Thursday, July 16, 2009
Most people are aware of the potential power of the mind & in particular the role of the 'power of positive thinking' to make changes in a specific area of one's life. This belief has been around for years, even before the book "The Power of Positive Thinking" came to be, up until present day. The popularity of the "The Secret" and the role the Law of Attraction can play in life is not a new concept either. But do you believe in this theory and more specifically, can positive thinking help play a role in pain management?
Personally, I believe the human mind holds immense power of such an intensity that we as mere mortals, lack the ability to fully comprehend. In my 20 years of nursing, I have seen many people basically give-up, lie down & die because a doctor had given them a poor prognosis and they believed it lock, stock & barrel. That is one of the reasons I think it is a huge mistake to give a patient an answer to the question: "How much time do I have?" There is no answer to that question, simply because no one knows exactly when we will die...Does this mean that all serious illness will not lead to death? Of course not. I am not saying that all disease can be cured with the power of the mind, although it certainly plays an important role. Simply put, positive thinking plays a large role & no one should ever give someone a time limit on how long they will live.
There have been many documented cases of people dying exactly to the day after a doctor had stated how long they had to live. Therefore, if we can be told how much time we have left and internalize it so much that it becomes reality-so then we should be able to affect change in a positive manner as well.
I know that on the days when my pain is particularly overwhelming, I feel worse in every way possible...physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and so on. Feeling worse also leads to vocalizing just how tired I am of suffering. This just perpetuates the negative thought cycle and the pain seems to remain at a heightened level for an extended period of time. However, if I am in a somewhat positive mood, or even a neutral mood & distracted, working on an article for example, I am also aware that the pain does not 'seem' as severe.
The very fact that there is a lot of research being done regarding the deleterious effects of stress on our health, should clearly indicate that our thoughts & emotions play a large role in our health. We need to have a positive mind-set in general to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves. This is the exact reason why 'life coaches' are so popular now. It is easy to set goals, it is another story to actually stay positively on task as we attempt to accomplish them. We, as human beings seem to struggle with the concept of positive thinking and actually remaining positive when what we strive for does not immediately arrive. Most of us, have real trouble delaying gratification.
I have personally tried "positive thinking" to control my pain, many times in fact. The problem being however, I backslide rather quickly when I do not see immediate results. One of the ways to combat this and remain in the positive thinking mind-set is to participate in a treatment known as: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). This therapy aims to stop the negative self-talk related to past experiences & instead replace it with a more positive, "living in the moment" type attitude. When it comes to coping with chronic pain, living in the moment is essential. The moment you begin obsessing about a future filled with pain you feel immediately defeated.
We may not be able to take away our suffering & the chronic pain we deal with each and every day, however, positive thinking clearly plays a very large role in how we cope with it. Above & beyond dealing with chronic pain via analgesics, it is definitely worthwhile to search out each & every alternative treatment available including psychological help. Treatments such as CBT may be exactly what you need to say: "I THINK, THEREFORE I AM *NOT* IN PAIN.
Wishing you a positive thinking, pain-free day,
Monday, July 6, 2009
I didn't expect to be posting again so soon, however I found something that I think may amuse those of you with chronic illness/chronic pain etc.
I did not have my sad green eyes open even three minutes this morning when that nasty silver jagged ball began spinning through my field of vision. For those of you that don't know much about migraines, what I experienced is called an aura. I have not had a migraine in a year, actually almost a year to the day. I used to get them frequently but after an entire year passed, I had thought they were gone for good...you know what thought did??? Silly naive fool...
Now then, back to the reason for this post: I decided to surf the net, looking for things to distract myself from the vise so tightly squeezing my brain and came upon invisibleillneesweek.com. The article entitled YOU KNOW YOU HAVE CHRONIC ILLNESS WHEN.... actually had me laughing out loud despite the pain in my head. I thought perhaps my fellow sufferers could also enjoy a good laugh.
Take care everyone-hope it makes you giggle,
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Unless you have been living under a rock, no doubt you have heard about the death of Michael Jackson and the issue of his death being related to narcotic abuse. To top it off, there has also been a recommendation via the FDA committee to decrease the amount of acetaminophen allowed per day and further to also take combination drugs such as Vicodin and Percocet off the market.
Michael Jackson is certainly not the 1st celebrity to die as a result of narcotic abuse and he will likely not be the last. As sad and tragic as his death is, all of the controversy has only fostered a terrible fear in those that suffer with legitimate chronic pain, myself included.
Previous to my workplace injury, I did not have so much as a bottle of Tylenol or even aspirin in my home. As a teenager, I did not take drugs of any sort and did not allow myself to be influenced by peer pressure. That attitude carried on through to adulthood. Now, however, as a sufferer of chronic pain 24/7, without my medication, I can not function at all. In fact, without it, I can not get out of bed or even out of the fetal position as a result of the horrid pain. It has also lead to depression that I struggle with and has brought me to the point of feeling suicidal. Really scary stuff...
I have never been the type of person to even remotely contemplate ending my life, however, the pain is so very consuming that it drains the life right out of me. Anyone that suffers with chronic pain will understand exactly what I am saying. I do not wish to take these analgesics, and in fact wish I didn't need to, however the reality is, if I do not I have no quality of life whatsoever. Now, I as well as many others, risk losing access to the medications that allow us to somewhat function, and that my dear readers scares me to death, literally!
I have to assume that there is the potential for determining a method to ensure better safety with regard to taking narcotics. There has always been and will likely continue to be those whose only goal is to get "high" off of these drugs. Those with real pain however, their only goal is to obtain relief from the unrelenting pain that they live with daily. I have never felt the so called 'high' that others chase after. I have often said I wished I did, at least then I'd be enjoying myself amid all the suffering...Bottom line though-I simply just want relief from the pain.
I think with all of the issues surrounding these meds, it is about time that more research was done. Why not work toward finding an effective method of pain control that does not have all of the side-effects, including addiction. If there was a medication that decreased my pain and did not have the potential for addiction or any other side-effect, I would be first in line to try it.
There should also be stricter safe-guards put in place to make sure that those taking these drugs are taking them exactly as prescribed. I have never been asked to give blood or urine to assess the level of narcotics in my body. I would however, have no objection to being asked to do this. It certainly would be a great way to "weed out" those whose only goal is to get "high." It would be easy to tell if they were hiding something based upon their reaction to being asked to supply a blood or urine sample.
Clearly, I don't have all the answers and I don't know what the resolution is to this growing problem. I do believe though that if some effort was put into it, positive changes could be implemented without the risk of those suffering with chronic pain losing access to the meds that allow them quality of life. Anyone with chronic pain knows that it effects each and every facet of their lives and the meds that allow them some relief are ESSENTIAL. Without access to them, I have no doubt that the suicide rate would increase exponentially...
Be back soon. Until then take care and I wish for you-*good pain control* :>)