THE EMOTIONAL, PHYSICAL AND MENTAL PAIN OF MOVING HOMES…

As I am sure most of my readers know I have been in the process for the last seven months of moving from my home of 33 years in Nottinghamshire to the sunny West Sussex countryside.

After caring for my father last year for three months while he was in hospital I had made a conscious decision that I would like to move nearer to my children to avoid the stress, pain and emotional upset of looking after me when I am older.

Dad was a sprightly 93 years young with an active brain but being in the hospital for three months changed all that which meant we could not leave him on his own at all. He was far too fragile and had good and bad days. I just knew that I would never like to my children through what I had just gone through. With both my married siblings living down south the decision was made that we would downsize and move to Sussex.

I am now 15 minutes from my daughter and 50 minutes from my son. Quite a difference from the four hours it used to take to come over to see them.

My Dad was a hoarder of papers and had bank statements going back years and years ago. In fact, we used an industrial shredder to get rid of 10 bags of paperwork of his but what surprised me was that we had about 8 bags of it and I’ve been using online facilities for years. I had to make some firm decisions on what to keep and what not to keep. After all, those school reports you keep as you are so proud of them don’t deserve to be shredded up but neither of the children wanted them so I simply kept the best of the bunch and took some pictures of others.

 

After living in our old house for 33 years it was no wonder that we had accumulated a substantial about of ‘stuff’, and it took us a good and I mean a good 3 months to slowly go through all the personal stuff and that was before we started on the furniture and ornaments collected throughout the years but we were downsizing so a lot had to go.

I must admit it was quite therapeutic going through everything and my old house seemed to look so much bigger without so much ‘junk’, and I kept telling myself that when I moved I would NOT collect the same again.

The last few weeks of the move were the most stressful with contracts not exchanged at the last minute and nearly becoming homeless, but that stressful few week was worth it all. We are now in our much ‘tinier’ but lovely home with some lovely views from upstairs windows over the South Downs.

The only way I could get through all the unpacking (as the removal guys did the packing) was by trying to pace myself but you cannot help but get a bit carried away with it all and want to get straight as quickly as possible. But my body started to slow down once the adrenalin stopped and I slowly started going back onto my Tramadol again.

I decided I needed to get myself registered with a local doctor down here as it will take a couple of months to get me into the system for my injections which are due at the end of August. I felt so organised before we moved and I know I was running entirely on adrenalin but the holiday period of this move has now gone and life has to get back to normality again soon.

AN INTRODUCTION TO REIKI BOOK BY MARY LAMBERT only 1p…

An introduction to Reiki by Mary Lambert is a great beginner’s guide to the Japanese healing system, which involves the laying on of hands to soothe you emotionally and physically. It introduces you to the history and principles of Reiki and shows you how to heal yourself and others

For each of the 12 basic healing positions, the book also offers a self-treatment option so you can do it on your self using clear step-by-step instructions and photography. Also contains a first aid section, and how to combine Reiki with other modalities.  You can even practise it on your pets and plants. It’s available on Amazon for only 1p.

 

WHAT IS CHRONIC PAIN? TWO GREAT ARTICLES ON HOW TO EXPLAIN YOUR CHRONIC PAIN…

What is a chronic pain? These two great articles explain how you can tell other people what chronic pain feels like.

New Life Outlook says that it’s almost funny that the single word #pain is supposed to mean all of the different sensations you feel when you live with a chronic pain condition. I find it hard to describe in words how different pains physically feel, especially to someone who does not have chronic pain. Sometimes a metaphorical image captures it best.

Visual metaphors are better able to evoke understanding and empathy in others (G. D. Schott). If I tell you about a large needle being slowly inserted into my eyeball, your reaction is likely to cringe, grimace or squint your eyes. When you hear someone describe an image of something happening to them, your brain will “mirror” that experience – you imagine what it would feel like for the same thing to happen to you. Using visual metaphors can help you to describe your #pain better to your doctors and your family and friends. If you have chronic pain, just reading or hearing descriptions of #pain metaphors might start to make you feel tense and stressed. Images can elicit a very physical response, bypassing the analytical parts of our your brain.

New Life Outlook also points out that using your imagination is a helpful way to distract from focusing on #pain, which is likely another reason that visualization can help to manage #pain. Numerous studies have demonstrated that guided imagery reduces pain and improve physical function.

The National Pain Report says that people who don’t have experience with it seem almost incapable of understanding chronic pain. This is so true. We live it, but we don’t even understand it ourselves, so how can we expect anybody else to? It’s unnatural to have #pain without an injury, it’s unnatural not to heal and get better, but this is exactly what chronic pain is and does. It’s persistent, pervasive, and permanent nature is almost incomprehensible, even to those of us who live with it.

We are expected to “get better”, and people seem to lose patience with us when we don’t. Often we can’t even explain why it hurts, just that it does, and this lack of a clear reason seem to invalidate our experience in others’ eyes. We live in a visual, evidence-based culture. The same doctor that is willing to prescribe us loads of pain medication for a broken bone or after surgery becomes unsympathetic when our #pain isn’t visible. To overcome these obstacles, we must find a way to explain our suffering in a way others can understand.

To start telling someone about your chronic pain, you should explain to them the root of your #pain. You may not feel comfortable giving specific details, and you don’t need to. You may want to tell the person what hurts you, like your back, head, or the entire body. If you don’t feel like going into all the details, you may suggest that the person research the condition. You may also choose to print out basic information for the person to read.

Tell them about the #pain scale. Most people with chronic pain evaluate the #pain on a #pain scale. You should tell the person about this scale so they can understand the intensity of your #pain when you give them a number.

