdrawal from daily activities leads to isolation, depression, and anxiety. Depressed mood increases pain leads […]
People who write love songs about walking in the rain don’t live in Ohio. In December. I do. I’m just going to say, cold rain is not my idea of romantic. Or comfortable. Miserable. It does come to mind when I think of the word ‘miserable’. I bring this up, because I was thinking about […]
We were very excited that Taneisha Cordell of News5 Cleveland, an ABC affiliated covered the development of 1step2life. Development of the app was inspired by my son, Sean’s, struggles with intractable persistent pain. He talks here about his struggles and how 1step2life has helped him feel empowered to take back his life. For their full […]
Some days are worse than others. That’s just how it works. You can wake up today feeling refreshed and inspired to put your best foot forward. You can do all of your recommended exercises, eat all the “right” foods, think all the “right” thoughts, and still have pain flare-ups throughout your day. We can never […]
When teens don’t believe parents or doctors have the right to set rules, they don’t follow them.
Nancy DarlingFirst published in Psychology Today: Thinking About Kids October 2014 Note: I wrote this years ago, when my son’s migraines first when chronic. Much has changed in our lives. Sending him to school with his pain remains one of the hardest things my husband and I – and certainly our son – has ever […]
I write a lot about organizing, because I have too much to do and very few spoons to spare. I also know that if I don’t write things down, they spin around in my head and keep me from sleeping. If we try to keep everything in our head without an organizational system, we keep […]
Pain Rehab: Building Strength To Push Back Pain People living with pain are most successful at taking back their lives when they take an active role in their recovery. (That’s one of the reasons that 1step2life focuses on emotions, activities, and functioning.) For most of us, there is no ‘magic jelly bean’ that will suddenly […]
I was excited beyond words to be asked to present the 1step2life app to the team at the Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Pain Rehabilitation program on Monday. These folks are my heroes. For all the pain and trauma that my son’s migraine disease has introduced into his life, we’ve been incredibly lucky to live close to […]
Why do I hurt all the time? Healthy pain is like a good guardian. It keeps you from hurting yourself and teaches you to stay safe. This type of pain is called ‘acute pain’. Unfortunately, sometimes the acute pain system becomes too sensitive and overprotective. When that happens, you perceive pain as if you were injured, […]
When we recognize ourselves in others we admire it allows us to imagine ourselves in a better future.
Platitudes can hurt people in pain just as much as illness.
Pain leads to depression. Depression leads to pain. The amygdala mediates it all.
Acceptance means holding both a painful now and a hopeful future in our minds· Death can be a harsh shock, as someone is ripped from us and is no longer present in our lives. It has a finality to it – that’s part of the shock and much of the pain. But it is real […]
Feeling pain is an essential function of the brain and nervous system. Healthy pain keeps you safe when you touch something hot. It tells you to stop when you’ve exercised and your heart and lungs aren’t providing your muscles with enough oxygen. It reminds you to move when you’ve been sitting too long. Chronic pain, […]
A mother’s despair This app began as a search for a tool. My son was in horrible pain – in bed, in the dark, barely holding on to school. When I looked at him, my first thought was always the same – How much pain is he in? Then I’d wonder if he’d taken his […]
The Daily Check In can help you prioritize what is important to you and build a healthier balance in your life.
Everyone’s pain is different and everyone is in a different place in their journey.
Focusing all your attention on one manageable area of sensation can drown out the sensation of pain.
How do you cope when things feel their worst? You can cry. Or laugh. Or curse.
Hydration is every doctor’s go to recommendation for anyone living with chronic pain. But it helps. Your cells can’t function properly without sufficient water. Not drinking enough causes pain all by itself that can’t be distinguished from pain due to illness. Plus – as I always tell my son – if you drink enough water, […]
Acute pain is protective. With chronic pain, the pain itself becomes the disease.
Faking being sick? I’m faking being well. And not that successfully.
Pain, stress, and emotional distress are in the mind, but express themselves in physical tension. You can feel it in that tight neck, those stiff shoulders, and in that clenched jaw and hands. Notice that your back teeth hurt just a little? Feel that twinge between your shoulders? Back ache just a bit? The relationship is […]
Four strategies to organize work and decrease anxiety.
It feels good to be recognized for being strong. Because overcoming obstacles is hard. Especially when many of those obstacles are not something that most people even see as an obstacle – like making it from your bed to the couch. Overcoming obstacles can reveal strength in us we never knew we had, shape us […]
1step2life started with my son’s experience with severe chronic migraine disease. It made no sense to log pain when the pain is always there. What he needed was something that helped him celebrate his victories – making it to school, getting the mail, turning down the pepperoni pizza and sticking to his low tyramine diet. […]
We’ve been feeling like that pilot attacking the Death Star in Star Wars.
Families need to work together towards a shared goal: helping children grew into healthy happy adolescents and adolescents make successful transitions to adulthood.
Concrete tips on moving a teen in pain out of bed and towards functioning.
I’ll be honest. I spend my life crazy stressed. I have a job that my husband describes as ‘flexible – you can work any 60 hours a week you like’. And then I have two more jobs – I am Editor in Chief of the Journal of Adolescence and I’m also starting this company. And […]
Doctor! Doctor! It hurts when I do this!
Well . . . don’t do this.
It’s so hard as a parent when you are desperately hoping your child will just make it to school and squeak through to graduation. And so hard to listen to even your dearest friends fret about things that you’d give your eye teeth to be worrying about. It’s just hard.
You know they mean well. You know they care. In fact, they’re trying to be sympathetic and make a connection. But when you tell them you have severe chronic migraines and they say ‘oh yeah, my sister-in-law gets migraines too’, and then ask if you if you’ve tried Excedrin Migraine . . . . No, […]
Many people living with chronic pain are sensitive to the environment. On the down side, there’s the pain. Allodynia is a condition where modest stimuli – like brushing your hair – triggers pain. It’s common in people who have migraine, regional pain syndrome, fibromyalgia, other conditions. I remember my son cringing from the sound of […]
The developers have been working hard to take our dream and turn it into an app that you can download from the AppStore or GooglePlay. We are getting so close! We are currently working through our fourth version of the app, making sure the user interface is as clear and easy to use as we […]
A few years ago, I wrote a piece in my Psychology Today blog for college students about how to talk to their professors about accommodations. Most professors (not all) honestly want to help. But the letters we get from the offices of disability service are usually vague and don’t tell us what students really need. […]