Chronic Pain: 3 Steps to Admitting Powerlessness

Because I live with Chronic Pain, I know what powerlessness feels like. When I was first diagnosed, I found it very hard to admit the powerlessness I was feeling over my pain and it’s debilitating effects. It was crucial that I find a way to move from just surviving to actual thriving. There had to be a better way to live my life. With or without the Chronic Pain!

So why would anyone want to admit that they were powerless over their pain and illness? Isn’t that what we’re trying so hard to avoid? Doesn’t that mean we have no power?

What does it look like to admit that we are powerless over our pain and the crazy effects it has on our lives?

By admitting we’re powerless over the debilitating effects of our Chronic Pain, we can acknowledge where our limitations lie. We will gain acceptance and start to seek strength from a power that is greater than ourselves. We will then start on a new journey. A journey that will take us from merely surviving, to actual thriving. Even with Chronic Pain!

This is not an easy task. Here are 3 things that we can do to start the process of admitting our powerlessness:

Let go of control
It is important that we take a step back and look at our behavior as it relates to the Chronic Pain. Think of those toys that are filled with water and they’re shaped like snakes. The harder you squeeze on one end, the slippery snake toy pops out the other. Our life can be like this too. The more we try and control the pain and anything related to it (appointments, doctors, tests, pills, missing work, diagnoses, emotions etc.), the more we feel like our life is spinning out of control. Look at where you can release your grip.
34/365: Surrender
When we live with Chronic Pain, we don’t want to admit surrender or defeat. That makes us feel weak. When we surrender to our powerlessness over our Chronic Pain (and everything about it), we are simply admitting that the situation may be out of our control. We need to find another way. What we’ve been doing hasn’t been working and we may even be getting worse. Surrender to the fact that there may be another way and we don’t have to live in Chronic Pain alone.
Open mind
Open mind
Just because we’re in extreme pain today doesn’t mean we will be tomorrow or even for the rest of our lives. Here is an exploration exercise.  Draw a picture or diagram of what your life looked like before Chronic Pain. Now draw the same picture with Chronic Pain. Some of the things on the first picture will need some grief work. Some of the things we can take back. We just need to have an open mind. What are some things you haven’t tried but would like to learn more about in relation to your Chronic Pain management? What are some things you would like to take back from Chronic Pain?

Pain Camp is a safe place to share your thoughts, experience, strength and hope. How can you admit your powerlessness over your pain today?


Photo credit in order: By the Moment via Flicker. Amazon. Open Your Eyes  and Max Short via




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