Describe the type of #pain. You could use words like stabbing, dull, sharp, tingling, throbbing, feeling warm/hot/numb, etc. It might also be helpful to compare it to a minor #pain that the other person may have felt (if applicable). “It kinda feels like the pinch from a shot, but never goes away,” or, “It feels like a rubber band snap. This is just like using visual metaphors like New Life Outlook has shown. If your artistic in any way you could maybe draw a person and indicate where you feel the #pain.

 

“BUT YOU DON’T LOOK IN PAIN?” WHAT SOME SAY TO PEOPLE LIVING IN CHRONIC PAIN…

“But you don’t look in pain?” What some say to people living in chronic pain.

I bet most of my readers will have been told this at least once while they are actually in great pain.

I have many a time wondered why some people have to make say this comment about how you look. I mean why on earth would we say we are in pain if we arent?

Did you know that the National Health Service spends more than £1 billion per year on back pain related costs? In the private healthcare sector, £565 million is spent on back pain every year. Back pain is the number 2 reason for long-term sickness in much of the UK. In manual labour jobs, back pain is the number one reason.

It also does not help if you are suffering from #fibromyalgia pain as for years it was described as general aches and pains or even seen as mainly psychiatric, related to depression and anxiety. The trouble with #fibromyalgia is that as yet no authoritative test has been established.

The British Pain Society says that approximately 8 million adults in the UK  report chronic pain that is moderate to severely disabling.

So, how are you supposed to look if you are in chronic pain?

The Harvard Medical School call chronic pain the “invisible” disability. Laura Kiesel contributor to The Harvard Medical School writes about her own personal story of her diagnosis of #fibromyalgia and how they said ‘you don’t seem sick’. She was even told by a school nutritionist “You have such shiny, healthy-looking hair,” she explained, pinching a lock of it between her fingers as though I were a doll on display. “People who are really sick don’t have hair like yours.”

Spine Health says that what your friend or family member needs from you is your support and kindness, not condemnation. Statements like “Get over it” or “It can’t be that bad” don’t accomplish anything other than to discourage those with chronic pain. Thankfully, there is an increasing consensus in the medical community that all chronic pain is real, and that it needs to be treated even if there is no known cause.

Pain is deeply personal. Each persons experience of pain is different. For example, two people may have the same condition, and one may display no ill-effects, while the other may be incapacitated.

An article on The National Pain Report website wrote ” If there’s no evidence of some bodily damage or injury, people seem more willing to believe we’re making it up or imagining it. They become suspicious of our motives. To them, our incapacity seems like a built-in excuse to get our way, and this provokes resentment.”

This is so true for the majority of chronic pain sufferers.

So, what’s the answer? Well, Survive Strive Thrive (I am currently covering their Control My Pain Project) have two great images which explain about chronic pain.

They also have a great quote to remember to tell anyone who does not seem to understand what chronic pain is “I won’t tell you I understand your pain because I don’t, nobody does…except you.” Failing that, listen to what Princess In the Tower says how you should respect a person in pain by understanding that we “are merely coping, sounding happy and trying to look normal.” 

I think that final statement says it all, failing that this quote is a good one as well  “I had learned quickly that life doesn’t always go the way I want it to, and that’s okay. I still plod on.”—Sarah Todd Hammer, Determination

 

CONTROL MY PAIN PROJECT- WEEK 4 RELAXATION & WEEK 5 MANAGING ACTIVITY…

This is my review on Week 4 and Week 5 of  Control My Pain Program from the Survive Strive Thrive team which was designed to teach people holistic strategies to heal their pain. The whole course is video and audio content which I think makes it more interesting and easy to understand.

Week Four is Relaxation …

The relaxation introduction video explains how mindfulness and breathing exercises can help with relaxation as a strategy to help with pain. It explains slow breathing techniques and mindfulness as not all breathing is created equal.

Next, it talks about breathing techniques with nose breathing exercises and slow breathing exercises. I found this really interesting as I quite often listen to relaxation music if I am struggling to go to sleep and using these exercises would really help.

Recognising tension is on audio or you can download for you to record the location and level of your tension. You can monitor your tension levels at about the same time every day for you to see when you are most tense. They give you a list of areas around your body to monitor like your jaw, neck, scalp shoulders etc which are some areas I would never have thought of to try and relax.

The next topic is mindfulness of self-awareness to help you to be aware of the situation you are in. This video helps you to understand how you can be more aware of your situation in order to help with your pain control.

The relaxation summary is in the usual format of a quiz and some downloadable resources.  The downloads include a sheet which you can use to practice slow breathing at a specific time every day plus a sheet to recognise when your tension arises.

In the relaxation resources section, it has all the downloads plus details of a useful book on reducing and restoring your well being.

I love filling in forms and found this week’s downloads a great way to see how I am coping with my pain and to make a note of the different relaxation strategies.

Week Five is Managing Activity… 

The managing activity details are available as an online quiz or a worksheet which helps you to see how to identify your reasons for less activity. The sheet prompts you to write down activities that you are having difficulty in completing or even are no longer even doing due to your pain. It asks you to fill in what affects the reduced activity has on your life and looks back at your answers in order to learn a variety of strategies that will help you problem solve and plan.

The next video is what they call the Boom & Bust Cycle which is in the form of a quiz, and goes straight onto Activity Pacing. You can do this virtually or actively take part in a walking programme.

The activity planner is a sheet to download and fill in and finally another sheet to download to help you to succeed by writing down how you will achieve more that week. For example, ‘this week I will walk every day at the following times’.

The Managing Activity Resources has lots for you to look at including a website and books and downloads all to do with keeping you active.

I honestly do feel that writing down your activities in the format they have done this week can only help and encourage you to do a little bit more each day or each week. I have the usual steps counter but looking at how I have increased my activity by doing a little bit more each day is an ideal way to get yourself, fitter. I really enjoyed week five on the Control My Pain Project.