Friday, February 21, 2014

Coping Mechanisms

When living with chronic pain, life can by tiring, frightening and frustrating.

A chronic pain patient has to learn ways of coping. It can become an emotional battleground, fighting against feelings of fear, anxiety, depression and even guilt. They have to find ways of relaxing and trying to clear their mind from the pain which can so easily take over their life. They have to find a way of keeping their identity so they do not become lost to their pain. Their pain must only be part of them - it cannot be allowed to take over.

The same applies for people living with someone else's chronic pain. Whether they are the patient's partner, parent, child or friend, their life can also be tiring, frightening and frustrating. In some ways, perhaps more so. They can get tired of watching the person they love struggle, frightened of the future, frightened of never seeing that person be free of pain. The frustration and guilt at times must be overwhelming, because they can do little, or sometimes nothing, to make that person's life easier.  It can be soul destroying for someone seeing a loved one in constant pain.

They also have to find ways of coping and relaxing so that they can also clear their mind of the pain. It is possibly even more important that they do this, so that they can continue to support the person they love.

Living with pain is certainly not easy....but living with someone else's pain is possibly even more difficult.

I have always been lucky. I think there is something in my genes which makes me just accept my pain for what it is, and cope with it as best I can. Maybe because I have grown up with pain, I simply don't know anything different, so I can just accept it more easily than some people who have had a normal life, then suddenly develop a chronic illness or condition. They then have a huge adjustment to make and have to learn to deal with that along with physical and emotional problems associated with their condition.

When I look at my life, I try not to focus on the negative parts. That would drag me down....and I can't let that happen. In fact, I think I try to take the negatives and turn them into something positive. Most of my blog posts are about my face pain, which is an extremely negative aspect of my life, so it could be said that I focus on that too much.....but my reason for focussing on that is to bring much needed awareness about Trigeminal Neuralgia. This helps myself as well as other people with the condition. That is my way of turning something very negative into something positive.

So my pain may be negative, but if I can take something positive from it, it helps me to deal with it.

I also look around me every day and find reasons to smile, and there are always plenty of reasons. I smile because I love where I live. I smile because I love that crazy guy I am married to. I smile because my family mean so much to me. I smile because my eight year old fox-red labrador still tries to climb up beside me for a cuddle. I smile when the cat talks to me (she does....she really does!)

I smile because I have started drawing again. I smiled because Ian made a pot of chicken soup this afternoon and it is delicious. There was a glimpse of sunshine and blue sky while I was out shopping...that made me smile thinking that Spring is somewhere just around the corner. Then on the way home, I saw the snow on the hills......that made me smile too because they just look beautiful covered in snow.

There is always something to smile about.

My life can be tiring, frightening and frustrating, but finding things to smile about, I think, is my coping mechanism. That is what helps get me through life.

Everybody living with pain (whether their own, or someone else's) has to find their own coping mechanism.

Finding it is the hard part, but once found, life can become so much easier.


  1. One of the things that is so special about you Liz is your incredible empathy. It is one thing to live with severe chronic pain, but to be able to put yourself in a caregiver's shoes and empathise how it might be for them and that you even suggest it can be harder for the caregiver than the sufferer is truly remarkable.
    I'm so glad you are doing things that you love like drawing -I hope you will share some of your finished compositions. I know you bring smiles to many people and I hope that gives you strength during particularly painful moments.

  2. What a wonderful post!!! I love your positivity and appreciation of the good things in your life and in sharing here so it helps others, a ray of sunshine in what could be a difficult existence. My Mum had recently been diagnosed with a form of neuralgia as well, but not sure of what the prefix is. Lovely to 'meet' you x

    1. Thank you Kezzie. I hope your Mum isn't in too much pain

  3. Hello to you in beautiful Scotland! My name is Lynn and I am stopping in from the GYB party, which I am still making my way through. I am attempting to visit all the blogs on the list, but I have been very busy with other responsibilities for some time now.

    I have at least two things in common with you--scoliosis and chronic pain. My problem is in the upper and middle back, though my lower back has now begun to give me some problems, as well. I understand, completely, the nagging and persistent pain that comes with the condition. My ribs began to spontaneously fracture four years ago and I was put on a 2-yr. regimen of daily bone building injections.

    Like you, I tend to look on the good things in life and not focus on the negative. I suppose this is one reason that I try to stay busy. I have many interests and enjoy them all. I sew and enjoy most anything of a crafting nature. My husband and I love to travel, many times with our family, but because of serious illness in the family have not been able to go very far from home lately. We have five grandchildren and they keep us busy, as well!

    I have signed up to follow your posts and sincerely hope you might find a moment to visit my blog to check things out!

    1. Hi Lynn and thank you for stopping by my blog.


Thank you for leaving a comment