Living With Chronic Pain—The Personal Side

Throughout my life I have had spells of living with pain. Ankle pain, elbow pain, back pain and more. However, I would not classify myself as having chronic pain. If the definition of chronic pain is 3 months or more (as some doctors say) than perhaps I have experienced it. However, I have personally and professionally (my clients) known so many people with what I consider major conditions that I do not feel comfortable including myself in their “bracket of pain,” if that makes sense.

I have known people with cancer, Lupus, lung transplants, heart conditions, multiple sclerosis and more. I have witnessed personal friends and family members as well as clients live their lives with chronic conditions and do it well. What does living life well with chronic pain look like?

First, let me say what it does not look like. Living with chronic pain does not mean you cannot experience an array of emotions including anger, anxiety and depression. It does not mean you do not have bad days where you muscle through and think the pain won’t end. And it does not mean you go it alone and try to be strong without a support system to buoy you as you navigate your “new normal” in life.

Living well with chronic pain does mean this. You take one day at a time. You enlist the support of as many individuals as you need (doctors, therapists, support groups, massage therapists, physical therapists, etc.) to find strength to soldier on. You are honest about what you can and cannot do and you engage in as many activities as you are able to to boost your mood and distract you from the pain.

Some of the strongest people I have had the privilege to meet lived life to its fullest while managing chronic pain. And while I cannot be certain, I think the common thread that all of them shared is that they surrounded themselves with a positive support system and then chose each and every day to find whatever beauty they could harness in the people and experiences around them. In short, they looked for the positive and never gave up.

If you are living with chronic pain it is completely normal to feel angry, depressed or anxious. However, talking to an Orlando psychotherapist can help you learn to manage your feelings, engage in positive coping skills and engender resilience in both your mind and body. Contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today to speak with an experienced counselor at 407-443-8862 so that you can learn to “live well” during each life season.


Yolanda Brailey