Pain shrinks your world.
It follows you around, drags you down. At the end of the day it leaves you worn out and exhausted – even if you were barely able to get out of bed to begin with.
A bad day is just that, a bad day. But when pain becomes chronic? Going from day to day to day until it’s almost impossible to remember what it was like before the pain started?
Then pain takes on a whole new reality.
Even when you are well, pain seems to hold you back in the ever present case of what if . . . When the pain isn’t there there’s the idea that it will be again. It’s there. Lurking. You might as well still be in pain.
You monitor constantly. The constant awareness of pain – present or lurking – can become a habit – the most insidious part of any chronic condition. This is especially prevalent in recovery.
You start a new medication or treatment or your chronic condition simply improves by itself. You follow your rehab plan and get up and out and the pain recedes.
But you still seem to have nowhere to go. And that worry is there. What if it comes back and what if it gets worse?
This is another habit of pain, something that you have to deal with…and learn to overcome. The monitoring. The avoidance. The waiting for the flare.
The downward spiral that ends you back in bed.
You can stop it.
This may sound like something said over and over again but you need to get up and move forward. Just because it’s been said a lot, doesn’t mean it’s not true. You need to move forward. Because where you are now isn’t where you want to be.
You need to learn new habits to replace the old ones.
Forcing yourself to be up is so important. You need to learn how to be well even when you feel miserable, otherwise it will drag you down again.
Because the pain – or the fear of the pain – will drag you down even when you are feeling well. It may be hard, but you need to get moving even when you are sick. You need to get up. You need to walk. You need to eat, talk, take care of yourself, and most importantly make sure to feel happy and move forward.
You need every reminder you can get on this road to recovery to do just that – to recover and to accept that you are getting better to improve and become healthy. Or at least HAPPIER.
It might be a schedule, an app like 1Step2Life or even the occasional nagging support of a friend or a loved one. It’s important to build new habits. To make a change. To turn the habits of pain into a new one: the habits of being well.
One small step at a time.