Skip to main content

Thinking about my thinking


One thing about chronic pain and chronic illness is that you have to keep on top of the thinking about it. Because it is an emotional experience. It is something we react to. It is not just a physical experience. This can be in the form of comorbid mental illness like depression and anxiety, but it can also just be in the form of beliefs and thinking that do not help us at all.

Here is an article I wrote on chronic pain and cognitive therapy to give you a general idea of some of the things that we do.

Here is one I do often: "Overgeneralizing: Just because a situation went down badly once, does not mean it will always go down the same way. While this seems self-explanatory think of all the times you say 'this is always the case'. Sometimes we believe after trying many treatments that we never will find a treatment. Or if we are in a bad work situation we feel it must always be this way that we must suffer this way forever."

The fact is I am guilty of a lot of these and it is because chronic illness and chronic pain run us down and they are emotional experiences. The thing we have to remember is that we Have to keep on top of this. Negative self-talk and minimizing the positive are not good things to be doing for your mental and emotional well-being.

I have to remind myself constantly of this fact. You see, when I was younger and going to university as a freshmen I had some problem dealing with pain and being on my own for the first time in my life. The pain and the lack of a support system was difficult and I got depressed. What helped me immensely was a chapter in a book on depression and that chapter was all about cognitive therapy. Because it helped so very well in helping me cope with my chronic pain and I thought that was it. Done. Good job. But no, this is something we have to attend to constantly.

You have to learn to pay attention to these thoughts. Then think about them. What is wrong with that though? Well it is negative. Or generalized. Or whatever. Then think of a more reasonable thought to replace it.

'I will never get treatment that works'     or  
'I have to try because there are many treatments to  try and one might be for me.'

'My pain will never end' or
'I will have pain but maybe I can reduce my suffering, cope better and have more quality of life.'


You can even practice this. You can have a journal where you write down the thoughts that occur to you and then write the more realistic version.

The point is we need to counter them in our minds. Actively say the other phrase to counter the other thought. The brain learns and is like a broken record it will keep playing the tune it was taught. To teach it a new tune you have to beat it into it.

I must say when I am stressed out in life these sorts of thoughts plague me more. It is hard enough to manage them just due to illness but stress and illness do not play well together. It is just an added element that makes everything that much harder to deal with.

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Signs the pain is getting the best of you

100 Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

There was a site that had this and I had linked to it on Tumblr but it is gone. So I had to hunt down someone who found my post and posted the whole thing in a forum. Anyway it is around but I'm posting it here so I will not have to hunt it down to reference it. Now we all know the major symptoms are the wide-spread pain, but our pain isn't just muscle pain... it can be nerve types of pain as well, and the fatigue and the insomnia. And even among symptoms there are some far more frequent than others, but it should be said we have categories... like the cognitive dysfunction, which is a broad one that has more than one symptom and we often just say fibrofog. The insomnia... more than one sleeping disorder. So the list is interesting.




GENERAL
__ Fatigue, made worse by physical exertion or stress
__ Activity level decreased to less than 50% of pre-illness activity level
__ Recurrent flu-like illness
__ Sore throat
__ Hoarseness
__ Tender or swollen lymph nodes (glands), especiall…

When I say I am good

When people ask me how I am feeling 99% of the time I am lying. I often say 'not bad', because I feel it is slightly more honest than 'good' or 'fine'. Got sick of fine. Anyway, I lie for many reasons. 



I'm having a good pain day: They happen and I'll say that I'm good, fine, not bad. I even feel like I can accomplish great things... in moderation. In which case, relatively speaking, for Me I am not actually lying. This is a Good pain day, it is Not Bad for me and I am Fine with it. I just don't want to explain: I just don't want to explain how crappy I feel and in which way I mean. Because I am tired of it. I just want to deal with it, without having to discuss it, mention it or have any sympathy expressed about it. Because it can be complicated. It may be a migraine with specific symptoms. Maybe it is a FM flare though. Or both. And then I have to explain what it is because most people think my migraines are the main issue but I could be FM…