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1step Comics First Person Self Care

Feel Overwhelmed By Socializing?

Two weeks post-vaccine, it’s been liberating getting out of the house. Even walks in the woods seems freer, less worried about folks strolling by mask-less and much too close. I am excited about chatting with folks at the dog park – still socially distanced and faces obscured. It felt ridiculously friendly to have a face-to-masked […]

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First Person Parenting

Quieting Your Inner Voices So You Can Hear Your Child’s Pain

Nothing is more distressing than listening to a baby cry. I’m not just saying that about me. There’s a lot of research on the topic. When we hear a child in distress all we want to do is make it stop. Their hurt makes us hurt. I don’t think that ends when they’ve grown. I […]

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First Person Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation Resources

We’re on Spotify!

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.

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Caring for People in Pain First Person Parenting Self Care

Can Stoicism Make You A Happier Parent?

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 […]

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Caring for People in Pain First Person Self Care

Assemble A Rescue Kit For Your Next Pain Spike

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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First Person Pain Rehabilitation Self Care Stress Reduction

Biofeedback: A Skill Not A Pill

Biofeedback is a skill, not a pill. Unlike medications, it is something that you need to practice between sessions and learn to make it effective. I’ve heard people only try it once or twice and then give up because they got a migraine anyways. It’s not something that works right away. You need to practice […]

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Caring for People in Pain First Person Self Care Stress Reduction

Get Help To Learn To Help Yourself

Friday, after an appointment with my psychiatrist at Emory, it occurred to me that this month marks 13 years of therapy and treatment. I would almost describe those 13 years as an “After” period, denoting a new phase in my life, because it has been so transformative. Before I finally reached out for help, I […]

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First Person Self Care

What is biofeedback?

Biofeedback is a technique used to train yourself to control your body’s functions. Examples being your breathing, heart rate and tempurature. It’s really great for handling chronic pain. With practice it can be used to help identify what is causing your pain and I’ve even been using it to help turn off migraines when I […]

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First Person Pain Rehabilitation Stress Reduction

Biofeedback: Another Tool in Your Kit

Chronic pain is something that can be treated in many ways. When I first got migraines, they were sudden and devastating. Within six months I went from perfectly healthy to migraines that lasted days to a week at a time. They were incredibly painful. I was unable to move and barely even able to go […]

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1step Comics Caring for People in Pain First Person Resources

Making Change Happen

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.  […]

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First Person

The Habits of Pain

It’s hard to find that balance between pushing too hard and giving up. But if you want things to change, laying down new habits is a start.

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First Person Pain Rehabilitation

Walking Dogs In The Rain

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 […]

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First Person Pain Rehabilitation Stress Reduction

Tiny Steps Towards Reducing Stress

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 […]

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Caring for People in Pain First Person Parenting

Kids Who Go To School In Pain

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 […]

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Caring for People in Pain First Person Stress Reduction

Being Organized Is Even More Important When You’ve Got No Energy To Spare

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 […]

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App Development First Person Pain Rehabilitation

Want To Hear The Science?

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 […]

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First Person

REPRESENTATION MATTERS

When we recognize ourselves in others we admire it allows us to imagine ourselves in a better future.

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1step Comics First Person

Don’t Tell Me Everything Happens “For A Reason”

Platitudes can hurt people in pain just as much as illness.

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Caring for People in Pain First Person Pain Rehabilitation Parenting

Pain, Ambiguous Loss, & Acceptance

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 […]

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Caring for People in Pain First Person Parenting

You Can Curse

How do you cope when things feel their worst? You can cry. Or laugh. Or curse.

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Caring for People in Pain First Person Parenting

A Life Changing Event

When do I get my old life back?

The answer is, you don’t. That’s why they call it a ‘life changing event.’

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1step Comics First Person

Are You Faking It?

Faking being sick? I’m faking being well. And not that successfully.

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1step Comics First Person Stress Reduction

Incomplete Acts, Everyday Anxiety, and Getting Things Done

Four strategies to organize work and decrease anxiety.

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1step Comics First Person

Thanks. I’d Rather Skip The Pain

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 […]

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About Us First Person

Taking Back Your Life

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. […]

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1step Comics Caring for People in Pain First Person Pain Rehabilitation Parenting

Getting Kids In Pain To School

Concrete tips on moving a teen in pain out of bed and towards functioning.

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First Person Stress Reduction

Control Your Focus

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 […]

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Caring for People in Pain First Person Parenting

New Edition Released of Parenting a Child in Chronic Pain

As a developmental psychologist who has studied parenting on four continents, I can tell you a lot about raising teenagers. But nothing prepared me for watching my son shaking under the covers flinching from the light, and unable to speak from pain.

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About Us First Person Pain Rehabilitation

A Lung Transplant Puts College In Perspective

Art and Text: Carlos Armstrong Warning: this post includes photographs of surgical incisions some people may find upsetting. To me, chronic pain is more than just a subject to research. It is something constantly present in my own life. On the lower end of my pain scale, I have been living with debilitating chronic migraines […]

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About Us App Development First Person Pain Rehabilitation

It’s not theory: Real voices from real people

1step2life’s core mission is to build an app that helps kids living with chronic pain get out of bed and into the world. There are many things that make this project special to me. One, in particular, is how many of the Oberlin students involved GOT involved because they suffer from pain themselves. When we […]

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About Us First Person Pain Physiology Pain Rehabilitation

Max Kramer models migraine spreading depression

Max Kramer worked with Oberlin Professor Emeritus Richard Salter and Dr. Nancy Darling to develop a computational model of the spreading neurological depression characteristic of the brain during a migraine. Compuational modeling is a way of using mathematical and logical modeling to simulate behavior in the real world. Max used Numerus software, developed at Oberlin […]

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About Us First Person Pain Rehabilitation

I Hate Pain

I’d like to say that I started this company because of my altruistic interest in helping the world. That would be a lie. I started this company because over six short months my son went from healthy to hiding under his covers, in the dark, wearing welding glasses. He would shudder with pain because his […]