I attended a fabulous workshop at the weekend – details of which I will be sharing with you all soon, but on the build up to this event all my usual ‘fears’ around this topic rear their ugly head… can anyone else relate?
When managing a chronic pain condition one of the most unnerving things you can do is to book something into your diary.
“What if I wake up and it’s a really bad day?” “
What if the journey upsets my back?”
“What if I can’t sleep the night before with the pain and I’m a complete zombie?”
“What if I can’t sit in the seats provided?”
A few tricks I’ve learnt to help calm those fears and worries….
- Be open and honest with yourself about how you feel and how scared you are – when you push your feelings / fears away they come back at you with vengeance! Your mind is trying to tell you something, give it a chance to talk and listen intently, like you would if one of your friends or children came to tell you a worry.
- Don’t be cross and frustrated at yourself – I know we want life to be a ‘certain way’ and when that doesn’t pan out in reality it can be a bitter pill to swallow… but can you blame yourself for a physical or mental condition? For an accident? For a disease? I don’t believe you can, so have compassion for your own situation and for your struggles through that. Be kind and considerate to your own feelings.
- Make contact with the organiser – ask your questions that are worrying you. I always ask about seating arrangements and just say that I’ll need the flexibility to move about and stretch. I have only ever had a positive response to this and further offers of help, people want you to be there, relax and enjoy the event.
- Prepare! – in advance, get everything you’ll need gathered up before you head off, for me that includes;
- My meds
- Back support cushion
- A hot water bottle
- Ear seeds and a few needles so I can have a mini treatment on the way there or on the lunch break
- Relaxing essential oil blend ‘roll on remedies’ by Neals Yard Remedies… put this on your pulse points and breathe them in deeply.
- A flask of warm water or peppermint tea to soothe a nervous tummy
- I have a great bag that I know I can fit all these items into, and no one need know what you have in there or even why. You may not have to use all of them or any at all, but there’s security in knowing you have ‘tools’ at the ready if you do need them.
- Travelling arrangements that I’m comfortable with, e.g. the thought of having to face a bus journey to get me to a destination would terrify me after my accident! And I know for long journeys my back just wouldn’t be up to the driving and then sitting for any length of time… so I have a few people in my life that I feel safe with driving long distances and I call on them when needed.
- Have regular stops planned for a stretch so you’re not sat in the car for too long.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times when the plan goes out the window! After travelling to Dublin for my acupuncture training, one weekend a month for 3 years, I didn’t miss a weekend, even though some were incredibly painful and tough… but for my graduation my back took an extremely bad flare up and no matter how much I was willing myself on I just couldn’t get myself in any fit state to travel.
There are times when you have to accept that life isn’t going to go the direction you want it. But I feel very strongly that the key is to allow yourself to express the anger, the hurt, the frustration… kick, scream, cry, do what you have to do and then somehow comes to terms with it, accept that this has happened but you still have other opportunities ahead, you still have hope in there and surround yourself with people that you can cry with but who will also help you see that sparkle of hope too.